Four years ago, I had a near death experience. I was in the Dominican Republic on vacation. It was an all-inclusive resort and was absolutely beautiful. The buildings were pristine white, the grounds lush green with bright pink and purple exotic flowers and foliage. The beach was beautiful. The ocean was clear blue and was breathtaking. On one particular day, my husband and I decided to take a catamaran rum trip (emphasis on the word rum). All you could drink, snorkeling, dancing and dinner upon return. We enjoyed our day, definitely enjoyed the rum and the merriment. All day in the sun and nothing to drink but rum punch. The next morning upon awakening, I stumbled to the bathroom feeling very ill. When I looked in the mirror, my face had swollen and my eyes were almost swollen shut. I had a raging headache, the worse I've even had, and was very cold. It was somewhat difficult to breathe. We got dressed and rushed downstairs to see about finding a doctor, as I thought I was having an allergic reaction. We were told where the nearest hospital was, and were placed in a cab. As soon as we pulled out of the driveway and the beautiful resort was in the rearview mirror, we were reminded that we were in a third world country. The cab driver didn't speak English. During the ride to the hospital I went into anaphylactic shock and my husband had to perform CPR to get me to breathe. We arrived at the hospital and I was immediately rushed to the Emergency Room. I awoke in ICU. I spent four days there. Four days in a very rustic hospital in an ICU where no one spoke English, there was no TV and the bed was child's size. In short, hell. Turns out I had an allergic reaction to an unknown source, was severely dehydrated and was very sick. I almost died. However, after four days of said hell, I made a full recovery. After leaving the hospital, I was determined not to take anything for granted ever again. I was happy to return home to the US.
As the years pass, I sometimes forget this experience. I forget how precious life is. I forget how very short our journey is. I was reminded of it today.
This morning when I woke up, I wasn't really thinking about gratitude. I had a lot on my mind....a lot of good, some sad, some worrisome. Typical day actually for me. There are some things in my life that are not going the way I would like. That's frustrating. There are other things in my life that are wonderful and going well. I made the decision to focus on the positive.
I've been told that writing a gratitude list is a good way to put myself into a positive mindset. So I did so. I wrote down all that I am grateful for today, and I had a very long list.
Today I am changing the phrase "I have to...." to "I GET to". I am in gratitude.
Today I get to do laundry. Today I get to ride my bike. Today I get to train for a half Ironman. Today I get to write. Today I get to submit an article to my new boss, ahead of deadline, that I will be paid for. Today I get to watch my son play football, today I get to hand my teenage daughter a fist full of dollars to go to the mall. Today I am grateful for people I love, for clean water to drink, a sky that is blue, my family (including Frank the dog), and for happiness.
I have choices today. I can choose to be happy or I can choose the alternative. I am going with the happiness option!
The power of gratitude is freaking amazing! Try it! And my wisdom for the day....don't take a single second for granted. Don't take people in your life who matter to you for granted. Because what we take for granted today might not be there tomorrow.