This week felt like the right time to write my second thankful journal. Not because everything is going right, but because last week, I was struggling quite a bit.
The sob story starts the weekend before, when I went to Coachella. Instead of walking away with nothing but memories and pure bliss, I hobbled out of the fairgrounds with a crippling head cold.
I’m bummed to say that I let myself get really down about this. In fact, I kind of let it ruin my entire Coachella experience. I’ll forgive myself a little, because it’s hard not to freak out when you’re trying to sleep inside of a tiny two person tent with a burning throat and head full of snot while people continue to party around you into the wee hours.
Since I came down with it while at the festival, I gave my body almost no opportunity to rest, and for that, it turned nastier than usual. Full circle, I’ve been struggling with it all week.
On top of the worse than normal cold, I had to fly home from LA Monday night, leaving me with a fully pressurized (ie. blocked) left ear until Wednesday afternoon. Talk about uncomfortable.
And if all that weren’t enough, I broke out in hives on Tuesday night due to an unknown allergic reaction, which didn’t clear up until Friday morning.
Head cold + deafness + hives = unhappy Ky.
So after a good long pity party (let’s say Monday through Wednesday), I realized how silly it was to be feeling sorry for myself. Coachella was actually incredible, besides my flunky immune system. I got to go with fantastic people and watch some of my favorite musicians play live (and see that Beyonce performance in the flesh whaaat!). Not only can I look back on that and a recent perfect trip to Cambodia, but I can look forward to so much happiness and opportunity, as well.
So the things I’m feeling grateful for this week:
- The opportunity to put my thoughts and energy toward the happiness of another. I spent much of last week pulling together birthday presents, a surprise party and a batch of Oatmeal Scotchies for my guy, and realized again how joyful it is to invest time in making someone else feel special and loved. I think he did, in fact, end up feeling very special and loved, which was the cherry on top.
- Flowers on a hard day. I didn’t sleep well one day last week and still wasn’t feeling well at work the next, leading to a bit of an emotional meltdown. I woke up from a nap later in the day to a beautiful bunch of tiger lilies and remembered how loved and supported I am, even when I’m not my best self.
- The return of a friend on a long journey. One of my best friends just returned from a three month stint traveling Southeast Asia (more on her solo female travel coming to the blog!). I’m so thankful that she not only returned safe and sound, but had an incredible experience traveling. More than anything - selfishly - I’m grateful to have her back in my life.
- WFH days. Three days of working from home last week enabled me to recover from this crappy cold while still supporting my team and my goals at work. It would have made getting sick so much more stressful had I not the option to do this, so I’m really grateful my company offers this option.
- Beautiful sunny San Francisco days and the glorious dusk that comes with them. I still have to pinch myself a little when I’m walking around my neighborhood at sunset and the sky turns that hazy pinky-blue color and the sun reflects a molten gold off the windows in the hills. I take a picture every time, but it never does the city justice.
- Free online courses! I am so jazzed on Coursera right now. I just enrolled in and started week one of Yale’s most popular class of all time “The Science of Well-Being,” and I am already so into it. How incredible is it that in 2018, the internet allows us to receive top notch education 100% for free?
- Everyone who put up with me at the height of my cold. Bronze medal to those I camped with who either helped get me out of camp ASAP on Monday morning or gave me a hug and ended up getting sick. Sorry about that. Silver medal to our friends who woke up at 8 am after getting four hours of sleep to drive me back to LA because I was in such a sad state. You are angels. Gold medal to my boyfriend who continued to love and take care of me, even when I very seriously asked him to call 9-1-1 on Sunday night and sat in bed the next day doing work with tissues stuffed up my nose. You passed the ultimate test.
It was Thursday evening that I began to actively count my blessing and practice gratitude. It also coincided with the gradual reduction of coughing and nose-blowing, making it just a bit easier to see the good in life. I admit, I am very human.
I woke up Friday morning and made a point to meditate before work. Just ten minutes kneeling beside my bed in silence, I felt that wash of liquid warmth and sunshine-y light throughout my body that's often touted in guided meditation programs. That pause and reflection period is so crucial for me to get out of my head (that was whining about a cold at Coachella) and into the world, which is bursting with things to be thankful for.
I so hope this ongoing thankful journal inspires you to start your own! The easiest way to form the habit is by playing “Three Good Things” every night before you go to bed, where you either list in your head or to your bedmate three things that you’re thankful for that day.
It sounds so simple, yet taking the time to verbalize and savor our happiness is what deepens and prolongs it. I feel renewed every time I practice gratitude, no matter how big or small the commemoration may be.
For more gratitude practice, check out my first thankful journal that kicked off the new year!