Find your Joy and Gratitude will Follow

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Today is my birthday, and I must admit it’s been the hardest one thus far. I’ve struggled quite a bit with it over the previous weeks but tried to prepare for the “Big day.” I lost a few pounds, got a new dress and had my hair and nails done. Oh, I’ve gotten my two-mile walk to 34 minutes and had a mammogram. What else can you do? I must admit I’ve spent some money for this one. Skincare, makeup, jewelry just because I feel I deserve it. I’ve made it to this far, but there’s nothing I can buy that will allow me to equal the magnitude of this day.

So, I got to thinking about all the trials I’ve had. All the joys I’ve experienced and all the suffering I’ve seen. I must say I’ve not endured a lot of physical suffering and I am grateful. My body has amazed me because it’s yet to fail me. My eyes, well, that’s another story. I wear glasses for the first time in the last couple years, and now everything is blurry without them. It concerns me and frustrates me, but my feet still move like I’m a teenager.

I just wanted to share some of the things I’m grateful for on this day. I have found that joy is so much more important than I ever thought possible. This birthday makes me want to hunt joy down, to bottle it up and save it for the hard times that I know are inevitable.

Here is what I’ve learned over all these years:

1. Trust

Trust is hard to come by and be careful where you place it. My feelings have been hurt over the years more than I’d like to admit, so I think I’ve gotten less sensitive. I know I’ve gotten less sensitive because well at this age, you’ve seen a lot and not all of it is good. However, I’m very sensitive to others feelings. How odd is that?

2. My Body

My body is truly a temple. I see this more with each passing day. I have more weight to lose, but I’ll get there. Walking two miles in 34 minutes still amazes me. But, you know what? I’ve earned it. I’ve never been hospitalized, broken a bone, had surgery or dealt with a serious disease. How amazing is that? Mostly luck, a lot of effort and more praying than I thought I could do.

3. Less Fear

I’m not afraid any longer. I’m not fearless, but I’ve seen, witnessed and lived through a lot of things I never thought I would. My biggest fear is not being able to move my body. Not enjoying the movement of it or staying in decent shape; that is my fear.

4. Gratitude

I’m grateful. In fact, I don’t think I can tell you how grateful I am. Why am I so thankful? I’m not in pain or suffering to get through the day. I saw a lady the other day that brought tears to my eyes. Her feet could not move, and she needed help to simply walk. The suffering that lady has endured still hasn’t left my mind. I’m thankful to still be alive. My joy brings me more gratitude.

5. No judging

I don’t judge. This isn’t anything new for me, but I simply see people as people. Some are rich, but most are not. Some are kind, and many are not. Some are  black, and some are white, but we all have a heart, or at least I do. I’ve fought enough battles to understand life is hard. If you’re winning, you’re lucky, and if you’re losing, hopefully it will pass.

6. No approval necessary

I don’t need approval. My day is not made by what you think of me or if you like me or think I’m attractive or ugly, for that matter. I am me, and it’s been one heck of a journey to get here. Decades of bad news, good news and the most perfect days of all that simply have “No news.”

7. Proud of my life

I’m proud. I can’t tell you how proud I am to have made it this far. My biggest fans, my parents have been long gone, and that’s been so hard. No one loves you like your parents, and I’ve missed that. So, I’m proud to made it through all these days without them. I’m proud of my writing success, making a living as a writer and simply “Getting by,” and finding joy in it.

8. No hate allowed

Hate has no place in my heart any longer. I’ve seen hate and yes, I’ve hated but no more. It will eat you up, spit you out and it could care less if you live or die. Yes, who needs hate? I don’t have time for it.

9. Life

Life is short.  Honestly, I can’t believe I’m this age or this well. Did I ever think what this day would feel like? Many times. I’ve never been a fan of aging and have fought it most years. I’m not fighting any longer. I’m not young, but I can feel and look as young as I set my mind to it.

10. Faith

There is a higher power. My faith in God has gotten me through some dark days, and I’m counting on that for the rest of my life. I have faltered and failed in my walk with God, but I will get back there. Many days all I’ve had has been God, and I’m sure there will be many more.

So, there is part of my feelings on my special day. I could go on and on, and maybe I will write that book. My life has been some kind of a journey, and I’ve grown from what I’ve learned. I know where I don’t want to be and how to get to a happier place. It doesn’t come from people because I’ve been let down more than I’ve been lifted up; it comes from within. I have no doubt I will continue to grow past this day. My goal is to find and keep my joy and gratitude will always follow.