Tuesday, 15 May 2012

34 Reasons To Be Grateful

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I'll be 34 years old.  I am excited this year.  Last year I wasn't.  Last year I was so ill and could only fake my way through the normal birthday phone calls and "thank you's".  This year, although still being hit daily with a strew of uncomfortable physical pains, I feel content.  Another year older, and MUCH wiser.  I have learned so much about my body and how to respect it through this experience.  I have a keen interest in health and natural remedies.  Instead of popping Tylenol for my ovarian pain today, I am just making sure to drink plenty of water and I'll take a shot of apple cider vinegar as it is a natural anti-inflammatory.  I feel in control of my body - and control is something I lost for many years.

So Happy Birthday to ME!  To celebrate, I'll list 34 things I am grateful for:

My Husband - who remains positive every step of the way.  He's my best friend and nothing is better than our evening chats on the front porch as the sun goes down.

My Daughter - who at the age of 8, has enough empathy to fill a room.  She's a girl's girl, a tomboy, a prankster and lovable.  She smiles all day long like her Daddy and makes life much more interesting and fun. 

My Parents - who are supportive as they come.  They have stood by me since I was a little girl, allowing me to grow at my own pace and not live up to society's standards of what "perfect" is.  They are my parents, but I can sit and have a conversation with them like friends.

My Friends - who most I have known since I was a little girl.  It's rare that so many friends stay in touch for so long, but we have.  They have all been so patient with me and have been there to answer the phone these past few years when all I could do was cry. 

My Home - we bought this house 6 years ago and I can't imagine living in another home.  It has character, property and is filled with love. 

Books - after not being able to just "sit and relax" for two years through the tapering, I can now do this again.  I love books and can't stop reading. 

My Yard - the yard my husband and I didn't want as we hoped for a very small property, has now become my favourite place.  It is filled with flowers and shrubs and 6 summers worth of work (thanks to my Dad for his help). 

Birds - I love them.  I can sit for an hour just watching them, and like my daughter I notice EACH and every single one of them.  Robins are my favourite - they embody peacefulness.  And a sign of rebirth.

Squirrels - just because.  They are hilarious.  They are cute and their little hands wrapped around a nut makes me melt. 

Tattoos - I will never adorn an entire body's worth of work...but I still have a few lined up for the future.  I love each of mine and I like the story they tell. 

Music - as our home is NEVER without music.  Although while at home I normally just listen to the radio, I love love love music of all kinds.  Some favourites are:  Sarah McLachlan, Metric, Queen, Aqualung, Florence and the Machine and Sia.  And I can't resist a good rap or dance number...or even Classical. 

Movies - our #1 hobby.  My hubby and I watch movies almost EVERY night.  We are not overly picky and will try just about anything.  Some personal favourites are Practical Magic, Friends With Money, The Jane Austen Book Club, Empire Records...as well as The Underworld series, Resident Evil series and The Matrix series.  

The Sun - I love a sunny day like most.  Our home has a lot of windows which was very important when we bought a house.  

The Moon - as it reminds me of my husband.  He has a passion for astronomy and his interest is infectious.  I have a whole new appreciation for the Sun, Moon and Stars because of him.

Our Hamsters - we attempted to be "dog people" and unfortunately it did not work out...I was very saddened by the whole experience and it took me MONTHS before I could let it go and just accept that it was not the time for us to be dog owners (I adore dogs).  So we became "hamster people".  We own two Russian Dwarf Hamsters and our daughter named them Mimzy and Lucas.  They are adorable and lovable.  I never knew such small animals could bring so much happiness.  They have great personalities and even my husband has a soft spot for them both.  

My Daughter's School Friends - because we have made some wonderful friendships with the parents of her friends.  I didn't think that would happen, but it has, and our lives are richer because of the wonderful people we've met through her school.  

Gardening - something I didn't think I would ever do...and I've discovered I really love it.  I had to put it off last year while I was feeling so ill and I was extremely frustrated that I could not do more.  This summer I'll be able to do a lot more and I look forward to it.  

A Chemical Free Life - okay, not completely chemical-free, but we have taken on a whole new interest in what we eat, what we bathe in and what we apply to our bodies.  Organic food when we can.  And no more antiperspirant in our home!  No more perfume or cologne....but we have yet to give up our Bath & Body Works soaps...priorities...not ready to let that one go yet.  

Chickpeas - I have eaten SOOOO many chickpeas this past year or two.  Why?  For some reason, hummus was the one food I could consistently eat while sick last year.  I lived off of hummus and unsweetened applesauce.  Now that I can eat a much wider variety of food, I still have yet to let go of my chickpeas...only now I cook them with a bit of olive oil, salt and peper, and nutritional yeast and throw them on whole wheat pasta or in a cucumber and tomato salad...yum.  

Photos - I never tire of looking at old photographs...even if I don't know the people in the photos. 

Water - I drank Coke A LOT before my benzo withdrawal life began...but once I became ill, I cut out all the sugary drinks and switched to water.  Now it's all I drink.  My favourite treat is S. Pellegrino (bubbly water), but most days it's just a simple glass of room temperature water. 

Chocolate - I will never give up chocolate. It's my one true treat.  Most of the chocolate I consume is in home baking, but some of my favourites are Kit Kat, Cadbury's Milk Chocolate with Mint, and a chocolate chip cookie from Starbucks with my favourite "Calm" tea

Laundry - nothing makes me more happy than spending some time in my laundry room...it is currently being renovated and I often sit and dream about cleaning my clothes in my beautiful new room.  There is something very relaxing about doing laundry (to me).  

MP3 Players - for this I am thankful for...it has been a life saver.  My iPod has serviced me well these past two years.  I listen to it every night to fall asleep.   When I began having anxiety from Benzos, the worst of it was at bedtime (and still is) and every single sound in the house would keep me awake.  At first we tried a sound machine with "white noise", but although it helped ME sleep, it made sleep more difficult for my husband as he found the white noise irritating.  So now I pop in my ear buds and on goes my relaxing music.  I have several playlists so I have variety each night...and on a good night I am asleep by track #3.  

Journals - I have kept a journal for the past 3 years and I am so thankful I did.  It's helped me track my entire experience and allows me to look back and see the progress that's been made.  

My Too-Big Black Pants - they were once fitted pants from when I was at my heaviest and now barely can stay on my hip bones...but I love them and I make sure to wash them quickly so I can wear them most nights.  They aren't pretty, but they are so incredibly comfy.  

Live Clean Body Wash - I have become so sensitive to fragrance, and although this body wash still has a scent, it's subtle and it doesn't make me want to gag while showering.  I get the kind with the colour "green".  

Showers - I love my showers and could have several a day...but normally settle for one or two.  When I shower, all of my physical aches and pains seem to subside.  I get a break.  I focus on the hot water running down and the sound of the water hitting the ground.  I often stand there wishing I didn't have to get out.  

Salmon - something I never like before has now become a favourite.  I don't enjoyed it canned or on a sandwich, and I'm not a fan of smoked salmon...but if cooked on the BBQ, by my husband?  Then it's amazing!  With some olive oil, lemon juice and pepper and salt...it is perfect.

Our Town - we live in a smaller town and I adore it.  It's friendly and clean.  There are beautiful parks.  There are hiking trails on one side and the lake on the other.  I will never leave.

Canada - as I sit here watching the news and war in other countries, I am even more grateful for the peace and beauty in my own country.  I think it's a unique country as each Province is different enough to keep it interesting.  I look forward to future vacations spent in my own country...out East being #1.

Paint - Nothing cheers me up more than a fresh coat of paint on the walls.  I love what paint can do and how it can help create a mood.  It's a cheap(ish) way to completely change a room. 

My Bedroom - it was more than likely meant to be a family room...but we made it our bedroom.  It's huge, but cozy as we've filled it with rich coloured furniture and bedding with red, orange and deep pink.  

Foot Massages - and I am spoiled than most with this one!!!  Just about every night, I get a foot massage.  It's become a routine now.  I sit on one of the couch - my husband at the other end.  An hour or so later my legs become stretched across the sofa so that my toes reach his legs.  I wiggle my toes and out comes his hand.  And then for the next hour or so, I get a wonderful massage.  He doesn't even realize he's doing it after awhile...so I don't remind him.  I can be feeling adrenaline rushes or even nausea, and those foot rubs bring relief - a wonderful distraction.  

Well, there it is.  34 reasons to be grateful - thankful.  Happy 34th to me and here's to many more healthy years.


  1. Dear Sarah, first I want to say sorry if my English is not so well and that I'm writing a comment will you don't know me. I came on your Blog through Sanders Facebook. And I'm thankfull for that. What a wonderfull blog with a strenght I have never seen. You are great. In your last post (34 reasons) I can see what an amazing person you are. I will keep you in my thoughts. Keep writing. I will follow your blog. Thank you for sharing...

  2. I love this post Sarah!! How wonderful :) It's a great reminder when you are feeling low - like I feel sometimes too - of all that you have to be grateful for. I think I'll start writing out my ... 35 (*gulp*) reasons to be thankful :) lol - HUGS!!!