Appreciate (Written by Victoria Klein): What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
I apologize. This is late, or at least by my standards it is. I just couldn’t figure out what one thing I’ve come to appreciate most this year, let alone how I express gratitude for it. I came up with two things I appreciate all the more now: health and autonomy. Why do I appreciate these so much more than I did before 2011? 1. I was fairly healthy before, or as healthy as an anxious asthmatic can be. This past year I’ve been sick more times than I can count, and I’ve suffered from some serious conditions as well. When you don’t have insurance, though, it’s rather difficult to handle all that ails you. 2. I had been an autonomous individual for 8 years before moving into someone else’s house. Sharing a kitchen? Did you just see me physically cringe on my end of the Internet? I make no effort to hide my foodie side around here — and I feel like I’ve been paraphrasing that over and over during this year’s Reverb. Of all the concessions I’ve made, keeping the majority of my kitchen items boxed up in a garage has been one of the worst.
Now that we’ve covered how much more I appreciate my health and my autonomy, how do I even begin to decipher ways in which I’ve shown gratitude for those precious things this year? How can you express gratitude for something you lack? I’m truly at a loss. Planning to bring these qualities back into my life hardly seems like a way to express gratitude for them. And when you live with a smoker, even a good health day becomes a bad health day. If I wake in the morning, refreshed, feeling well, and feeling happy, all I need to do is walk out of our side to the kitchen. I don’t even need to take a deep breath — a shallow breath is all it takes to incite a coughing fit for my sensitive lungs. I look back on the times when I was well, the home was my own, and the rules came from me (with a good helping of my husband’s agreement, of course). I look forward to the times when that will again be the case. But for now, I try to ignore the fact that my mind and body are both loudly screaming at me to remove myself and my family from this situation.
Because I can’t truly decipher a way in which I show gratitude for my lack of health and lack of autonomy, I promise each and everyone of you who’s read this that I will celebrate my autonomy on February 1st with a healthy dinner. I’ll serve up a fresh salad, whole grains, steamed veggies, and a lean protein choice. For dessert, we’ll dine on fresh fruit and cheese. I’ll go to bed early, and I’ll awake on Groundhog’s Day ready to determine when “spring” is coming, where spring really means the blossoming of better times.