1 // MUSIC
This year I returned to bluegrass, a genre that I fell in love with post-undergrad years while living in the American Southwest. It’s been a beautiful reunion, and I happily discovered what my old favorites were up to now: Chris Thile in Punch Brothers and Sara Watkins in I’m With Her. This led me to MYRKUR (not bluegrass) and their version of “House Carpenter”.
Also, radiooooo.com is a fun site to check out if you’re interested in listening to music from all over the world during different eras.
2 // A NEW CLASS OF STUDENTS
The second half of 2022 has been vastly different than the first – and thank god. While I love my former students, I’m over the moon with my current “within the range of normality” third graders. It’s made a massive difference in my mental health, and I’m happy to say the habits I formed during those tougher times have continued to support me.
3 // BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS
“Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people – people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.”– E.B. White
“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”– Anna Quindlen
“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”– C.S. Lewis
4 // YOGA
When I was in my 20s, I ripped out a page from one of my magazines that showed how to do sun salutations, and I’ve done them pretty religiously every morning since. But at the end of this year, I started doing Yoga with Kassandra’s 30 day Morning Yoga Challenge. I really like how I feel afterwards.
5 // MEDITATION
Around the same time as upping my yoga game, I discovered Tara Brach, and her free guided meditation course with Jack Cornfield. I’ve hit upon a winning routine, my friends, and it feels fantastic.
6 // MY HEALTH
I’m grateful for my health, and that I like to learn more about diet, exercise, and longevity. Sometimes it’s not easy being vegan, socially, but I’m reminded that I’m playing the long game and the diet mirrors my values.
7, 8, 9 // FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND MY HUSBAND
After adolescence, I couldn’t wait to get out of the house. I craved independence, and boy howdy, did I get it. But as I’ve gotten older, I appreciate what my family and I have been through. There’s also a strange feeling, not sure how to describe it, a special quality about reuniting with friends who’ve known you for a long time.
A twenty-something colleague told me she has a tendency to fall in love with a man’s potential. Don’t do that ladies. Fall in love with the man he is today. Accept who he is, and if you’re lucky, he’ll do the same to you.
10 // VEGAN, BLOGGING, AND WRITING COMMUNITIES
When I think of communities, I typically think of where I’m living and who I see face to face. However, online communities create feel-good moments of connectivity, too. In many ways, I feel like online friends know me better than folks around town!
11 // ABUNDANCE
It’s easy for me to complain about how I don’t have this, or I want this, so it’s important to pause and appreciate moments of plenty. And as I like to say, I love a fridge full of food!
12 // NEWSLETTERS
Newsletters offer curated and thoughtful content that isn’t going anywhere. I can read them at my own leisure and support writers and organizations by reading them. I also enjoy putting together my own newsletter. Thanks to my readers!
13 // WRITING
Which leads me to writing…I’m not sure why I like it so much. Maybe it keeps me sane, and the reason I feel this way is because when I interact with other people, I wonder what kind of healthy outlet they have? How do you release stress?
14 // BASIC NEEDS MET
Of course, what gratitude list would be complete without being thankful for having food, water, and shelter.
15 // ALL THE CONTENT & SOCIAL MEDIA
It’s tough to be grateful for social media considering all the damage it has done, but it’s also reconnected family and friends, and allows people every second of the day to share positive content, too. Social simply needs to be regulated, but you already know that.
I’m also grateful for all the wonderful content that I get to consume on a daily basis!
16 // WATER
A dear friend of ours collapsed, was rushed to the hospital, and after days of vomiting and testing, it was discovered she had hyponatremia. In her case (and she’s in her 80s), this was due to her lack of water, so her body was pulling salt out of her system to compensate. I think I have that right.
As it turns out, this is a more common problem that I realized. I remember hearing that many health issues are due to dehydration, but beyond that I didn’t understand. But I knew the importance through PSAs (public service announcements) and health literature in general – drink 6-8 glasses of water every day! so luckily, I’ve always been a water drinker and my husband’s good about carrying water when we go out.
I believe this is a problem in Thailand as well. My mom and I were talking about how family never listens to her when she tells them to drink more water. One of my twenty-something colleagues was/is trying to drink more water. She bought those huge 1.5 liter bottles, told me her goal was to drink one each day, and then I forgot about it, but later, she laughingly confessed she drank “this much” (just the tip of the bottle) during the course of the week. Like a lot of Thais, she drinks coffee and sugary teas, but I hope she will continue to make the effort.
17 // ALL WENT WELL WITH HIS CATARACT SURGERY
In both eyes. Enough said.
18 // INTERMITTENT FASTING
The hubby used to try to exercise a lot in order to lose weight, and of course, stay fit, but it never seemed to work on those stubborn last pounds. He even tried limiting his caloric intake. But what really worked was simply eating within an 8-10 hour window like noon to nine.
I follow something similar whereby I stop eating by 6 or 7 pm and don’t eat until that same period the next morning. The idea is to give your digestive system a break. It especially feels better to not eat hours before bed, sometimes I go to bed a little hungry, but that’s okay. Sleep is a natural time for your body to rest, so it makes “fasting” easier. Have you ever tried it?
20 // HUMOR
One of my Waldorf teacher trainers told us we should try to make our class laugh at least once a day. I adored that idea and have tried to bring levity to my teaching — and my days in general. I’m glad I come from a humorous family, the hubby is quite funny, too. One of my friends likes to tell me that when I first met Eric, I told her, “He makes me laugh.”
Just got off the phone with my brother and we spent a fair amount of time laughing and it wasn’t from trying or funny topics. Sometimes I think it’s our weird sibling connection, and I love that.
21 // LOVING KINDNESS
Sometimes I feel incredibly lucky and loved. I wish I could remember this more often. Maybe I’ll start a list of kind things people did for me each day, and what I did that was kind. Yesterday was exceptional: my ex offered to drive my stuff over to my brother’s, friends of ours drove us all to breakfast & the Burmese temple, and another dropped off apple pie! In turn, I gave her cookies, left a positive review for a restaurant, texted two school parents once I realized how close their businesses are and wouldn’t it be nice for the kids to hang out?
22 // YOU!
Remember you are loved, and thanks so much for reading along.
Feel free to share what you are grateful for and see you in 2023!