Gratitude

1. Morning walks. This week was cold, gray, and icy, and it was absolutely gorgeous.

2. The pool. I went for many many years avoiding being in a a pool, saying I “hated” the water, that it was nice to look at and I didn’t need to get in it to appreciate it. I started taking aqua aerobics classes when the arthritis and various injuries in my knees would no longer allow me to run (another activity I used to “hate” but learned to love), and I started to enjoy being in the water.

When I turned 50, I decided I wanted to learn to actually swim. I’d taken lessons as a kid, but only learned to be afraid and embarrassed and had a lot of lingering shame about it. I had some real resistance as well — fear of drowning, not liking the feel of my face in the water, the claustrophobia and panic it triggered.

I got a really good coach who understood that I needed help with the mental/emotional stuff as well as mastering the physical skill. He was kind and funny and a really good teacher. I eventually got goggles, a nose plug, flippers, and a swim snorkel (the fear of drowning and claustrophobia, learning to breathe in the process, in the water, is something I haven’t mastered yet, and a snorkel in particular allows me to bypass that in the meantime).

When COVID hit and the gym closed and I couldn’t get in the pool, I got out of the habit of swimming. When things opened back up, I went right back to aqua aerobics but haven’t been consistent about swimming. To get back to it and give myself something to work towards, I’ve set a goal of being able to swim a full mile by May. To give you a sense of the difficulty level: a mile in my pool would be about 64 laps (with one lap being up and back) and right now I can do about 10 before I start feeling dizzy and have to stop. Wish me luck.

3. Wild Writing with my beloved friend and teacher, Laurie Wagner, and all my writing friends, my sangha. It’s so dear to me, so necessary, and we are finally back together again after a break for the holidays.

4. Healthcare that I can access and afford. For us humans and our dog(s). Physical therapy and vaccines are on the top of the list.

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5. My tiny family, tiny home, tiny life. Always.

Bonus joy: the hydromassage chair, sitting in the sauna with Eric, roasted vegetables, good TV, listening to podcasts, chocolate covered graham crackers, that corner of the couch, down pillows and blankets, headlamps, other people’s dogs, my smartphone, my laptop, being able to stream TV without commercials, calendars, orange juice (in particular mixed with cranberry pomegranate juice), good music, good good books, the fur that grows long between Ringo’s toes in the winter, laughing with Eric, gummies, canceled plans, coffee with hot cocoa and tiny marshmallows, a big glass of clean cold water, pain medication, good friends.

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