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10 Things I am Grateful For On My Birthday

birthday01It’s today! I get to celebrate being older still 🙂 Instead of a regular blog post, this one is a very personal message. There are some things I want to say, and others I want to record – just so I remember about them today (and in the future hopefully).

I am healthier than last year.

This isn’t much of a change, but some things improved nonetheless. An irritating foot injury which made me grumble and limp like Gregory House is now, mostly, a thing of the past – leaving me much more relaxed. And deciding to stay away from foods with added sugar means that I’m more careful about my diet and I can focus on enjoying the taste and the energy much more.

Other people are coming back to health around me.

Again, this gave me reasons to grieve and fear last year. It’s not something that’s going to remain stable and positive forever, but I am super grateful for the fact that the people I care for were able to get over the worst, and are now in a better shape than they were this time in 2014.

My budget is in good shape, too.

A lot of this has to do with the fact that I didn’t have to move house again! But plenty of other positive factors followed: my books and courses helped me a bit, and finding new ways to save £s in London were always welcome. It is also helpful that both of us are now able to regularly save more money every month, and to make better decisions about it.

My wife is here with me.

This is big. 2015 is our fifth year of being married, and 10th year of being together. And the best thing I can say about the last year: it’s been really really good. This is the greatest thing to be grateful for, and I know this post is becoming cheesy, but I knew it would be, so that’s OK.

I have friends and try to keep in touch with them.

It is difficult for an expat in a big town, with an on-the-road job, to keep up with pals. Over the past few years I saw some of my relationships erode. But I also found out about the few people whose presence remained, even if it consisted of only occasional meet-ups and emails. This is good and I hope it will get better.

Writing still happens, and brings results.

There are books and courses and short stories and blog posts and diary entries – all of this has pretty much kept going since my last birthday. The effect is beginning to resemble a writing habit, which (I hope) will serve me well in years to come. It is very inspiring to see something you wrote being appreciated or shared, but it’s just as awesome to feel that your behaviour changes as a result of something you wrote for yourself.

I am incredibly lucky and privileged.

I know how gross this can seem. The reason I’m writing this is simple. Many people in my situation could whine and complain about the horrible London prices, the dictatorial Tories, the prejudiced folks trying to blame it all on the immigrants, etc. I choose to be grateful instead – for the chances I had and took, for the stability around me, for the fact that of all the places and times, this is a safe, stable and rich one. I did nothing to deserve this over any other person. So the only thing which remains now is to be grateful.

Meditation begins to happen, bringing rhythm and good vibes.

I wish I could say this was a regular habit. But it’s been going on much more often since 2014, and I cannot deny the benefits it’s had in my life. Far from being a religious guy, I simply enjoy these 10-15 minutes every evening where I can just focus on one breath and one thought at a time.

Travels continue, bringing new ideas and new desires.

This is possibly the most exciting thing on the list. I keep moving, and my itchy feet keep taking me places! The result is that I realize how much I want to escape London – and how doable it all becomes after a while. I also realize how fantastic it is to have access to foreign languages.

This blog is still a great blog!

Thank you for reading, for sharing, connecting on social media and responding to all these ideas. You make me try harder, work more, question and wonder longer. Here’s to another such year.

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