Life lately has been an exercise in finding gratitude. It hasn’t been easy. From lacking running hot water in our kitchen to intermittent internet, to appliance and apartment fiascos, we have had to really stop and think about the important things, like the healing sound of silence or that our hearts are thankfully still beating. It’s easy to take everything for granted – including having the right sunglasses and shoes.
We found ourselves on several adventures while my college boy was home last week. Unfortunately he lives out of state and works year-round to pay for school, so we try to pack in whatever he wants to do on his short visits home – which can be anything from going to the beach to walking city streets to shopping and bar hopping.
During one of our sunny day outings my sunglasses broke. I have had them for years and love them. Not inexpensive, they are UVA and UVB, anti-glare, perfectly-sun-dimming sunglasses, made for sensitive eyes. Desperate for relief, I decided to buy some cheap ones until I could get mine repaired. Three pairs in one hour and way too much money later, none of them were right. Who knew sunglasses were as individual as underwear – for me anyway.
Then the same thing happened with my shoes. Wearing flip flops on our city’s historic cobblestone terrain did not work out too well. After several hours and miles of discomfort, I ducked into Nordstrom Rack and got an over-priced pair of semi-comfortable-yet-fashionable walking sandals.
But the real discomfort came when I tried to settle for sunglasses and shoes that didn’t do the job I needed them to do. Nobody in my family could understand why I was so finicky about these basic essentials, and gave me a little guff. But why should I compromise my comfort when I know what works best for myself? It shined some light on gratitude.
I was grateful because I knew what would work best for me, no matter what other people thought. We all have comfort-levels for almost everything in life. Some people are ok with lacking hot water or technology blips or dime store sunglasses. Other people, not so much. The trick is to be confident in what we need, and be grateful when we have it.
We still have several unresolved, important issues with our hot water, our internet and other unexpected and frustrating hurdles from our recent move. While it’s all a huge hassle requiring way too much time, energy and attention, it has made us keenly aware of some of our basic first-world things, things we always took for granted. And that goes for our hearts beating too.