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I can’t sleep. I usually feel slightly melancholy before my birthday, and this year is no different (Possibly exacerbated by various factors including just having finished The Handmaid’s Tale, which doesn’t exactly put one in an uplifted mood).

I posted on Everyday Gratitude about a section I’d just watched in the newly released Brené Brown Netflix special, The Call to Courage:

I’m definitely someone who struggles with ‘foreboding joy’, where you are afraid to fully lean into joy because you fear something terrible will inevitably follow. 

Brown’s work has really helped me think through this and to take more risks, knowing more about how vulnerability and courage and gratitude work together, and how they work in me.

What do you think Brown’s research shows is the single thing shared by people who are able to fully lean into joy? Gratitude.

Choose courage over comfort. Choose joy. Choose wholeheartedness. 

Be grateful for the ordinary moments.

So on this melancholy sleepless night, I choose joy and I am going to think about what is lovely, excellent and worthy of praise.

In no particular order, I am grateful:

  1. For the very special relationship I have with my mum.
  2. For this blue house.
  3. For the generous gift from my dad that helped me buy my first home, which led to us living in this blue house.
  4. For my voice.
  5. For learning how to use my voice well.
  6. For being part of two wonderful shows in the past 12 months and feeling my love of performance rekindle.
  7. For being seen.
  8. For singing at church on Good Friday.
  9. For being able to sit with a weeping friend, and to weep with her.
  10. That Jesus died and rose again.
  11. That I am precious.
  12. For laughter at work and making Tamara snort on a regular basis.
  13. For all the friendships I’ve made since moving here.
  14. For all the friendships from other places that continue even though I’ve moved here.
  15. For the reminder out of the blue, with the photo of a pair of candlesticks, of a cherished friendship from long ago.
  16. For Monday nights playing music and drinking beer with people who make me laugh.
  17. That even though the skill lay dormant for over 20 years, that I can still play the flute reasonably well.
  18. That I am still improving in my playing.
  19. For the friendships I have with my friends’ kids.
  20. That my work has meaning and looks good to boot.
  21. That creativity never goes away (even if it just needs to rest for a while).
  22. That I am intelligent and articulate.
  23. That I have had such wonderful educational opportunities throughout my life.
  24. That I was born in this time (even though I look really good in a corset…I’m guessing that having to put one on every day would get old really fast).
  25. That I have planted spring bulbs and can look forward to delightful flowers even though there is no evidence of them yet. Secrets.
  26. That I live in a country where I can still openly talk about Jesus, go to church and read the Bible without fear that I’ll be imprisoned or punished.
  27. For access to an amazing abundance of delicious food – a walk through the Harvest Market this morning just made me reflect on how lucky we are!
  28. For a warm, comfortable bed.
  29. For companionable domestic animals.
  30. For wild marsupials and birds in my backyard.
  31. For music – for the variety, wonder, splendour, humour, emotion, memory, beauty and the worlds contained therein.
  32. For my thick dark hair.
  33. That I have learned contentment as a single woman. Circumstances may change but I know that I am happy in my own company and can live quite well without being part of a couple.
  34. That each year I realise I have learned a lot about myself, even though that learning will never end.
  35. For a good glass of red wine.
  36. That I am friends with and enjoy the company of people of all ages and stages, and am not only confined to my own age group or demographic.
  37. For the tiny handpuppet-sized pademelon that bounds back and forth in the underbrush of our backyard with unbridled excitement at just being alive and able to bounce.
  38. For such easy access to everything – any book I want to read, any movie I want to watch, any piece of music I want to hear, all available to me in a couple of clicks. It’s quite amazing.
  39. For creative people who persevere, who continue to make art in the midst of struggles or tough life stages or just trying circumstances. You rock.
  40. For the many people I know who generously, selflessly give their time to serve others.
  41. For a regular pay cheque.
  42. For peace and quiet in my home.
  43. For another birthday.

What are you grateful for today?