I never make any formal New Year's resolutions, but each new year does give me pause to think about myself and how I might improve. Last year was kind of tough, and I want this year to be better. But how?
I began to think about what I need versus what I want. I want a lot of things, and I don't want to want a lot of things. I try not to be materialistic. I've been watching the evening news a lot lately, and reading books, and reading articles online, and man, there are a plethora of people in this world who are a lot worse off than I am. I think about the 34,400+ Iraqis that died last year. I think about the people in Darfur who are victims of genocide. I think about the victims of Hurricane Katrina. I think of fathers and mothers in third world countries who hold their children in their arms as they die from malnutrition or AIDS or ebola, powerless to save their babies. And I think to myself, I've got it good.
So here is what I need:
~ I need sleep. Sleep is good for you and helps you heal, both emotionally and physically. It is good.
~ I need food. I am fortunate to live in a country where I can get any kind of food I want inside of 20 minutes. I try not to take this fact for granted.
~ I need love. This includes affection, companionship, platonic love, parental love, romantic love, and genuine conversation. I would shrivel up and die if I didn't have my family and friends.
Really, all the other stuff is not so important. It certainly makes life more pleasant. I am not trying to be morose or melodramatic, just appreciative of what I have.
So here is what I am grateful for (yes, I know it's bad grammar to end a sentence with a preposition; sue me):
~ I am grateful for my health.
~ I am grateful for my daughter and her health.
~ I am grateful for my husband and father and brother and friends and their health.
~ I am grateful for the food I have to eat every day, whenever I want to eat it.
~ I am grateful for our house.
~ I am grateful for my warm bed, with my warm husband in it with me.
~ I am grateful for my friends.
~ I am grateful that I am a white American. We have it a lot easier than most other people in the world. You know it's true, and that's a shame.
~ I am grateful for my job.
~ I am grateful for my hobbies, like knitting and painting and photography.
This list could go on and on, but I'll stop there for now. I'm not a terribly religious person, but each night when I go to bed, I pray and thank God for the things that I have. It's easy to take things for granted, and if I keep any resolution this year, I want to continue to be grateful and not take things for granted. You never know when you might not have them anymore.