What I learned from my month of love and gratitude

30 Apr

I spent 6 months whining about my new life, so as penance, I spent 1 month writing about what I love about living in OC. I was trying to teach myself to be grateful for what I have and to embrace proclaiming my love for complicated things like Orange County. My newest discovery is Purpose Fairy and I read something today that resonated:

“Tell yourself: In this moment I have enough. In my life nothing is lacking. I am grateful.”

I have so much and I am so lucky. This reminder led me to the realization that I can have a perfect day anywhere. Understanding this was very liberating for me. No matter where I am, I can have not just a good day, but a perfect day.

When I was living in Oakland, this might have looked like waking up early to a sunny day and biking to the Jack London Farmer’s Market for free yoga on the grass. Followed by strolling around the market, sampling fresh fruit, picking out a yummy treat. Bike home for a hot shower. Maybe I’ll take it slow, putter around my apartment, tidying up, cooing over my plants (I like to think this encourages them to grow), perusing Facebook. Then meet my sister for lunch, maybe walk around the neighborhood, chance upon an outdoor festival or cultural performance. Then head over to a friend’s house where they’re throwing a little dinner party, cooking up a storm of tasty homemade eats, with good music, lively conversation, maybe a game. Get a ride home from a friendly soul, a bit tired but energized and warmed by the great community space. Get a restful sleep.

My perfect day in Orange County is surprisingly similar. Wake up to a sunny day and head out to the beach. Go for an easy jog along the shore as the sun gets brighter. Have a smoothie with fresh fruit as I enjoy the waves and the warm sand, maybe see a dolphin if I’m lucky. Then head home for a long shower and meet my cousins for lunch and fun conversation. Knowing us, lunch would take hours until eventually we have second lunch.

Then I’d come home for date night with my partner. We’d drive to a cute neighborhood that’s not too far, like Downtown Santa Ana or Old Towne Orange or Laguna Beach. Stroll past storefronts to window shop, peek into an art gallery, read restaurant menus. We’d also engage in our favorite activity of people watching – counting the number of women with fake breasts, counting the people of color, the interracial couples…endless possibilities. Have a fantastic dinner with drinks, likely something totally unhealthy like mac ‘n’ cheese or fried chicken or fancy pizza. Then I’d make us walk around some more, maybe with ice cream cones in hand. Then head home and cuddle in bed. Maybe I’d get a massage for my perpetually strained shoulder or we’d try to beat each other at Scrambled. Sometimes I make him tell me a story until I drift off to a contented sleep.

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