I’ve had a word of the year for a few years now and I never normally put it on my blog as it’s always just been something that’s private to me, but this year’s word feels like it comes with a message that many people can relate to, so I thought I would share it. My word for 2018 is Gratitude.
Over the past year I’ve found myself regularly looking enviously at other people’s lives and wishing I had what they had. I was always wanting more, my life was never good enough because I was always comparing myself to others and then it struck me – my life would never be good enough for me until I started appreciating what I had and being thankful for it.
I think social media, and Instagram in particular, has a habit of showing us snippets of people’s perfect lives and making us feel as though our own lives aren’t ‘Instaworthy’. But that’s the problem – they are just snippets – they don’t show us the full picture. While in some cases people really do have the perfect life, in most cases there’s something going on just out of shot that isn’t captured for the world to see, maybe it’s a teething baby screaming, a huge pile of laundry waiting to be done or the dog chewing up something it shouldn’t be. We don’t share those moments because we don’t want to look like our life is less than perfect compared to those around us and it’s easy to forget what is real life and what is staged.
I started to open my eyes to what was around me and I realised that I had no reason to be envious of anybody. My lightbulb moment was as I sat down to eat my Christmas dinner. The house was packed, we had 25 people here, I had been cooking for hours and was shattered and it was only 2pm! My mind wandered slightly and I started thinking about what Christmas Day at some of my favourite Instagrammer’s houses looked like and whether ours would match up and then it hit me – the people behind those accounts didn’t care what my Christmas Day looked like because they were too busy enjoying theirs! I looked down the (very long) table and watched family members laughing and chatting with each other, it didn’t matter that there were two sets of crockery on the table that didn’t match, or that I didn’t manage to buy the perfect serving dishes from the White Company that I had been secretly coveting (and which were totally Instaworthy!) what mattered was that right then 25 people were sharing their Christmas together and making memories that would last a life time.
Many hours later I crawled into bed a different person. I laid there and said a silent thank you for being able to spend the day with almost all of our loved ones, for the beautiful and thoughtful gifts I had been given, for the fun we had had. I said thank you for being blessed with my two beautiful children and all my nieces and nephews and I said thank you for my wonderful husband because without him I would be nothing. My house may still be a work in progress, but it is our home and it is full of love. My wardrobe may not be full of designer labels, but I have plenty of clothes to choose from to keep me warm on these cold days. My life may not be one jet-set moment after another, but it is full of precious moments that nobody but us can experience and I am thankful for all of it.
I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but I do make goals for the year ahead and this year my biggest goal is to be grateful for what I have and say thank you every day for all the things that have gone well.
Will I stop using social media? Heck no, I love it! but I will view everything without feeling envious anymore because I have everything I need right here and for that I am truly grateful.