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Thursday, 18 December 2014

thankful thursday

one of the discoveries i made this year was you have to fit your own oxygen mask before helping others. that phrase is something i have reminded myself of when i have felt guilty for reading a book or watching a film when i should be "doing" some kind of work around my house. 

these past couple of weeks i've not had very much oxygen time. it's the season isn't it? everyone has a deadline and it rolls ever closer until you get to the 25th of the month. in my lunch hour one day last week i went to grab a sandwich, from the minute i drove into the car park you could just tell everyone was in a bad mood. everyone was in a hurry; deadlines to meet, presents to buy, people to see, places to be. i commented on this to the cashier who couldn't have agreed more wholeheartedly "they really are in a bad mood, everyone" he said, i had never felt anything like it in a store before. perhaps previously i was one with them and too busy to notice. of course a couple of days later, when the to do list was long and panic was taking hold and i was cold to my bones from working in an office without proper heating for almost a week, it was me that had my head down refusing to notice the sunshine of the season.

this week i am thankful there is just a little space. sure, i have masses to do like everyone but i have a little breathing space to get organised within that. i am thankful i can see the finish line of my working year, it's tantalizingly close, i can feel myself getting ready for the big exhale. I'm ready to leave work behind until the new year; i'm thankful for the gift of holiday. i am looking forward to travelling to see friends and family; i am the fortunate one who gets to see people and drop off and collect presents from and for everyone else who can't make the journey. 

as i write this i realise it is one week until christmas day. i could let the groundswell of panic that is at the pit of my stomach come to the fore and give in to what, let's face it, is a usual feeling at this time of the year. couple that with worries that always seem to push themselves to the front of my mind when i feel overwhelmed by to do lists, even if they are nice things like travel or parties, i could well and truly put myself down a big black hole. 

slowly i remember to be kind to myself. slowly i remember to put my oxygen mask on. slowly i remember the reason for the season is a childs birth and that child wants nothing more than for me to surrender and trust that all of this thing called life is part of his great plan for good. only when i remember does my stomach knot relax. only when i surrender does my peace return. only when i am thankful for where i am, with what i have and with who i am with; regardless of hopes and dreams fulfilled or unfulfilled, of expectations met or dashed, only then does my joy return. and with that joy i want to celebrate, embrace life and expect the best of outcomes for future hopes and dreams. i can think of no better time of year to do it.

thank you for reading along with me here this year. many were the weeks when disciplining myself to write my thankful thursday posts helped me change my perspective, because really that is what being thankful does; it enables you to see something good even when you are at your lowest ebb.  i hope that by reading some of my weekly thankful thoughts you have been able to identify with at least some of them and perhaps too your perspective changed.

this time of year we try to get ourselves into the seasonal mood by listening to christmas music. the repetition of old songs alongside the new enables us to relive memories of christmases past. chris rea's driving home for christmas will forever remind me of my brother driving home to manchester from london during his early twenties to celebrate with us. he'd play it in the car to remind him what he was doing, we'd play it at home to remind us he was on his way. when his 6'2" frame arrived through the door all were in the hallway to greet him, arms enveloping each other, kisses freely given, his booming voice echoing the lyrics of this soundtrack (usually "top to toe in tailbacks"). i am thankful i have always had family to celebrate with and grateful there are so many fond and happy memories from the legacy of the years spent celebrating with close friends and family.

so here is chris rea singing driving home for christmas. tell me which songs remind you of happy memories at christmas?


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