I have a birthday coming up soon, and as the Birthday Girl I reserve the right to post about whatever I want! I want to share what I’ve learned in my time here on planet earth and because I’m so, so, so old I’ve learned a lot and will have to spread this across two weeks. It’s my prerogative as the BG. 🎂
I can’t say I get excited about birthdays anymore, but I can’t say I hate them either. I am officially “pushing forty” 😱. According to society I should be devastated, start lying about my age, maybe even have a mid life crisis! As fun as all that sounds, I wouldn’t turn back the hands of time even if I could. It sounds like a cliche, but with age comes wisdom and I am so proud for how far I’ve come. The two most important things I’ve learned: don’t sweat the small stuff, and have an attitude of gratitude. It rhymes so it must be true.
Today we’re going to talk about gratitude. My grandmother used to say “All sunshine makes a desert.” It was super annoying, but true. Bad things, bad times, challenges, annoyances- these things happen. There is no getting away from this fact, but as a perfectionist I tend to take this things especially hard. I tend to get bogged down in what isn’t right and forget about what is. It’s a miserable place to live and it took me a long time to figure out how to get out. 🕳
The answer is gratitude, but not in a flippant way. It has to be a way of life, a state of mind. The odd thing about gratitude is that it’s a choice. You can be glad you have something, but if you don’t take the time to honor it it’s easy to neglect. Adam Anderson once went on a mission trip to Guatemala and came home with a whole new appreciation for our running water, functioning toilets, and 2 ply toilet paper 🧻 How many things in our lives do we neglect, overlook, or disregard? How many times have we gotten swallowed up by the negativity of a situation or person? How many times have we allowed those things to darken our hearts and eat up our joys? I found I could soften my response to those things by weighing them against something positive. The result transformed my life and my relationships. So not only was I NOT going to nitpick at Adam (don’t sweat the small stuff, coming next week) for what he didn’t do I was going to be truly grateful for what he did do. Not just that, I was going to be grateful for who he was and what he brought to the table.
On paper, Adam and I are a terrible match. It’s true. Every personality test (Myers Briggs, enneagram, astrology) says that we shouldn’t work. Or we could be drawn to each other, but never last. A disaster waiting to happen. I can see why they say it. We are total opposites. When we were in the really dark times I could hardly stand to be in the same room with him. But when the time came to make some big decisions about our marriage I asked myself what I would change if I could. I couldn’t think of a single thing. Many of the annoying things were tied to the things that made him special. As we grew close again and I started to get more involved in our businesses, it became apparent that we were actually very well balanced. Adam is a big thinker and I help ground him. I tend to be overly cautious and get too comfortable. He takes me out of my comfort zone on the daily. This family, this business, heck this world needs both of those things! 🌎
Know what grew out of my constantly trying to turn everything Adam did into a positive? Respect. Respect grew. And that made it easier to bring conflict to him in a more respectful way. I could always start any conversation with “I appreciate that you do _________…” or “Thank you for ________.” Then I could lead into the issue. Sensarity matters. Check your heart and leave the sarcasm and passive aggressive eye rolling at the door. Adding gratitude to everything you do is like adding chocolate to everything you eat. It makes everything better. 🍫
Making the choice to be grateful isn’t always easy. Sometimes it goes completely against my nature. It’s humbling and it often requires that I put down the righteousness I hold so dear. It’s a constant effort and I don’t always get it right. It takes practice and intention. But, living from a place of gratitude changes the lenses with which you look at life. And take it from this old girl, it can transform you as a person from the inside out.