Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Five: "Surprised by Joy" Edition

This week's RevGalBlogPals Friday Five has a Thanksgiving theme, with a twist: What are five unexpected blessings we can be thankful for?
This is an interesting question for me, because I tend not to be too fond of surprises. I can be wound a little tightly, and sometimes I need to slowly warm up to new experiences. But, sometimes, they're good things. Here are a few.

1. Fellow Traveler. Five years ago I certainly never envisioned myself living in domestic tranquility with the love of my life. This has been a very good surprise.

2. A granddaughter. Ruby was a surprise all around; and both the nine months of this pregnancy and the past year have been jam-packed with baby-related changes in our lives, including her parents' wedding and move across the country; including my first experience taking care of a tiny child.. In two weeks were on our way to SoCal to visit The Kids in their new home; my first trip out West. But it's all good.

3. Chica. Fast-forwarding to this summer: When Gertie died this summer, I was pretty certain that we wouldn't share our lives with another dog. So was Fellow Traveler. Who knew that, two months ago, we'd find a compelling photo of a cute little canine on Petfinder, resolve to save her from the animal-shelter gas chamber, and come home with one of the sweetest dogs we've ever had the privilege of knowing? Chica -- who at this very moment is sitting on the sofa with me, recuperating from her Special Lady-Dog Operation -- is a gem; cuddly, friendly to all, smart and well-behaved.

4. The joy of not working. I have to admit -- when we decided as a household that we could get by fine on one income, I couldn't help the feeling that I was doing something very, very bad, and that the Universe was about to punish me. Chalk that up to a combination of familial work ethic, coming of age at a time when having a serious career was a hallmark of being a liberated, self-empowered woman, and feeling guilt over our many friends and neighbors who find themselves under- or unemployed these days.  Almost immediately I tried to justify this not working by studying for a new job instead; until I got real about my complete lack of interest in spending my days proofreading lines of HTML code. And then I foundered for awhile. It's only recently, maybe even in the past couple months, that I've been able to feel truly okay about a life that alternates domesticity with volunteerism. Will this be my status forever? Probably not. But when I engage the workplace again, it will be as someone whose work life is no longer based on fear and guilt and people-pleasing.

5. Living in mid-Michigan. Until recently I've always felt a dissatisfaction with living in this area; I always saw my future, and then our future, somewhere else -- the Leelanau area of northern Michigan, or perhaps even out East in Fellow Traveler's old stomping grounds. But in the last couple of years we've really planted some roots on this land in this place. While it's not obvious to a casual visitor, and frankly wasn't even obvious to me as a native -- there are real blessings in living here: the woods and waters and wildlife; the Amish community; the slower pace of life. We still travel; still enjoy exploring new places and going back to our favorite getaway areas; but we are thankful whenever, after such a trip, we find ourselves turning into our own driveway once again.


Wendy said...

I've been feeling a bit at a loss about not working and I'm not sure where to go with it. Thanks for sharing.

Diane M. Roth said...

I love your list. Glad you and Chica found each other (and you and Fellow Traveler, for that matter).