Gratitude

I watched a video on the Internet recently about what characteristic people possess that makes them the most happy.  I was attracted to this video because I’ve wondered it myself. Why do some people always seem so content?  Do they have especially good lives?  I’ve had people tell me that I must have had an easy life because I laugh so much.  I haven’t, by the way.

So … the attribute that is most important for being happy?  Gratitude!  Since then, I’ve thought about it a lot.  Do I have gratitude?  I do!  I didn’t realize it until I began to think about it, but I do.  That doesn’t mean I’m unrealistic or that I’ve never had “bad” things happen in my life or that I’ve never been disappointed.  Quite the contrary.  I know those things are there, I just don’t dwell on them.  When I look back on my life, I see the good things and good times, first and foremost.

  • I have two great kids (Todd and Amy) and two wonderful grandchildren (Lila and Shane).
  • A new man (Jim) in my life who is kind, caring and enthusiastic.
  • A previous man (Paul) who remains a good, dear and kind friend who taught me more than he’ll ever know.
  • A husband of 35 years (Larry) who left this Earth way too early and shared so many of those good times.
  • A brother (John) who flew out to CA to drive cross country with me when I moved back East.
  • His wife, my SIL (Deb) who came and spent two weeks packing my belongings for my move, so I could work my last two weeks.
  • My nieces and nephews who have all made me glad to have them as part of my family.  They each have their place in my heart.
  • So many friends who have stepped in and out of my life, contributing bits and pieces to my life when I’ve needed them most.
  • My new friends here in Murrells Inlet who make life fun and make me glad to be here.

I have found  that life is too short to let it pass me by without squeezing every bit of fun out of it.  Living in an adult community, I’ve learned you can’t count on there being a tomorrow.  I wish all young people would learn this, as well.  Accidents and illness happen to them too.  So … since life can change very dramatically from one minute to the next, I intend to enjoy all my minutes.  I hope you do too.

If you are interested in watching the video, this is the link:http://www.upworthy.com/scientists-discover-one-of-the-greatest-contributing-factors-to-happiness-youll-thank-me

 

Growing Older and Enjoying My Life

This is the first post of my new blog.  I’ve spent the past couple of days trying to decide what this first post should be.  Then, lo and behold, I happened upon a writing challenge about growing older.  Voila!  Got it!

I am presently in my 7th decade and because of that, I find I spend many moments reflecting — and talking — about the previous decades.  You know — we older people can remember the past so much easier than what we had for breakfast.

I remember back to my early childhood.  I grew up in the “country”, outside of Pittsburgh, PA.  I couldn’t imagine that I would grow old in such a setting.  I hungered for more excitement.  I remember telling my dad, “When I grow up, I’m going to live in an apartment building with people above me, below me and green concrete all around.”

My teenage years were in the idyllic 50’s.  I feel sorry for teenagers growing up today.  They have so many pressures … and often little guidance.  When we graduated high school, we had to have a plan as to how we were going to support ourselves.   We weren’t given the opportunity to “find ourselves” much in those days.   But still, those were good years.  We were naive, safe, and carefree.

I got married at 20, had my first child and bought my first house at 22.  My husband traveled a lot for business, so I was with the children until he came home late Friday.  Of course, I wanted to go out Saturday to be pampered with a restaurant meal and service.  He, on the other hand, wanted a good home-cooked meal.  As a result, I remember us fighting most of the weekend, really.  We were having “power struggles”.  I was the decision maker all week and wasn’t ready to give up control to him.  He, on the other hand, was the husband and father and felt decisions were up to him.  Surprisingly, we survived my 20’s, but it wasn’t one of my favorite decades.

My 30th birthday proved to be the hardest and the most unwelcome one of my life.  Going from being able to say I was 29 versus saying I was 30, was admitting my life was over as I knew it.  I thought I needed to wear housedresses and orthopedic shoes because that’s how so many women dressed.  You just got matronly.  Well, I wasn’t ready for that!  I went around with a gloomy face and slumped shoulders until the fateful day we went out to dinner with friends.  Glory Hallelujah!  When I ordered a cocktail, the waitress carded me!  She didn’t think I was old enough to drink!  Isn’t life wonderful?

It was during my 30’s, we moved from Pittsburgh to Columbus, OH.  I have to admit, I was reluctant. But I should not have been.  We made many good friends and had many wonderful times.  I began attending Ohio State University.   We took disco lessons with our best friends.  There was Little League, PTA, girl Scouts, and camping.  These years comprise some of my best memories.  Age had nothing to do with it.  It was our friends and activities that made it so wonderful.  This was one of my best decades.  But even with that said, I was frequently hoping that we weren’t going to retire there.  I knew there was more to see and experience in my life.

Then one day my husband came home and asked how I felt about moving to San Diego, CA.  Say what??  Are you kidding me??  My bag was packed — like –yesterday!

I loved it and the friends we made there.   And who could complain about the weather?  I had a beautiful house; life was good.  But, once again, I began to feel the need to move on. There’s more out there to try!  We moved on up the road to Orange County, CA, where we had a business.

We worked a lot, and as our kids were grown and gone, our avenue to friends diminished. My husband and I became a real twosome.  We took lots of trips, visited many fun places, had great times.  I turned 50 there.  And lost my husband two years later. I was now something I never thought about being … a widow.  Life was lived through a fog.  But, eventually the fog lifted and I was back to the land of the living.  I felt, once again, there was more for me to experience.  Do you see a pattern here?

I sold my house and decided to move to either NC, SC or GA.  After traveling around these states for the next month, I found Murrells Inlet, SC to be the place I most wanted to settle.  Unfortunately, the real estate agent kept talking about the hurricanes, where the water came up and how far inland it came, to the point that it scared me.  And Murrells Inlet seemed small and southern and I didn’t know how they’d take to this Yankee/CA lady.  So I did what any intelligent person would do, I settled in Raleigh, NC.  I turned 60 in Raleigh, but I never forgot Murrells Inlet.

In 2008, I moved in with a dear, sweet friend in Darlington, SC.  I know — what does Darlington have to do with Murrells Inlet?  Nothing!  I don’t always choose the shortest or most direct path.  But eventually, I get where I’m going.  In 2009, I moved to Murrells Inlet and have loved every minute.  I love my life here.  I have many like-minded friends who enjoy life as much as I do.  This decade of my 70’s is the best decade of my life — so far.  It just keeps getting better.  I’ll keep you updated…………