Sandy’s Place – South African Lifestyle Blog
Mental health

A heart of gratitude

Gratitude turns what we have into enough- Maya Angelou

Birthdays are a huge thing for me, if you know me you know this is the one time I am not exaggerating or adding spice. I do not truly celebrate Valentine’s Day or anything else as much as I go crazy for birthdays. Growing up this was the one day you didn’t have chores.

Skip many moons later and I was trapped into writing myself deadlines, you know married by 24 and kids by 25. So my 25th birthday rolled around and to be honest was not so keen to celebrate it. My mom enquired as to why? Not only was I embarrassed but I was extremely sad. I was not in my dream job (still not and not sure anymore what it is), I didn’t have my dream car, house, flat no kids, no husband on the horizon. I felt like a complete and utter failure and didn’t know what I was celebrating, wanted it to pass like a whisper.

By the time my birthday came around I was able to muster up some excitement that I had found at the bottom of fermented produce. To celebrate my boss bought our office lunch and they all shared what they did on the birthdays. What stood out for me was what she told me, the woman you are at 25 is the woman you will be for the rest of your life.

This really resonated with me, she wasn’t talking about the possessions I had or the qualifications or goals achieved. She was talking about my content, she went on to speak about my growth from when I arrived as a 23 year old intern to then. I could list the attributes and the kind words but I would blemish here and there and get side tracked.

What I want to share on is the lesson I gained from this. When she said those words they were so life affirming for me, that I high fived myself (in mind duh). I had a grown into this honest, kind, strong, loving, free spirited, determined woman who owned her space and her truth. I was all kinds of badassery (thank you Shonda for that word, yeah we are on first name basis). I wanted to continue in this light and forgive myself for whatever shortfalls.

My new motto or theme for my birthdays was no longer about celebrating goals achieved , nothing wrong with this but when you don’t reach them adopt a healthy attitude and keep it moving! But having a heart of gratitude, for another year added, you need only look at the alarming rate of our peers passing on. Having a heart of gratitude at the love you are surrounded by and can give and any other blessings that fill your heart and make your soul dance.

This lesson came in handy when I turned 26 and I was retrenched from my  job and every year since then I have seen how happier, less anxious, less self-judgmental I have become since the intentional mind shift. With social media not showing the reality before those picturesque snapshots, my new attitude has helped me be content in the now and hopeful of the future. My hope for you is that you forgive yourself where you might have not fulfilled all your dreams within your intended time frame. Remember time is but an illusion a goal achieved is still valid regardless of the when. Be kinder to yourself, there is only this one life and no one gets out alive. Do not spend it overthinking or in the past. Be kinder to yourself because there is no other you.

Breathe in and out and be grateful for this moment that you will never have again.

As always I appreciate it when you give me something you will never get back, your time.  Feel free to contact me, I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below.

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