Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Combatting Loneliness with Gratitude

The Fourth of July 2016 fell on our 11 month anniversary of moving to Denmark. Back home, we would've been celebrating the holiday with family and friends, enjoying the warm weather swimming in a lake or pool, most likely enjoying a few drinks. Instead, I found myself living vicariously through my US friends from the pictures and posts they put on Facebook. There were no fireworks here to punctuate the quiet of the night; there were no loud parties or buffets of delicious smelling foods. The day was pretty much like any other Danish summer day: a bit chilly, a bit rainy, and a bit windy. With one felt a bit lonely too.

Over the past year, my emotions have run the full gamut. Excitement, elation, nervousness, gratitude, fear, frustration, amazement, pride; but it wasn't until very recently that loneliness started to creep in and overstay its welcome ...

It's funny because whether you live 15 miles or 4000 miles away from someone you can still feel lonely. It's all about being proactive with keeping lines of communication open. In today's day and age, technology makes it much easier to stay in touch, but that same technology can also make you feel lonely, left-out and sad. Hence the Facebook posts that usually made me feel happy and glad to see faces of my friends and family -- instead, today, made me feel sad and lonely.

So, to combat the loneliness I'm feeling right now, I decided to come up with a gratitude list. Instead of focusing on the negatives -- the things I'm missing out on -- I'm choosing to focus on the things that make me feel happy today, July 6, 2016 in Hørsholm, Denmark.

1) my bicycle and my walking shoes: it has been 11 months of not driving a car for me here in DK. Grocery shopping has definitely gotten much more creative :)

2) living on an island - technically Sjæland is an island which means we are surrounded by ocean!! It's 3 miles to the water from our house

3) caprese salads - seriously obsessed right now. I think the fresh basil from my garden helps :)

4) the sound of Ben's laugh.  

5) Pinterest and Instagram - feeding my crochet obsession with an endless supply of new ideas

6) wonderful neighbors and new friends - everyone we've met has been so wonderful and has really made us feel at home

7) Pilates - I've never felt stronger in my life.  I still enjoy my other fitness activities but I've met lots of new friends and learned to do things with my body I never thought possible.

8) unlimited adventures - it sure feels like we've got so much to do around us and that we've barely scratched the surface of all the cool things here -- and that's just in Denmark!  Europe is a whole new adventure!

9)  coffee - nuff said

10) my garden.  I was so excited to get my hands dirty and grow my own food here.  It reminds me of being at home with my garden.  

11) Is (also known as ice cream).  Thank goodness Danes love it as much as I do! Vi spiser kun is på dagen, der ender på 'dag'

12) a wonderful husband who is on the same page as me (most of the time) and loves and supports me

13) loving and supporting parents who choose to have an active and present role in our life not only by checking in with us regularly but also by making time to visit us.  They really are a treasure and I'm so thankful for them. 

14) my friends back home: I have truly been blessed with a wonderful group of friends that I've known for over 20 years.  We've seen each other through many firsts in our lives -- both happy and sad.  While being far apart from them makes my loneliness even more apparent, I am so grateful that I have them constantly reaching out to me.  It's almost as if they know or can read my mind at times.  I don't know what I would do without these friends -- you know who you are!  XOXO

Well look at that!  Without even having to think too hard I have found so many things in my life to be grateful for.  This was definitely a worthwhile exercise for me to help combat my sadness today.  How about you?  Could you use some gratitude in your life right now?  Try making your own list!  You don't have to make it public like mine, but if you want to share some of your thankfulness here in the comments I'd love to read it! ❤️❤️