This post is written by Katie Lemons, a wonderful blogger, and creator you can learn more about at (Hot & Sour). Katie was recognized as a recipient of Amazon’s Top 35 Family Lifestyle blogs.
I am a woman. I am Chinese-American. I am a wife. I am a mother. I am a scientist. I am a writer. I am all of these things, yet none of these words can accurately portray my individuality or even begin to explain the essence of who I am.
It wasn’t until after my son was born that I truly began to think deeply about my own identity. Before then, I had taken it for granted that I knew who I was, that it wasn’t something that needed to be reflected upon. But after having a child, my identity became inextricably intertwined with the little person who was now a permanent fixture in my life. It was only when I tried to separate myself from the role of motherhood that I realized I didn’t know where to begin.
Little by little, I began to realize that my identity is not defined by my roles, my job, or my hobbies. Rather than looking for labels to describe me, I began to look at the various aspects of my life as the things which bring me overwhelming joy. It wasn’t until I began to appreciate and be thankful for the things I have that I was able to shift my focus and live life to the fullest.
I am grateful for…
The feeling of sinking into my bed, after an exhausting day
Watching my son eagerly absorbing everything the world has to offer
Reading a book that truly resonates with me
Finding something in common with someone else that is totally unexpected
Witnessing the immense love my son continuously receives from his grandparents
A long hug with my husband after work
Sleeping in on the weekend when my son visits with his grandparents
A big bowl of delicious noodle soup
Discovering a TV show that my husband and I both love
Amazon Prime Two Day Shipping
Coming home to a house cleaned top to bottom by my husband
Making a difference and being recognized at work
Connecting with old friends without missing a beat
The feeling of comfort and nostalgia when eating food I grew up with
Doing something random and silly that causes my son to laugh from his belly
Finding a great deal on something I was going to buy anyway
Listening to podcasts
People and situations that are placed in my life that facilitate personal growth
My health and well-being
Knowing that what I do makes a difference in patients’ lives
A workplace and supervisors that are incredibly supportive of parenthood
Changing into my pajamas and snuggling under a blanket on the couch
Being a homeowner with two parks within walking distance of our neighborhood
For more from Katie, check out her blog at Hot & Sour, where she writes about motherhood, marriage, food, culture, and much more.
Check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I started writing about gratitude and why I want you to start writing a list of your own.
If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!
“To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best. To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others. To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words but great deeds. To live in faith that the whole world is on your side so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”
― Christian D. Larson, Your Forces and How to Use Them
I have to keep reminding myself of this as the fall semester comes to an end and I still have so much to take care of.
The work will get done, I keep saying.
Each breath acts as an anchor, knowing I have goals I am working towards. Planning only gets us so far – and similarly – so does writing lists. I want to live out loud when it comes to gratitude and positivity. I want to take those next steps and live each moment and use each action to demonstrate gratitude. This looks like patience. This looks like empathy and encouragement.
Ultimately reminding myself, I need to take life one day at a time. The best is yet to come. The work will get done but saying it isn’t enough. Taking action brings life to another level.
Everything has its place and everything has a purpose. I spent weeks worrying about my work and my future. I was negative, unmotivated, and resentful of my current situation.
I was in the wrong space.
We all belong to the present. We all belong in the here and now. Otherwise, we’re distracted and misplaced. We have enough to tend to in the present to stress about everything we can’t control. I’m grateful I’m here. I’m grateful I’m with my brother. I’m grateful for the people who remind me I don’t have to go through life alone.
I’ve had a really difficult time writing about gratitude this past week. I have enjoyed being home and the time off has been the break I have been looking for. That being said, this was completely unexpected.
I’m grateful this has all coincided with my brother’s graduation but this was never the original plan. On Wednesday of last week, I got an email saying I needed to return back to the U.S to fix an issue with my work VISA. This news was devastating. I wanted nothing more than to just BE in England this summer. Living and working at the University of Essex was a dream come true. I felt like I was letting people down like I was letting myself down for not catching this before it became an issue.
I felt ashamed that I was back in Ashland, just waiting for my VISA to get processed. After talking things through and really taking a breath to consider the entire situation, I know I can make this work. Soon enough, I’ll be back in the UK working as an intern in the same position like nothing had happened. I’m currently working remotely from home in the meantime. I’m grateful for my parents and their unconditional support. This is something I know I need to learn from.
The reason I titled this blog about change is that none of this was the original plan. I was never supposed to be home for my brother’s graduation or these special moments with my family. Yet, here I am. Life doesn’t always work out the way we think it will but with a little bit of patience and a positive mindset, I’ve found myself here, happy.
The waiting game is tough and I feel bad about my lack of presence in England but I’ll be back before I know it. I’ve gotten some really good advice from friends and family about the situation and I’m grateful to have these people in my corner. All I know is that I just have to take this life one day at a time and the rest will figure itself out.
I was disappointed in myself for missing a couple of days of blogging. I’d like to think I kept my gratitude promise by writing for those days today but I know it’s not the same thing. It shouldn’t matter that I published the blog a couple of days late because it was never about posting every day or proving I can write 365 blogs. I didn’t start writing about gratitude to quantify a list of things I have. It’s not about the stuff on the list, or how many there are. It’s about the feeling each list item brings. So that’s why I’ll keep writing about gratitude. I believe in the power of thankfulness and hope sharing mine can inspire more.
I recognize I hold a lot of privilege in my identities and opportunities. Sometimes preaching gratitude feels like I’m just simply advertising my advantages. I think like every feeling or emotion, we all feel it differently. The way I feel and express gratitude will be different than how others do the same.
Albeit small, I want to use this platform to bring positivity into this world and inspire others any way I can.
Today I’m Grateful For…
My dad coaching my teams growing up
Orange juice in the morning
Trying something new
A platform to share my thoughts
My fraternity brothers and goodbyes
The sound of birds chirping in the morning
Meeting new people
A couple deep breaths
Bryan Gammon, one of my best friends
The calming rain and how it feels when it lands on my skin