A little more Atlanta, A little less Boston.

57328e8d7c94e4dd049a37e319a88d18

The start of October and Atlanta is refusing to let the leaves change color. Green treetops make it look the same as months past in Georgia; but it feels different. Change is coming. Humidity is gone.

This is certainly my favorite time of year. It seems that everything puts on its best color–a fanfare of what the past year has held.

But as I look at this picture; “things will change.” I’m left thinking less about peak weekends and more about my everyday week.

Never in my life have I felt adulthood so freely and so heavily at the same time. While moving to Atlanta was one of the less-stressful gigantic life changes I’ve made; in the past six months I’ve found myself kind of avoiding embracing the change — and embracing new life — and instead living in constant memories and pinings of New England.

Kind of crazy. But, when you have an adventure that vivid and colorful — not even your childhood dream job can necessarily distract you from missing parts of that risk-taking lifestyle.

That time was magical and I am having a terribly hard time letting it go. Constant prattling about Massachusetts with new Atlanta acquaintances. The ever-frequent #latergram of past wandering Boston Saturdays.

I know, it’s annoying.

My fixation on Boston has been avoiding the reality that:

Things have changed.

+++

Since my move back to the South I’ve been brushed with some unsettling differences. The fact that, old friends are seemingly much harder to stay connected with — and new friends are hard to make when you work odd hours.

Living in a memory is sometimes easier than jumping into the new.

Steve Jobs (yeah, I’m going to go there — it’s a good thought he had) once talked about how it’s impossible to connect the dots moving forward. You only can backward. That’s the only way to make sense of change, how you end up where, what opportunities present themselves — and for what reason. You can only do that in retrospect.

When you think of the future — and even the now — you have to trust the dots moving forward. You have to just go. Follow your heart and your passion. But you’re not always going to know exactly what comes next or when.

I think that’s part of why it’s easier for us to live in that last ride, sometimes. You know it was a good one. And the current path you’re on is still undeveloped. It’s in the process.

You focus on what you know was good.

+++

This is the first time in my life that I’ve really forged a new chapter 100 percent alone.

And some days that is lonely.

While I spend moments and days, fantasizing about weekends and explorations gone by up North — what I miss is the feeling of risk taking and adventure.

I have neglected to realize that my current situation requires just as much bravery.

This is ever-so-much another challenge–it’s just different. Where Boston had history to see; Atlanta has culture. Where Boston had me quitting a job; Atlanta has me embarking on a whole new career. Where Boston thrust me into new lifelong friendships; Atlanta is encouraging a patience to grow something similar.

+++

Things have changed.

And things will continue to change.

The way to gathering the full happiness from it though is not to shirk in the shadows — but to embrace it fully and even mess it up a little.

Just because I’m in Atlanta doesn’t mean that Boston has to go away.

I just need to find that girl that moved into Kent Street and have her take charge here in Brookhaven.

+++

Life is beautiful to the core right now.

And I can’t miss it because I’m still thinking about the leaves from last fall.

Advertisements

Why you need to keep a gratitude list.

I like to think that I’m a pretty thankful person on any given day without thinking about it in too much detail.

For the most part I like to think that I take my family and friends, job, apartment, and money to heart.

There are lots of moments that I feel a notable heart surge of thanks when something nice happens.

But, note, “I like to think” a lot of these things. I’m not 100 percent sure though that I consistently meditate on how great they really are.

We’re all busy. On lots of days it’s all you can do to work, cook all of your meals, squeeze in a work out and find time to chat with loved ones. Nevertheless have a moment to sit around in conscious thought about how great life is.

There is a need, though.

Life can be even better if we take some extra time once a week for ourselves. We’re always wanting that quiet 15 minutes, and when you steal it—jotting down your gratitude list can make the other minutes of your week a little more colorful.

I think you’ll find that the reflection on gratitude will affect every aspect of your life and those you share it with.

1. Conscious gratitude results in deeper gratitude.

When you stop to really think about how many and what kinds of good things are happening in your life; the good seems a lot bigger. It’s easy to think “of course, I’m healthy.”

Well, that takes the feel-good out of a blessing.

At times where things go wrong — I think that half of the sadness in the situation is knowing that we didn’t appreciate it when it was going GOOD. We need to fully live in our gratitudes and soak out every last drop.

I am healthy today and that isn’t something that I was promised. It’s not something that will necessarily always be true. I have the strength to go run four miles if I want and I don’t have to stress out about any doctor appointments like some people. I really need to be thankful in that. And also maybe get my butt out from behind my desk and go run.

Nodding your way through life diminishes some of the most important parts.

2. When we keep track of the numerous blessings in our life; the need to bless others is un-ignorable.

The good things we have are privileges to some degree, right?

And with privilege comes a kind of responsibility, right?

By consciously realizing what we have–we can appreciate the need to share the good with others.

On those days we passively feel thankful for what we have it’s easy to feel like all of those things are deserved:

  1. good health
  2. family who supports us
  3. friends who follow through on plans
  4. a stable job and income
  5. work that we feel like matters
  6. a safe home
  7. freedom to practice whatever faith we want
  8. physical ability to go take on that killer work out
  9. opportunities to grow
  10. mentors who care what you can accomplish

And those are just 10 things.

My guess is that at some point in time you haven’t had one or more of those. And in that moment, YOU needed a blessing.

I think by keeping a gratitude list we can reflect on what we’re being given and be thankful. And even more we can see the opportunity to bless other people.

When you’re thankful your friends follow through on plans — it makes you want to be a friend who does the same, am I right?

It makes you realize how important calling your grandparents can be.

And it could give you that kick to respond to a new grad’s email about helping them with the job search.

3. Keeping a gratitude list can change YOUR day.

It’s Monday and a small hiccup in your schedule happens sending some plans into disarray.

Cue “over-reashley.” (Ain’t that a cute nickname? Real love you guys.) I tend to overreact about small things and turn them into GIANT problems. #TheWorldIsEnding.

When you have the perspective of what you HAVE. What is good. What matters. You’re not going to be sweating the slow line at Publix or co-worker who doesn’t understand work process.

By reflecting regularly on a gratitude list — your gratitude WILL affect your attitude.

All of those opportunities at your feet? Maybe by realizing how special they are you’ll start being more proactive about exploring them.

So, what am I doing about it?

I’m going to work on meditating once a week on my blessings. Yes, a perfect opportunity for a beautiful handwritten list.

And then I’ll focus on finding motivation to share in at least one way with others. Sometimes maybe I’ll post about it — but I’ll always try to keep a physical list.

While life is not perfect and there are definite improvement areas; I think my perspective can be even better right this second if I take a little bit more time to breathe in through my nose…close my eyes…smile…and know in how many ways I’m taken care of.

When you figure that part out; you can’t help but share it.

Spoiler alert: My gratitude list is going to be directly relevant to a >>>> prayer list. Which is something I’ll be writing on Sunday. (PS: If you like lists, let’s be best friends.)

Today’s gratitude: The opportunity to pick up an extra shift at work this weekend to help ease some financial stresses.

Today’s pay it forward: Since I’ll have a little extra money, it’s probably a good idea to chip into that co-workers present pool to show how much I really appreciate working with them.

xx.