Early morning sun in Toa Payoh
I subscribe to this site called Daily Page, which gives you a writing prompt — basically a topic that you could write about for the day. In theory, the prompts are is supposed to help make you a better writer by compelling you to write everyday. Of course, I say “in theory” because you actually have to do the writing yourself — bummer, right? So how have I done so far in the site? Miserably, if truth be told. I had written a bunch of stuff when I was new to the site, but the discipline tapered off, for various reasons. So for the past few months I have been ignoring the emails that have come from the site, until today.
I was struck by the topic for today: Name three things you are grateful for. It seems like such an easy subject to write about. Until I finally sat down to write and nothing came out. It’s not that I don’t have a lot of things to be grateful for. The problem is choosing from among the many.
Or, to be honest about it, choosing to focus on the good things instead of wallowing in the muck of bad stuff. It’s hard not to focus on the unfortunate things. The last half of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016 have been a bust for me. I lost my job and the one that I found this year turned out to be a disaster. When I lost my job last year, I wasn’t at all worried; I was confident that I would find another one quickly. It’s been that way for most of my working life. Things just sort of fell into place for me. I was rarely out of a job for more than a few weeks, and would be smugly puzzled by other people’s inability to snag a viable post right away. Fast forward several months, and who’s smug now? Not I, that’s for sure. While friends and family have gone ahead and done Stuff — published a book, gotten great jobs elsewhere, raised/are raising cool kids — I seem to be stuck in a rut. Don’t get me wrong, I love that the people I love are going places and doing cool things, I just wish that I was along for the ride too. I guess I didn’t realize how much the loss of my job, something that defined me, would be such a blow to my self-worth. This isn’t an exercise in self-pity, far from it. I do know how lucky I am, in the grand scheme of things. I guess what I am trying to say is that setbacks do make it harder to focus on the good things, even though it’s more important than ever to shine a light on the positive.
So, what three things am I grateful for today?
- A thriving family. Almost everyday, I check up on the family via Facebook. I love that the older nephews are doing the things they love, the younger kids are fun and funny. My brothers and their wives are all doing well. And that my mom is as fun and fab as ever. Over in the other side of the world, I love that D’s parents are doing well and look forward to his dad’s bullet-point emails complete with photos of the lovely flowers and plants growing in the garden, sacks of compost and the latest in gardening gadgets.
- A peaceful day. I’m all alone in the apartment, typing this with a picturesque view not many get to see everyday. I’ve just had lunch and it’s looking like it’s going to be a good day. For the past month or so, I haven’t had a peaceful day — one that wasn’t filled with stress and worry (about finding a job, paying my bills, etc) — and having one today feels like a blessing. I know it’s a respite, but I welcome it nevertheless.
- 3. D. An old part of cool girl Terrie who eschewed mushiness wouldn’t have even put this last in here. But I recognize that I am indeed a lucky woman for having someone who actually understands and is supportive of me, even if he’s probably thinking by now that being in publishing is bollocks and I should try something else… like, I don’t know, sell insurance maybe, haha! But he’s been a rock these past few months. I read somewhere that one of the reasons successful writers end up being successful (aside from the talent and the perseverance to succeed aspects of it), is the fact that they had supportive partners they can depend on. That’s my D.
Actual view from my desk. It’s a little dramatic right now, what with the coming rain, but see the light in the upper right? That’s where the sun will eventually shine
So that’s my little list. What are you grateful for today?