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I’m sitting outside, listening to Pandora, playing games, talking to my sister, and song after song comes on that give me an overwhelming euphoria. The weather is beautiful, it’s not really that humid, and I didn’t even notice it was dark.

Yes, the animals need to bed. Yes, there are things that probably need to be done, i.e. the dishes. Need a better example? Refer to this as a good representation of what I should be doing right now. But I can’t help but not move from the comfort of my spot on the patio.

I’ve been reflecting on a lot. The polish on my toes, adorned with a small flower, painted by a steady hand. The cool beer sitting in the cup holder next to me. Good music playing on Pandora that makes me want to move to the beat. Simplicity.

Anyway, I started thinking “what is there not to be happy about right now?” I have a wonderful husband, a roof over my head, money in my account (at least for the time being), ambition to get things done tomorrow, I feel like I got a lot accomplished at work. I worry sometimes, and you might find this silly, about the end of the world, or death in general. I worry to the point that I have panic attacks. Not an exaggeration. But somehow, something, somewhere calms me down. And I feel calm. I remember all the things that there are in this world to be grateful. The air I’m breathing, the luxuries I’ve been bestowed, the food in my belly. I. Am. Grateful.

I went through a tough time, as some may know, and I’m lucky to be alive. REALLY LUCKY. Someone was looking out for me, and it took me a long time to realize that. It was a rough road to navigate, it’s been a bumpy road growing since then, and sometimes it feels like it just keeps getting tougher as I get older. I’ve fallen, kept myself down, pick myself up, KICKED myself down, and then kicked my ass back up. I’m assuming that’s natural

I read an article today that made me think about this even more. It began by simply saying “If you could take back a moment in your life, would you? If you could redo the past, what would you do differently?” I found myself answering “no” to both of those questions, and reflected on why that was. The answer is simple: everything i went through, am going through now, and will go through in the future I believe is happening for a very specific reason. I don’t know what that reason is, or if I’m telling myself that to feel better so that I don’t have a panic attack, but it’s a comforting thought and I believe it with every fiber of my being.

My Dad told me once “God will never give you anything you can’t handle.” And again, it took me a long time to come to terms with this, mostly because I struggled with my faith for a LONG time. I can remember the exact moment when that changed and I was confident there was a God, but I’d rather keep that to myself because it’s super personal.

There are still things in this life that are had that I find myself secretly cursing God, getting upset, and asking “why?” That’s normal as far as I know. Why haven’t I gotten over my dear friend’s death? Why haven’t I forgiven myself for the things that happened almost 5 years ago? Have I not learned to deal with them properly or have I just not figured out why those things have happened? I think it’s partly a forgiveness factor for myself, but I think it’s also because He wants me to figure it out on my own no matter how much I constantly ask for answer.

I cleaned up my Faceboook page, and got rid of the negativity. A person can only handle so much. But it wasn’t without posting a status update saying something to the effect of “how can you be so negative all the time?” It’s not something I understand, or understand how I was like that at one point in time. There is so much to be grateful for, and you should wake up everyday grateful that God gave you another day to live. That you have another day to make up your wrongs, to breathe fresh air, to eat, to LIVE. We all should live, and I mean really live. I can’t say I’m perfect example of this, because every once in a while I get this moment of “aw, why didn’t I do that!” But I brush it off with a simple “oh well” because I know another opportunity will present itself. I don’t dwell on it.

If there’s anything my hubby has taught me since we got married is that life is too short to get caught up on petty crap. I’m still learning this. I’m still teaching myself not to get angered so easily, not to let little things bother me, but I still find myself caught up getting upset over something that shouldn’t matter. It’s a tough process, but I’m grateful to him for it.

Everyone has tough times in their lives, but it’s a matter of how you deal with them. Have your bitch fit, scream, be angry about it,give yourself 30 minutes to be mad about whatever it is but then take a breath and think of one thing to be grateful for and why you’re grateful for it. My sister has had a tough time, I’ve lived it, and I’ve seen it. I’ve seen her downs, and her amazing ups. What fascinates me and what makes me so proud of her is how strong she’s become through it all. We didn’t always have the best relationship, it took a while to mend, but I consider her to be one of my best friends. I know I can talk to her about anything and I know, or at least hope she feels the same. I am proud of her. I’m proud of my parents, and I’m grateful to them for putting up with me. They had some rough times too, but they never gave up. They stayed strong. I’m grateful for my oldest sister for being such a wonderful friend, and putting up with ALL of us. I’m grateful for my friends.

I don’t think I’d be the person I was today if it weren’t for everything I went through, the people I encountered, and the people that are still in my life, the life I’ve been blessed with.

There’s plenty to be happy about. Share a smile. Be silly. Be happy. Do something spontaneously selfless. Enjoy your life and the talents you’ve been blessed with. Celebrate them. Celebrate yourself.