Gratitude is a habit that I developed unconsciously when I was a teenager. When I was 15, I came across my spiritual Guru, the one who changed the way I looked at life. You may think that’s funny, considering I was just a teen. But I honestly believe that some things are just meant to be.

Every night, I would send up a prayer, thanking the powers that be. At that age, it was for the little things: good friends, good marks at school, a good meal and a wonderful country to live in (Kenya).

As I grew older, got married, started working and much later, when I had my daughter, the prayers continued, but they changed. Now it was for job security, a happy marriage, a loving child and good health for the family.

Somewhere between teenage and adulthood, I had a dream. My Guru appeared in it and told me, ‘Remember, God will grant you anything that you want and ask for. But when you don’t ask, he will give you what you need and in abundance.’

That was a significant turning point. My gratitude moved from thanking for things to thanking for moments. My relationships also changed, for the better. My willingness to accept disappointment improved drastically, although I still fall prey to it even today. But with each stumble, I learn.

With that in mind and my vision board as a reference, I will look back at each month this year in my gratitude posts. In doing so, there is hope that I continue to give thanks for the moments that matter.

Family

It’s with a sense of joy that I am writing my first gratitude post of 2018 today, the 31st of January. It is my parents’ 41st wedding anniversary. I am who I am today because of my parents. I have never seen any other couple so much in love with one another. Their relationship is worth writing paens about. My dad’s twinkling smile and my mom’s wit make for a lethal combination. So, that is the first thing I am most grateful for: parents who make every moment worthwhile.

My husband and my daughter are always my biggest supporters, be it for my blog or my work and I wouldn’t be here today without them. For them, I am always grateful. We celebrated one year of moving into our new home and I am amazed at how much we have grown, as individuals and as a unit, in this new space. Truly blessed.

The month also saw a couple of family get-togethers with cousins which delighted me no end. Nothing like a good belly laugh on a weekend to make you forget your cares.

Health

While I haven’t had any complaints on the health front, I can certainly do better in terms ofΒ  a regular workout. I confess I haven’t been that good at it in January. But I am grateful for the ability to walk on my own two feet, cook meals for the family and manage a home while working on my blog and at my job. It’s important that I don’t take any of this for granted. What’s here today can be taken away tomorrow.

Writing

This has been wonderful in January. I have written, as promised, every single day on Medium and loved it too. One advantage of writing there was the absolute ease of publishing a post, using the Medium app on my phone. The other advantage was that I could write freely, unfettered. Hardly anyone read what I wrote and there was also no worry of spamming people’s inboxes with daily updates. I wrote because I loved it and fell in love with the art of writing all over again.

In addition, my bullet journal habit has become a deeply ingrained part of my day. I start and end the day with it and it causes a strong sense of peace to settle on me as I write. Interestingly, I discovered that my handwriting looks better in block letters instead of cursive! Who knew?

Flat lay of book, pen, tea cup and cupcakes on a white background

Reading

While my book reading hasn’t progressed beyond one book in January, I have taken the time to deeply read long form articles. I’ve spent time reflecting on the points therein and assimilating what they mean. Perhaps it’s middle age or perhaps it’s the knowledge that we have such limited time on earth, but I treasure every moment these days. Reading kept me away from discussions on topics online which would have led nowhere. It also spurred me to write more.

Friendship

My best friend came down to India for a two-day visit and I spent a Friday morning with her. We chat every single day but somehow, meeting in person has a thrill that nothing else can give. Grateful for her presence in my life.

This month also saw me reaching out to a few other close friends in the middle of a crisis. A good heart-to-heart chat filled with assurances as well as practical advice lifted my spirits. These are the people who knew how to be empathetic when I was down while being genuinely happy for my successes. If you’re reading this, let me tell you, you’ve restored my faith and strengthened my belief in the power of unconditional friendship.

Blogging and Social Media

If you’re following me on any social media channel, you’re probably aware of how good a month this was on the blogging front. I’ll keep it short, so please don’t run away.Β  2018 began with the intention of focusing more on my blog and January has been bountiful.

#PageViews πŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ Highest ever on my #blog today! Okay, this is what I was waiting to share. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ I could have done it tomorrow but I can’t wait that long. πŸ˜‰ Those are my blog stats for today, January 18th. 2050+ page views in a day and it’s still climbing! And this, after two days of hardly any views at all. And it’s all thanks to ONE pin that just got picked up and started generating clicks to my website! It was pinned to a board by a blogger with a HUGE follower base and that did the trick! And where did she find my pin? We’re on the same #Tailwind Tribe! That’s it! If you swipe right, you’ll see how the highest referrer to my blog for today is #Pinterest. You’ll also see my Google #Analytics page views for today and what a delightful graph looks like when it’s got many page views. πŸ˜ƒ And, you’ll see the pin that drove all the traffic my way. *Like I said earlier today, be patient. The fruits of hard work WILL pay off πŸ’™πŸ’Ÿ #Blogging

A post shared by Shailaja V (@shailajav) on

My subscribers to my newsletter increased significantly, my blog’s performance thanks to Pinterest did exceedingly well, my Google Analytics told me that my site’s bounce rate dropped to 0.14%(!) and I came across some wonderful new bloggers whom I now read regularly.

Social media has been equally generous with its love. Instagram, a beast I never could tame, suddenly became a good friend! Without trying any strategy, my follower count increased! Still no idea what I did, but very grateful for the ones who follow me. Twitter, which had sent hardly any traffic to my blog, suddenly jumped to my second highest referral. Facebook, well, let’s just say, we’re on speaking terms at the moment. I don’t dislike it anymore. It’s a valuable tool and I love the connections I’ve made through the platform.

What this taught me was that every single thing has the good and bad in it. What matters is what we take away from it.

All in all, it’s been a very fulfilling January and one that I am deeply grateful for. Here’s looking ahead at February with warmth and hope.

What are you grateful for this month? Let me know in the comments.


Linking up with Vidya Sury for her January Gratitude Circle

*Featured images courtesy: Shutterstock


 

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36 thoughts on “Gratitude for January: Thankful for a blessed month

  1. Jan was a great month for you and am so glad! Your parent’s anniversary and their love for each other must be such a positivity inducer to your life. I always hope I can write everyday and keep up with my journal but it doesn’t happen all that often. Though, you’re an inspiration with the consistency you’ve shown this month πŸ˜€ Congratulations on all those blogging achievements, they’re so difficult to achieve, I’m sure it must’ve been a great success to witness them. Good luck for Feb!
    Fanna recently penned this post 5 Steps To Build A Jerk’s Character ArcMy Profile

  2. A lovely month indeed Shailaja. Its always such a motivation to read your posts. You truly deserve every bit of your achievement. I can imagine your joy on meeting an old friend. Nothing like an old firend to catch up on by gone days, and just smile away. Your post makes me miss an old friend of mine, whom I havent met in years. Sigh!!!

    And that reminds me I need to get my gratitude post out soon!!! πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Ramya πŸ™‚ Old friends are the best. Unconditional and warm in their love for you. Hope you get to meet your friend soon!

      Look forward to your post too πŸ™‚

  3. As someone mentioned, you are the queen on social media when it comes to using channels to promote blogging. I’m learning a lot from you :-). And I got inspired to write my gratitude journal after I read yours – so thank you πŸ™‚

  4. Shy you are my rockstar when it comes to blogging/social media etc and I follow everything you do (unashamed and self confessed stalker πŸ˜‰ )
    Reading your gratitude journal makes me feel wonderful, everytime! You seem to be such a joyful and sated person who is delighted by every blessing that comes her way- I wish I could get this blessed feel in my soul too – It will make me less tetchy about things and be more accepting.
    More power to your pen and hearth – love and joy!!

    1. You are one stalker I don’t mind having πŸ˜‰

      I am so pleased that the gratitude journal is making others think about writing theirs as well. Joyful and sated seems to be stretching it πŸ˜‰ But I do find the good in every bit of every day. Last year was a bit rough for me on many fronts and I learnt that in the larger fabric of things, sometimes you go through pain to learn something good. Much love to you, Shalz πŸ™‚

  5. I always love the way you write about your family. So heartwarming and loving ❀ I don’t know how youare writing everyday on medium. Some insane creative mind you got there. And your social media score is exploding. The bar you are setting is only going higher 😁 I wish you an exciting month ahead.
    Rajlakshmi recently penned this post Girls’ day out in SydneyMy Profile

    1. Thank you, Raj πŸ™‚ I think the key to doing something daily is to slowly fall in love with it- the way you do Zentangles or handstands. I could never do that so remember you are awesome πŸ™‚

  6. Happy anniversary to your parents, Shailaja! Congratulations again, on your one-year anniversary in your home–wishing you decades of happiness.

    Indeed it is great to meet a close friend. I am looking forward to seeing my BFF in February!

    Wishing you more and more blogging and social media success. I love how committed you are.

    I grew up saying thanks for what I had–and I received more. I’ll always be grateful to my Mom for inculcating that habit in me–it is what keeps me grounded.

    Thank you for joining the Gratitude Circle.

    Here’s to a great February, one that’s healthy and happy!
    Vidya Sury recently penned this post Are you waiting for that brick? #WednesdayWisdomMy Profile

  7. I agree…meeting a best friend who lives overseas is so much more exhilarating that the daily chats on WA! I feel the same way when I meet my bestie every two years. We just take off from where we left!
    it’s been a wonderful month for you where blogging is concerned and I am so happy for you!You deserve all the joy, my dear! Savour every moment of it..And I liked your Guru’s advice that you shared with us. It’s something mom keeps saying always…need to work on it seriously!
    Best wishes for a wonderful February! <3

  8. Reading your gratitude post warmed my heart, Shailaja. Family, good health and a life that makes us smile with its blessings everyday is what happiness is made of!

  9. It’s been a lovely start to the year for you and so much to be grateful for! I agree writing these gratitude posts makes you notice things a lot more. I’ve been writing every night in my journal next to my bed in addition to weekly on the blog and I do reckon it’s what’s helped me withstand some really crappy stuff at work. Hope you have a fab Feb!
    Sanch @ Sanch Writes recently penned this post The CrushMy Profile

    1. Writing in my journal has become such an integral part of my day. So much that if I haven’t Gy reminds me πŸ™‚ It certainly helps us put things into perspective, doesn’t it? Hope you have a fab Feb too, Sanch πŸ™‚

  10. So many good things coming your way. So very glad for you, specially that you’ve been doing well on the health front. Touchwood. Oh and the daily writing.. that’s amazing too. You do deserve all the awards that come your way because I know you work really hard. Hope all of 2018 is just as fabulous.
    Obsessivemom recently penned this post Izzat is a strange thingMy Profile

  11. So many things to be thankful for, your truly are blessed πŸ™‚

    Along with Rachna, Vidya, Sanch, you have been another blogger who inspired me to do the gratitude list at the end of every month. I’ve included the same in my month end posts from this year on and of-course you feature in it!

    Wishing you a very happy February too Shy, and I hope you think about what we spoke and implement it soon πŸ™‚

    Love!
    Soumya recently penned this post Action Replay + Gratitude List: January 2018My Profile

  12. Knowing an old couple in love with each other makes me happy and hopeful. This is not the case with old couples, the ones I know or have seen from my native. I am forever analyzing the photographs of such couples looking for the faces – are they smiling, how comfortable are they smiling or are they dead serious.
    If you ask me what am I grateful for – I am grateful to be happy and content in this moment as I type this comment. There are loads of work piled up for today, both writing and household chores but they will happen. I will do them. They are not disturbing me.
    Wishing you good health and lots of good wishes for February.
    Anamika Agnihotri recently penned this post Gratitude for January 2018 #MondayMusingsMy Profile

    1. That’s the best place to be, Anamika. Happy. In this moment. It’s all we have.

      One way the gratitude habit helps is to give thanks for the present moments. It really helps put things into perspective. We all have our battles, some of us worse than others.

      But there is something good in our lives. Focusing on that really improves our outlook on life. Wishing you a good February!
      Shailaja recently penned this post Gratitude for January: Thankful for a blessed monthMy Profile

  13. What a lovely post. What impressed me was how it changed the way I’m thinking about January – not that I was grumpy about it – just that I’d been so busy I had no time to think about the good things. Thanks for reminding me and thanks also for the generous tips about tailwind and Pinterest. I’ve ignored Pinterest for my blog and honestly, Instagram too – keeping it mainly for my photos – but hey – my blog deserves a lot of love and publicity. Have a fabulous February too.

  14. Congratulations on the many wonderful achievements you had on the writing and personal front. So glad to note that the hard work you’ve been investing in your writing & blogging has reached fruition.

    Please convey my best wishes to your parents on their anniversary. It is indeed a blessing to be in love after four decades of togetherness. Wishing them many more years of live and togetherness.
    My Era recently penned this post Why I stopped setting yearly goals & started living every day to the fullestMy Profile

  15. Uncle and aunty’s anniversary – – how truly wonderful! Please convey my wishes to them
    Hope they stay healthy, happy and forever in love. So glad that you will be doing the monthly posts from now on. I love them.

    Also with you on the heart-to-heart chats. I did a few of those myself. Feels so good. Also I have been taking time out to meet with girlfriends within the community. It is so important for people like us who work from home.

    So happy about your blog and other social media channels that you are acing. Wonderful that you wrote every day. I think I caught a few on medium. Great going!

    Keep going with your health and fitness.

    Always wonderful to count our blessings. Wish you the very best in February.

    1. Thank you, Rachna. I’m going to try and make the effort to meet more people face to face. It’s truly wonderful!

      Delighted that the hard work is paying off but there’s a long way to go for my goals. But I’m determined to make this work. πŸ™‚

      Totally enjoy writing on Medium. It’s like a dormant beast has woken up πŸ™‚

      Counting the blessings have become an integral part of my day now. Hope that never changes. Thank you and wish you a lovely February too!

  16. So many wonderful things to be thankful for, Shailaja!
    Your Guruji’s advice is so profound. I grew up hearing my Grandmom say that to us too.
    Glad you met your best friend. Going by the pic on insta, I am sure seeing her face to face must’ve been such a delight!
    Great job on the blog stats too!
    Wishing you an even better February!:)

    1. Thank you, Mayuri πŸ™‚ It was certainly one of the better months in the last few months. Or maybe also because I consciously focused on the positives? Not sure. Either way, I am glad.

      ALWAYS fun to meet Aparna. She is my spark of joy. Thanks for the lovely compliments on the blog too πŸ™‚

      Wishing you a lovely February too.

  17. My dear Shailaja, So happy to read about your month gone past, and lovely to see how many things you can find to be thankful about if you make the effort :). I’ve been wanting to do one of these for a while, maybe reading more of these will push me to it ;).
    Happy Anniversary to Uncle & Aunty, your description of their(and your) relationship really left me smiling :).
    I was really thankful and thrilled that we could meet! You won’t believe how crazy busy the rest of my time was, and I was happy to have had our couple of hours of togetherness in the midst of it.

    1. Oh you absolutely should! Start with January! The link up stays open for another week and you can always write it a few days into the next month. Do do write πŸ™‚

      Thanks for the wishes, darling. Will convey it to them. Oh I LOVED meeting you. It was such a breath of fresh air in my work-from-home routine. Intend to do this each month with a few friends. Need to get out more. He he, I can imagine the craziness when it’s a wedding πŸ™‚

      Hugs and hope to meet again soon!

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