Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Grateful for Gratitude

At this current moment in time, I have two jobs.  Both are more-or-less "part time," though labeling either of them in such terms is complicated.  What's easy to explain, however, is that they play off each others' schedules well and I can frequently get a 5-6 day work week without a problem.

Today, however, they didn't mesh with each other quite as well as I'd like, and I wound up having to work BOTH jobs today.  Luckily, my first obligation was only for 3.5 hours, and the second was 6.5, with an hour in between (that didn't feel like much of a break, as I frantically rushed from one job to the other, changing clothes in my car).  It wasn't an outrageously long day, but it was demoralizing, and it was exhausting.

About halfway through the day, though, it dawned on me just how lucky I was to have this problem, though - I spent nearly 2 years unemployed or underemployed, feeling utterly useless and like a waste of a person because I couldn't contribute to my own financial well-being.  It was a dark and difficult time in my life, and for a good portion of it, it didn't seem like it was ever going to get better.  And now, here I am, not only with two jobs, but with a third I had to turn down.  I am good at both jobs.  I make money and I help support myself and my little family.  I work hard, come home exhausted, do my best, and bring home a paycheck, and for a long time in my life, I wanted nothing more than the ability to do that.  Even on days like today, when putting one foot in front of the other can take some serious mental preparation, I am not so far removed from desperation that I am ungrateful for the opportunity to work myself  into the ground.

The American Dream has always been to rise up from nothing, work until you drop, and make it on your own.  So, so many these days just don't get that opportunity.  Having felt like I was one of them leaves me in a valuable position to truly appreciate my hardships as an opportunity to be grateful for the chance to work and the motivation to do well out of gratitude for that opportunity.  Of course, I am human and there are days when the alarm is an enemy and my drive is totally flat-lined.  But even just remembering to be thankful completely revolutionized my mood today, and it's such a simple way to improve your outlook.  There's always something in every situation to be grateful for, even if you have to push aside pride, exhaustion, weakness, anxiety, or frustration to find it.  And sometimes finding it is the key to getting through all the rest.

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