We all go through life having some clarity about the need to haves and the nice to haves. I “need” to have a cup of coffee in the morning to thaw; and it would be “nice” if there was a freshly-baked chocolate croissant to go with it.
I’m thankful for many things. I mean, I’m very aware of how lucky I am and that life is good for the most part. So here is a list of things, from the top of my head, without much introspection, I dare say – that I could live without but it’s nice to have them – and they enhance my life.
The kids. I’m not thankful that I have kids, but I’m thankful for having the kids that I do have because they are fabulous! I could’ve had any kids but I’m glad I have the ones that I do. They have developed a dry and dark sense of humor like their parents. My son can sigh the deepest sigh you’ve ever heard a 12-year old sigh when he comes into the kitchen while we’re cooking and says, “I have a question” and I say, “The answer is monkey butt” and my husband says, “The answer is Peter.” Sometimes, I think he gives up on his question and leaves, questioning his parents’ mental health instead. But he takes it in stride, as he would say, “Like a man.”
The writing career. It hasn’t been going great, what with being a midlist writer and then taking a break for a while but regardless, I’m thankful that I have a writing career, in whatever shape it might be. I’m thankful that my books ever got published. I’m thankful that I can tell a story – that I have this skill and this love for storytelling. I’m thankful and grateful that people have read my books and connected with them and me. I’m thankful that I have an agent who believes in me and my work. I’m glad that I have a husband who doesn’t mind my biting his head off when he disturbs me when I’m writing (and seriously, after 18 years, he should know better) and thinks that I’m the cat’s ass.
The job. I have a job – it pays the bills but it also makes me really, really happy. I work in marketing and I really like it. But I’ve had jobs before. I’m particularly thankful that I have this job. My office is an 8-minute drive from home (and no, I don’t have a bicycle and don’t intend to get one), I have the coolest boss in the world, I work on interesting things, get to travel to interesting places, learn new things all the time, I don’t get discriminated against because I’m not Danish or like “them”, I hang out with some pretty awesome people at work…of course, I have things I could bitch about as well – but really, it seems petty.
The cleaning lady. I know I sound like a snob here. But I’m deeply grateful for my cleaning lady. She’s the reason my husband are still together. Because if we had to have a discussion every Saturday as to whose head is going in the toilet…I think we’d be headed for divorce court. And she’s awesome. She has never missed a day without warning and she brings chocolate for my kids when she comes back from holiday. And I’ve gotten to know her and her daughter in the past six years – after all I see her and have breakfast with her more regularly than with any of my friends.
Therapy. I did ponder about the cleaning lady coming before therapy and decided that this was the right order. I have an American sensibility about therapy – I think it is important and I think everyone should have some. In Denmark, it’s still not something you openly talk about. You don’t say things like, “And then my therapist said…” You have coaches and mentors – but that’s work related, all about ambition – but it doesn’t mean you’re cuckoo as seeing a therapist does. I tried therapy four years ago when I was going through a personal crisis – and I tried two therapists but it just didn’t work out. After a few sessions, I lost interest in getting better and let the crisis take me over. Then there was the inevitable cycle of mid-life crisis (I believe we don’t live as long in India and therefore midlife hits at 35 and not 40) combined with other crises and I was turning into a bit of a basket case. So early this year, I did a Google search for therapist in English in Copenhagen and voila! I found the therapist I have always been looking for. And I am extremely grateful for being of sound mental health thanks to him…well, mostly of sound mental health but there’s just this much even therapy can do.
The sister. When I need instant therapy, I call my sister. Growing up, I’m sad to say we weren’t close…at all. Even as adults we weren’t close. She saw my son when he was four days old and then she say him when was seven years old. So there was a gap. But one day she decided she was going to fight for our relationship and bless her, she fought and cajoled and convinced me that I wanted to have a relationship with her. Fast forward six years and we talk nearly every week and send emails and she knows me better than anyone. She’s the only person I can tell to her face, “You’re fucked up, bitch” and she says it back to me with the same bite and then we can easily say, “I love you” to one another. We fight and we don’t ever need to make up because it’s just not relevant when you have such a solid relationship. I’m her pocket psychologist and she’s mine and I’m damn grateful that she pushed so hard for us to be real sisters because I’d be lost without her.
Now, some would say, Amulya doesn’t seem grateful for having a husband. And that isn’t quite true. I do feel very fortunate that I have the husband that I have because he’s just about perfect with the right amount of weirdness so he isn’t completely weirdly perfect – but perversely I also feel that it hasn’t come for free. I mean, it’s because I’m such a fabulous wife that I have the husband I have. And being thankful for him then becomes a way for me to be just grateful for my fabulousness and that’s pretty narcissistic, so we’ll let that one go.
What are the five things you’re grateful for – right here, right now?