Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Birthdays, gratitude and life after death

Today is my 48th birthday. I don't feel anywhere near that old, I scarcely think of myself as a grown-up, yet when I look in the mirror I see a woman (not a girl) with smile lines and lots of grey hair. I have considerably more grey hair now than I did at this time last year and even more than the year before.

As you know, if this blog is not new to you, my life has had some significant ups and downs in the last few years. For most of my life I've written lists on my birthday, things I am grateful for, one for each year of my life. The last two years I didn't write lists. Two years ago I was sick and last year I was grieving too deeply. It's time to revive the tradition. Gratitude is part of learning to live in the after-life and so I will take this chance to remember to be grateful.

On this, the 48th anniversary of my birth, I am grateful for many things. Some I am simultaneously deeply resentful of, but they are all worth mentioning. This list is by no means complete and I'd love to know what you are grateful for!
  1. Life. For the life I am living in spite of the pain and sorrow. It is good to be alive, to feel the breeze, smell the autumn leaves, to treasure each moment.
  2. Kevin's life. And love. And support and faith and so on.
  3. You. Every single reader of this blog has helped me keep going when things were at their darkest.
  4. My parents. We've had a bumpy ride sometimes, but I find myself with staunch allies and loving support.
  5. My step-children and child-in-law, whom I love and am proud of beyond measure. Thank you for keeping me around.
  6. My friends near and far, without whom I would not have survived the last 22 months. 
  7. My new love, who has such a big heart that there is plenty of room for my old love as well, and yet this new relationship is its own beast, for which I am grateful beyond words.
  8. Social media. Facebook means there is always someone to talk with.
  9. Storytelling. The art and craft of it gives me voice.
  10. And likewise, writing.
  11. This blog, which gives me a platform.
  12. Every audience.
  13. Every coaching client.
  14. Everyone who has believed in my ability to create something worthwhile and has held me up when I couldn't do so myself.
  15. Quiet. And music.
  16. Good books. And bad books that give me comfort.
  17. Stories, the way we understand our selves and our lives.
  18. Fairy tales and myths, because they have so much to teach us.
  19. Crazy Jane.
  20. Coyote.
  21. The things I have learned by shutting up and listening. The times I have been listened to.
  22. The strength in my own body.
  23. My senses, even as some begin to waver.
  24. My home. I love my home.
  25. My car.
  26. A fiscal safety net.
  27. The sounds of the world - wind in trees, rain, waves, laughter, kids playing, etc etc.
  28. The porch swing on my front porch.
  29. My neighbors and landlord.
  30. My own resilience. I never knew I could be this strong and flexible.
  31. And so the circumstances that have led to my being this resilient, as crappy as they sometimes have been.
  32. Grief. I have learned so much by embracing grief.
  33. Poetry.
  34. My camera.
  35. Trees and rivers and birds and grasses and flowers and the soil and the whole of the natural world in all its harshness and beauty.
  36. Wonder.
  37. Play.
  38. Every act of kindness I have experienced, even when I didn't recognize it as such in the moment.
  39. Tea.
  40. Dumplings.
  41. Soup.
  42. Chocolate. And other yummy things.
  43. Time.
  44. Touch.
  45. Mindfulness.
  46. Connection.
  47. Love. and love. and love.
  48. Life. Always and forever. I am grateful for every fleeting moment. I would not undo my life.
I could add so many more. Thank you for reading this list and for being in my life in whatever capacity that may be. May we all have years filled with light.

(c)2015 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday, Laura! Thank you so much for your generosity of spirit, and your willingness to explore, examine and share such profound and poignant aspects of our human journey.......your articulate, compassionate and conscientious voice, your curious and scintillating intellect and your warm and radiant heart are magnificent gifts that you freely share with the world......I feel fortunate and honored to share the planet with you.

    In gratitude,

    Chris Jennings


True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.truestorieshonestlies.blogspot.com.
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