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.
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.
While I haven’t had any complaints on the health front, I can certainly do better in terms of 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.
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?
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.
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. 2018 began with the intention of focusing more on my blog and January has been bountiful.
#PageViews 🙌🙌 Highest ever on my #blog today! Okay, this is what I was waiting to share. 😃😃 I could have done it tomorrow but I can’t wait that long. 😉 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. 😃 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 💙💟 #Blogging
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