The reasons I have for being grateful this week are a little different than usual. Can we get more meta than being grateful for gratitude itself?What a crazy week it has been. I’ve felt off-kilter since last week as I knew I’d be spending most of Friday in a car on the way up to New York. When you “lose” a day of work, it feels strange. Today feels like Monday instead of Sunday!

I’m happy to say the weather is definitely cooler here. When we left on Friday, it was in the 80s by us. Last night, I was freezing in a sweater, scarf, pants, and boots.

I actually changed all my clothes around last week in preparation. Interestingly, I didn’t have much to get rid of. Each time I change my clothes around for the seasons, I try to be as critical as possible in an effort to declutter.

I had done a fairly large purge the last two times, and I haven’t really purchased anything new, so most things stayed the same. I guess that’s a good thing! Am I allowed to say I’m grateful I don’t have a shopping addiction?

Being Grateful for…Gratitude?

Is it possible to be grateful that gratitude has been coming easier to me over the last year? I’ve written about it before, but this weekly exercise has made a huge difference in my life.

That really showed this weekend. For the most part, our trip went smoothly, but it wasn’t without its bumps. When you’re on the road for 12+ hours, that’s bound to happen.

We ended up leaving later than expected to get to my parents house on Thursday, and we wanted to get some sleep, so we didn’t leave until noon on Friday.

Our goal was to get there before Saturday because we had plans that night. We figured we could take it slow and it would be less stressful. That worked out for the first half of the trip…

Traffic, Bad Weather, and Bad Timing

I feel like I-95 in Virginia is cursed for us. That’s where we hit a major, major delay back when we moved. 8 hours worth of delays, causing the entire move to take 24 hours instead of 11. This time was no different (except for less traffic).

A storm started brewing while I was driving. I absolutely hate storms (when I was 5, my neighbor’s house got struck by lightning, scaring the crap out of me), I don’t like driving in the dark, and I especially don’t enjoy driving when it’s dark out and pouring.

All that happened at once. We were in the middle of traffic and the skies opened up. My plan was to stop somewhere for dinner once nighttime hit. We got off at an exit as soon as we could, but we couldn’t see any signs. I ended up pulling into a random parking lot where R switched to driving.

We found our way to the restaurant, and by the time we left, it had stopped raining. There was still some traffic, but it wasn’t as bad. Unfortunately, with all the stop and go, and R getting tired later on, we ended up getting here around 2:30AM.

Getting Lost and More Bad Timing

As if that wasn’t enough, the next day we headed into the city to meet up with friends. We missed the first train going there, and the one coming back (for multiple reasons). We got lost going to the meet up, and I’ve been having issues with my pinky toe hurting while walking. Being in pain and trying to figure out your way around NYC isn’t fun.

I’m not going to lie – I was miserable. As I hobbled along, I told myself I needed to keep putting one foot in front of the other. We’d get to where we were going eventually. I needed to suck it up.

Then a few things happened. Not surprisingly, we saw a few homeless people on the streets, trying to get comfortable and stay warm in the brisk weather.

Gratitude is powerful - it can change your entire perspective on life for the better. Click To Tweet

It served as a reminder of how privileged I am. I was able to afford a ticket into the city (damn you LIRR for being so pricey), and I have all my basic needs met. Friends, family, food, shelter, etc. – overall, life is good. I shouldn’t be complaining about pain in my foot.

On our way back to Penn Station, we happened to run into a few friends we had already said goodbye to. We were going on separate train lines and theirs left later, so we left before them. We saw them crossing the street we were on and intersected at the perfect time.

There’s a Bright Side if You Look for One

Coincidence? Who knows. I like to think things happen for a reason. We got lost, but we somehow reconnected with people, and had an amazingly interesting time taking the drunk train back to the island. Those are great memories I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

My point is, I was waffling back and forth on being annoyed and trying to find the bright side all of last night. Yes, we got lost twice, but we got to the meet up eventually and had a lot of fun with friends we barely get to see. We also got to meet new people!

I don’t think I would have been in both of those mindsets a few years ago. I had a horrible habit of sinking into the Woe is me, why does nothing ever go right? thought process instead. I’m still guilty of it to some extent, but I can snap myself out of it rather quickly and not let something ruin my night.

So yes, I think I can be grateful for having a better outlook on things.

A Gentle Reminder

I’m staying with my grandma this trip, and she’s been filling me in on what’s been happening with the rest of our family. Unfortunately, with everyone going off and doing their own thing these past few years, it’s been difficult to get everyone together.

Nevertheless, my grandma checks in with everyone because she cares, and when she doesn’t receive a call in return, she gets upset. She spoiled all of us grandchildren growing up, and when my parents went through rough patches with money, she was there.

From this, I wanted to give you all a reminder: if you’re on friendly terms with your family, give them a call. Maybe you’re closer with a cousin or an aunt or uncle – whoever it is, let them know you’re thinking about them.

You might assume your family already knows you love and care about them, but nothing beats actually hearing from one another. Many of us are grateful for our family and friends, but we don’t show it enough (myself included). Make time for them one way or another.

Writing Around the Web

I had two articles on Young Adult Money this week – the importance of finding your “why” when it comes to money, and a discussion of the sprint vs the marathon mindset when it comes to completing goals.

On Frugal Rules, I offered a rebuttal to the infamous piece from Elite Daily about not saving money in your 20s. I’m all about balance, and I think you can save, pay off debt, and still enjoy life if you just master the basics.

What are you being grateful for this week? Do you have to remind yourself to be grateful for certain things, or does gratitude come easily to you? When is the last time you connected with family and friends? 

 

12 Comments

  1. Income Surfer October 11, 2015 at 6:07 PM

    Thanks for sharing Erin. Gratitude comes fairly easily for me anyway, but even more readily when I’m struggling. I’m not one of those people who is ALWAYS looking at the bright side, but I try. Life is full of both blessings and pain. I TRY to focus on the blessings.

    I hope you have a great week
    -Bryan

    Reply
    1. Erin M. October 12, 2015 at 2:07 AM

      Hi Bryan! That’s great to hear. I come from a family that tends to be pessimistic, so it’s been a learning experience to see the good in certain situations. Focusing on the positive is always better! I hope you have a great week as well.

      Reply
  2. Tonya@Budget and the Beach October 11, 2015 at 9:35 PM

    I’m so jealous you are experiencing cooler weather! I seriously can’t wait for it to cool down here. 10 degrees even! I think we all get caught up in life’s little annoyances. I certainly wouldn’t beat myself up about it, but I’m so impressed how much you try to get perspective quickly. And I agree that you should call your loved ones more often. I regret not doing that with my grandparents before they passed. My mom is a challenge though. It’s so difficult to talk to someone who is so loopy and out of it. But I have to try and find a way…

    Reply
    1. Erin M. October 12, 2015 at 2:10 AM

      Oh please, I’m jealous of your weather like, 80% of the year. ;)

      It hasn’t been easy, trust me. I used to let the littlest, inconsequential things get to me – for hours, sometimes days (if things started piling up). However, I’ve realized the power in choosing to be happy/grateful. Being depressed and upset is mentally draining and I hate being in that frame of mind. I also know it doesn’t make me a fun person to be around, so I try to spin it around as fast as possible.

      I hear you…as much as I love my grandma, it can be frustrating to talk to her on the phone because she can barely hear me and tends to misunderstand me. But the effort is what counts, I think.

      Reply
  3. Kate @ Cashville Skyline October 12, 2015 at 7:35 AM

    Your post is timely, Erin! I’m in Santa Fe right now celebrating my mother’s 60th birthday. And as I’m typing I’m watching the sunrise! I’m totally grateful for the entire experience – time with my family, the ability to buy a plane ticket, taking paid time off from work, etc. I’m thankful for all of it!

    Reply
    1. Erin M. October 12, 2015 at 10:56 PM

      I saw the pictures, gorgeous!! So glad you’re enjoying it and soaking it all in. It’s so important to just step back and recharge once in a while.

      Reply
  4. Cat@BudgetBlonde October 12, 2015 at 10:43 AM

    Oh no! Your trip sounds tough, but I’m glad you finally made it. It’s ok to be grateful for more gratitude in your life too. Makes perfect sense to me. :)

    Reply
    1. Erin M. October 12, 2015 at 10:55 PM

      Glad to know my random thoughts make sense sometimes – it’s always comforting. ;) I’m glad I’m finally here, too!

      Reply
  5. Jessica October 13, 2015 at 12:55 PM

    I’ve really noticed how practicing gratitude has helped me as well. Every single day I write down three thing I’m thankful for in my life. At first, it was a little difficult or felt silly or false to do this exercise, but with each day I’m noticing it really is easier to see the good things in life. It makes such a difference in the way I see things. My grandma sounds kind of like yours. It’s on my to-do list this week to give her a call just to chat because it means so much to her. Thanks for the reminder. :)

    Reply
    1. Erin M. October 13, 2015 at 3:34 PM

      You know, it does feel a little weird at first when you’re trying to get into it, but after a few weeks, it started coming naturally to me. I’m glad you’ve experienced the same!

      Aw. My grandma is used to everyone gathering at her home, and now that we all have so many other things to do, she’s a bit lonely. Phone calls or letters really make her day!

      Reply
  6. Andrew October 15, 2015 at 1:20 PM

    Oh man, I’ve heard traffic is crazy on I-95 in that area…that sucks. You make a great point about having a positive mindset….a lot of times, things are what you make of it. I also sometimes have the “woe is me” attitude but it’s much more enjoyable when you search for the bright spots and when you remember the reasons you should be grateful =)

    Reply
    1. Erin M. October 15, 2015 at 4:33 PM

      We were hoping not to hit anything since we got there so late – but there was traffic even at 8pm! I hadn’t even realized it was a holiday weekend. Traffic was actually worse on the other side due to an accident, which was a good reminder that it could have been worse.

      Reply

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