Things I’m Grateful For Today

Yesterday and today I’ve been sick which is not common for me. I have some sort of stomach virus that’s been making me achy and causing some minor stomach pains that are enough to make me not want to eat and not well enough to stay all day at the office. They’re also enough to make me feel grateful for all the days – nearly every day in a calendar year – that I am well enough to go to work, to eat nearly anything I like, and to feel healthy and vibrant. Thinking this today is what prompted me to write my most recent list of things I’m grateful for.

In addition to family, friends, education, and work, I am grateful for:

- Living near a park. There are many treasures that come with frequenting a park: getting exercise; reading memorial plaques by trees and benches; saying hello to strangers; stumbling upon my yoga teacher tossing a frisbee with her dog; and stargazing with the Magic Man Who Has a Really Big Telescope and Lets Strangers Have a Peek.

- Visiting friends. The other day, a friend who lives far away texted me in the morning to say he was coming to Indianapolis for work and would I like to have dinner? There is little I like more than a spontaneous invitation I can joyfully accept and, as I had no unbreakable plans that night, to Indy it was. I love seeing old friends, catching up and learning more about their lives. From the hug hello to the hug goodbye, it was a good visit.

- Having friends with dogs. Last week a friend invited me on a catch-up walk. We walked their big black Lab together and had such fun that we later dropped the doggie off and headed up for drinks for more catching up.

- Being a package deal. I often joke to friends/co-workers that Jezebel (my dog) and I are a package deal. Not as in “crazy dog lady who can’t leave home without her dog” package deal but the kind that brings her dog to work a few times per year or that will occasionally bore you with cute dog pictures. Also? There may be more pictures on my TwitPic of Jez than there are of me. I count myself lucky to be able to care for such an interesting, if odd, creature.

- Seeing how your friends change the world. Recently I was out with a friend and our waiter recognized my friend. He asked my friend if it was him. My friend said yes. At the end of a dinner, our waiter told my friend how his work had impacted his family’s life. At times he teared up and could barely continue with the story, but he managed and we were all on the verge of tears. We all affect life and the universe in interesting and more profound ways than we often know. A high school teacher gave me the courage to pursue a path that I wasn’t sure I had the strength to take. I see my friends support their parents, children, clients and patients in incredible ways. It’s something special to notice how every single one of us touches others. And it’s especially nice for me to see this in my friends because it lets me see them as something other than my friends, but as someone else’s mom, dad, son, daughter, friend, teacher, representative, etc.

- A spring garden. Following an unusually mildly winter (which, over the past 4 or 5 years I have finally learned to be grateful for), my spring garden is up. The crocuses have been up for about a month and now there are more than a dozen daffodils. Today? Two red tulips emerged.

- Connection. More of us need connection. And too often when we find it, we look the other way. We tell ourselves that the person we’ve found it with isn’t the “right” kind of person for some reason, or else it’s “bad timing”. But connection is what meaningful lives are made of. Not money. Not success. Not power. Not some psycho-babble that people use to convince themselves they’re doing the right thing even when they’re not following their hearts. Connection makes life and love worth it all.

CatPaint. (The app). It’s been a while since I’ve used it but I was inspired to again today.

- Parks and Rec. Being sick means that I can’t seem to hold focus enough to read books. But I can watch fun television and movies. Last night I watched an episode of Parks and Rec called “The Banquet” which may be one of my favorites so far.

- Imagination. Though I try to live in the present moment much of the time, imagination and looking forward to things in life have their place too. Right now, being mildly still sick, I am looking forward to tomorrow or Sunday when I hope to eat normally again. And by normally, I mean cookies.

What are you grateful for these days?

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About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.