Day 19: This Month

As you can see, I wasn’t really creative enough to think of anything beyond just looking back at this month and seeing what has all transpired. I really did not plan much of this theme of gratitude beyond just that. I knew the few topics I definitely wanted to cover, but besides that, it was a free-for-all.

But I am so grateful for the positive feedback I’ve gotten. I hope for those who have stuck around this long have potentially implemented more gratitude in your own lives because I certainly have. Especially on this last full week of classes for me, as I sit in the library between a class and a meeting, feeling the anxiety literally coming out of my pores, I am grateful for a moment of calm to reflect back on the thoughts I’ve expressed and so many more to come. It won’t necessarily be in this public domain, but looking ahead to the commercialized Christmas season, it’s still important to find gratitude. Heck, no matter the time of year, it’s a beautiful life. Each day is a patch in the quilt, a piece of the puzzle. Not always pretty, but eventually when everything comes together, it makes sense.

I am also grateful the continual support I receive for my blog. I am appalled when I hear of people I know who religiously follow my random musings, and that alone means the world to me. To know that even though I wouldn’t mind if people followed me or not, having readers who appreciate what I have to say is always a nice feeling. 

I am so grateful for whatever inkling was inside me to begin in the first place. I know I’ve said it before, but this has to be one of the best decisions I’ve made. I love having an outlet to organize my thoughts when the inspiration strikes. It’s empowering and comforting. 

Through my time on this blog and this themed month, I hope you too can find that thing that really fuels your passion and makes you especially grateful. Something in your life you can fall back on and express yourself. Doesn’t matter what it is, just something. I want everybody to feel as grateful as I do at this very moment for the hours I’ve spent this past few months typing away for no particular reason beside the fact it just makes me happy. 

As I said, I am an anxious mess this week. But I am grateful. I am grateful for everything I’ve already mentioned, and I’m grateful for right now. I am grateful for the words forming from my fingertips that in turn slows down my racing heartbeat and steadies my jittery nature this whole week. I should be preparing some more school work, but this is what I need right now. 

On a parting note, again, don’t let my again random blog topics deter you from forgetting to express gratitude. Write it down. Tell your loved ones. Tell yourself. The world and your reality is how you perceive it. Don’t start yourself on the wrong foot. You have the power to dust away the gray, heavier areas into a life that is fulfilling and bright. You deserve that, but only you can do it. Doesn’t matter how much I tell you. If you can’t see the beauty, make it yourself. It’s that simple. Yes, there are challenges and obstacles intermixed, too. Trust me, I know. But like the time I’ve spent to think past those little annoyances and see how great life is, those challenges are a little easier to manage.

I am grateful for you. I am grateful for this blog. And I am grateful for this life. Every single day.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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Day 18: Faith

As I mentioned previously when I discussed this topic, I’m not about to shove beliefs down your throat. Trust me, I don’t like that either. But I cannot deny that having faith in my life gives me many things to be grateful for.

When I talk about this aspect of my life, I don’t consider myself as anything special. In fact, I’ve gone through different phases of life where I avoid spirituality altogether, where I either cannot see past my own clouded vision or I am just plain angry at my life and blame any source I can for it.

Just know, if I use the term “God” whenever in this, you can always insert your own beliefs (or even no beliefs, that’s fine, too) in its place. Even though I haven’t gone to church in quite a while, mostly due to both Sunday morning laziness and a disgust for the hierarchical structure hungry for money, that by no means judges my personal beliefs about religion. Although admittedly, I would probably lean more toward spirituality in general. To me, that term feels more like an individual connection rather not necessarily reliant on strict rules and the community that follows them.

There’s a reason why religion plays such an important role in human culture. Why it causes both war and peace. By nature, we are drawn to asking the questions of our own purposes in this world. We want to believe in something, whether that is a greater being or our own potential. It’s a way to guide ourselves and find meaning in our struggles and experiences. It’s too easy to feel lost and alone, but simply knowing you have something to rely on in times of joy and crisis is so comforting.

The problem that comes from religion is the way that people separate different sets of beliefs from one another when they all find similarities within each other. Beyond that, they all come from the intention of wanting hope and security in something outside of the earthly realm. Just because I consider myself a Christian doesn’t mean I don’t find myself drawn to philosophies like Buddhism. In some cases, beliefs can work hand-in-hand to personalize to your needs and desires, whatever resonates with you. It doesn’t matter what you believe in, but I think you should always believe in something. Life is too hard to go at it alone.

Every day, I am grateful to wake up knowing that I am here living this particular life for a reason. I am not mindlessly breathing oxygen just to take up space. Although the ways are mysterious and unknown to me, I believe I have a plan set out for me, which in turn makes planning little details out tricky. I am grateful for a way to find peace when everything seems chaotic, to rest my mind knowing that I was specifically designed in a godly image. At the same time, I can believe in myself knowing I have the ability to help others and make a positive contribution to the world. I can meditate on the fact that my time spent on earth is temporary, everything passes, and everything will work out, no matter how dreary things may seem. Every day feels like something new, it begins as a clean slate. If I made mistakes yesterday, today can be different, and tomorrow can be something else.

This year has not been an easy one. We as a society have faced a lot of turmoil. I constantly see people begging the universe to end this year as soon as possible, to not throw the curve balls and darkness that came with 2016. Through my faith, I know that beneath the darkness is light, an innate goodness that will never die. Karma isn’t a bad thing either. Just like a storm cloud, it will eventually float on by. We don’t have to stand under the thunder and lightning. So much good has happened this year, too, and even better times will be just around the corner.

I thank my faith for keeping me grounded, for inspiring me to make the most of every day I have because it is not guaranteed. I am thankful for the peace of knowing that even though I am a sinner and far from perfect, I am fine just the way I am, and I have the ability to let go of those shortcomings and continue to grow and learn. I am thankful for my individual practices of prayer and meditation that provide even just a moment of comfort. I am thankful that even if I stumble away from those practices, I can always come back. I am also thankful the ability to learn about other religions, but other practices and teachings that give people hope and uplift them. In a time of life where it’s okay to be a little selfish to figure out what you want, it’s still good to remember that even if I can’t figure everything out right now, even if I feel blind and out of control, I will be fine.

And the same goes for everybody, no matter what they personally think. We aren’t mindless little ants crawling around the earth. We are intelligent, caring, inspiring people capable of amazing things. While it’s great to take a time for spirituality, perhaps the most important thing we should believe and have faith in is ourselves.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

Day 17: Time

Time is a flat circle. You can’t convince me otherwise.

Time is such a weird concept. I feel like if I try to go to deeply, it’ll turn into a philosophy class and I’ll end up confusing you and myself in the process. Recently I even sat down and just tried to rationalize how distant time feels. How time continually passes, how days turn into weeks into months, how special days come and go even if they didn’t seem that special.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m someone who is always looking forward to next thing. Planning things out in advance and looking forward to different achievements and goals I want to accomplish in my life and time frame I want to do it in. While I know how silly that is to try and plan things out, I still do it. And I still change my mind constantly. Thanks to anxiety, things in the far future feel like they’re tomorrow and I’m not prepared enough to know how to handle anything or what decisions to make. It’s overwhelming to say the least.

On the rare occasion I do look back on things, I am appalled. Even just a year or a few months ago, I was a different person. I feel myself constantly evolving into someone new, and no matter how much I plan, I cannot predict where I go. I find new interests and passions, I meet new people, and I let time take control. I let it pass by and hope for the best.

I’m not the only one trying to cheat time. We are bombarded with messages every day about going back to “glory days” and prevent aging and a hope of somehow inventing a pause, rewind and fast forward button to feel like you’re living life to the fullest. Except that isn’t really living at all. We can’t magically go back or do things different or predict what might happen. It’s a free-for-all.

No matter how out-of-control I feel, when I think of facing a tough week ahead knowing I will probably want to curl up into a ball, I know that it will pass. This won’t last forever. There are so many wonderful things after this week in the near future. I mean, hello, it’s officially the holiday season.

I find it beautiful how chaotic things feel, but when you really think about it, there’s this invisible system in place that gives order to everything. Every little action has a consequence. We are all connected in some way, our lives interwoven in others. And we really have no way of predicting how those threads cross. Even for me, who usually isn’t a huge fan of surprises or spontaneity, it makes me hopeful. Of course, realistically, I’ll come across some really painful and challenging moments along the way. I’ve already faced plenty fully expect some more. But despite that, I know I have time ahead of me where I get to spend time with the people I love and experience new places and just live. That makes me excited, knowing that the harder times always end and will eventually turn into something beautiful.

And we can never forget how precious time is. How fragile it is. We ache for the ability to control everything, but we just can’t. So we have to make the most of the present moment because nothing else is guaranteed. If you’re like me this month, you take every single day to express gratitude and appreciate the opportunity to spend time on this planet. Once you know the value of time, no moment is wasted.

We aren’t running out of time. It is never is too late. All we can do is make the best choices now, on a personal or global scale, and expect the unexpected. We take care of ourselves, our loved ones, and the environment. Time forces us to not dwell on our mistakes or regret certain things because hey, it’s done. That moment is never coming back. There’s only one direction to go from here.

I thank time for refocusing my mindset on the gift that is the present. I thank time for truly healing all wounds and providing me moments to become a stronger individual. I thank time for consistently moving forward, something so variable yet so constant. No matter what happens in our lives and on earth, we will always begin with a rising sun and end with a rising moon. I thank time for the chance to make memories and feel nostalgia. I also thank time for eventually welcoming future moments, giving me hope for everything to come.

For someone so strict on watching the clock and knowing what time it is, you would think that time bugs me to no end. I like having a schedule to fall back on and watch intently as the seconds pass, even when time feels so foreign to me. I worry about my significance in the passing minutes that tick by, am I doing enough? Am I doing the right thing? Could I spend my time better? Questions I probably won’t get answers to. I just have to trust that in time, I will continue to evolve, I’ll learn more, I’ll experience more, and everything will turn out fine. I’m not here to prevent aging, to fear wrinkles or graying hair. If that is what my future holds, I will accept it with open arms because I know it’s happening for a reason.

I guess it’s “time” for me to finish. Got to love the play on words. These moments of downtime where I get to just write and forget everything else are some of my favorites. Thank you for using your time to read my thoughts.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie