I don't have the perfect Instagrammable life- to be honest, it's about the furthest thing from it. I don't own my own beautiful home full of fashionable decor, have a high-flying career, a husband, a family, a large bank balance, a car, a thriving social life, the perfect body, a degree, a lot of stamps in my passport, or even my health. Especially not my health. In all honestly, I don't have a lot of things going for me at the moment, but c'est la vie; life isn't perfect.
It's easy to concentrate on all of the things I don't have in my life and be upset and bitter about it, but I don't and I'm not. I know I have so many things that countless more don't have in their lives at all, and I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful for the things I do have and have had in my life, and I've been thinking about that a lot lately. I sat down and wrote a list of some of the things I'm grateful for last week, and with all the awful stuff going on in the world right now, I thought there was no better time to share it than today.
Here are 50 things I'm grateful for.
1. All the good times I've had.
2. All the great places I've seen / been to.
3. My parents for looking after me since I became ill, even though it shouldn't be their job to anymore.
4. Freshly-washed bedding, straight from the dryer. No comfort like it.
6. My Kindle for making reading books even more accessible and addictive. (It's funny because I used to be soooo against e-readers, adamant I'd never use one because they could never compare to books made of paper -and who would want to read books on a device, anyway?- but then I realised how great they actually are, bought one, are and have never looked back).
7. Rainy days. Yep, I'm one of those weirdos who actually likes the rain!
8. Glasses. Without them, I'd walk in to things a lot.
9. Having an outlet to help me deal with life with chronic pain and illness in this blog.
10. My crazy puppy. She makes me laugh and gives the best puppy cuddles.
11. Colour. It makes me happy, and the world a more beautiful place.
12. Having a roof over my head.
13. Being able to live at home since my chronic illnesses set in and limited my mobility, independence, and ability to work, as otherwise I'd probably be living on the streets.
14. My lovely blog readers!
15. That concerts are a thing. They've given me so many amazing times, and so many happy memories with great people and a few band members, that I wouldn't change for the world.
16. Comfy PJs.
17. Memory foam mattresses- don't know how I ever slept without one. So comfortable!
18. People for putting up with me.
10. The few people IRL that haven't stopped acknowledging me since I became ill, that I can still count as friends and family. (Most people distanced themselves from me within a few months). The few people who have been there for me have been amazing, and I'm especially grateful for the friendships that haven't changed even though my circumstances have.
11. Living in a country and era where I'm free to be myself, live as I wish (within the law, at least- haha!), express myself, dress as I like, get an education, work, be paid fairly, vote, speak, read, write, drive, travel, party, drink, enjoy life... if and when I want to... or not.
12. Concealer for hiding a deep abyss of baggage from under my sleep-deprived eyes.
13. Spray in leave in conditioner and dry shampoo for making my life so much easier, and tackling my very long mane of hair.
14. Having access to medical care. I'd be fucked without it.
15. My parents for generously paying for my private medical care. That shit ain't cheap.
16. My spinal surgeon and rheumatologist for believing me, trying to help me, diagnosing me quickly, and not brushing me aside like the NHS did for years. I doubt I'd even have any of my conditions diagnosed yet if it wasn't for their help.
17. Music, for soundtracking my life, offering escape, providing comfort, and being the root of so many good times.
19. Sunny days.
20. My best friend of twenty years, Angela.
21. My family, even if they do drive me crazy most of the time.
22. Living on the edge of the beautiful Cotswolds- everywhere is so picturesque and idyllic, especially the countryside, and the little villages filled with pretty cottages. Of course, I'm not rich enough to live in any of them, but it doesn't hurt to dream!
23. Snuggily. comfortable blankets.
24. Living a sheltered upbringing. We didn't have much money growing up, but we had a happy childhood in the safest little town away from real suffering, harm, crime, and violence, and for that I'm grateful. I know others aren't so lucky.
25. Growing up in the eighties and nineties before technology, especially the Internet and mobile phones, took off and invaded our lives. I'm glad I got to experience a childhood away from a computer screen (99% of the time, at least), playing outside all day long until it got dark, doing handstands, going on adventures, zipping about on rollerskates, riding bikes, making rose water perfume, playing with Sylvanian Families, reading, building forts, and using my imagination. I'm addicted to technology now, but I wouldn't have wanted to grow up attached to a computer screen 24/7. I'm glad I spent my childhood in the real world, and I don't think I would have changed that for the world.
26. My dad for taking me to all of my medical appointments.
28. The Internet. All the ways it's changed my life, and all the different ways it keeps me occupied and less isolated, even when I'm on bed rest. It's pretty awesome having the world and all these different resources at my finger tips.
29. Not being discriminated or in danger for my beliefs or for the colour of my skin. I can't imagine how that must feel for the billions of people who are.
30. Having enough food to eat and water to drink; not living in poverty or famine.
31. Starry nights.
32. Pretty sunsets.
33. Perranporth beach, in Perranporth, Cornwall for existing, and giving me so many happy, blissful holidays over the years. Best place in the country. Fact!
34. Everybody who has offered me support, friendship, advice (only of the welcome variety) and encouragement over the last five and a half years.
36. Having the use of my limbs, even though it often comes with pain and stiffness, so I'm able to do things for myself, live as independently as possible, and use my arms and hands for creative hobbies and other pastimes that help me get through the day, and make me happy.
37. Spring time, when everything starts coming back to life after a long, grey, barren Winter. I love it when the trees start blossoming, daffodils pop up everywhere, magnolia trees bloom, green returns to the trees and hedgerows, the sun comes out, the weather gets warmer, and the days finally start getting longer. Bliss.
38. The body positivity and plus size blogging communities for inspiring me and helping me learn to accept myself for who I am, be a lot more comfortable with my body, and hate certain parts much less, after a life time of hating my body and being self-conscious of it with every fibre of my being.
39. Everything I've done and learnt from blogging over the last five years.
40. Online shopping for making life easier, cheaper, and more convenient, and for being an introvert's dream.
41. Still having my family around me.
42. Black mascara for making me feel heaps prettier.
43. The Body Shop's satsuma shower gel for always smelling so darn good.
44. Living so close to London, and all it has to offer. I love being able to hop on a train and make it in to London in just over an hour, where a million good times are waiting to be had.
45. Having finally found a GP who seems to be trying to help me, and taking an interest, instead of ignoring the problems and shooing me away like so many did before her.
46. Light Spring and Summer evenings; how it brings the world to life again, makes me feel less like hibernating, and basically just improves life.
47. Long hours of Spring and Summer daylight that make taking blog photos a million times easier.
48. How far plus size fashion has come in the last five years, and how much more is available to us these days... even if it's still mostly online, and the variety for larger plus sizes still has a long way to go. I'm so glad there's more than just shapeless black hanky hem tops with butterflies and sequins 'decorating' them *gags* for us these days. Oh, so glad.
49. That I'm strong enough to fight what ever life may throw at me, and always have been.
50. That the future is full of possibilities.
What are you grateful for?