50 Happy Things For 2016

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50 things I’m grateful for

This was a tough year to come up with a list that didn’t feel forced. My gratitude is there, don’t get me wrong. But I am burdened with a discomfort that comes from an unsettled future for our country. I won’t apologize for feeling this way – I have been a student of history and international relations too long to not see patterns that are troubling. We are headed into uncharted territory and it has left me worried.

The things I hold most dear can’t be taken for granted.  I mentioned them briefly last year, but this year, I wanted to look at those rights more clearly. What is at stake? I started thinking about Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – key tenets from our declaration of independence 240 years ago.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

And liberty is a key element – without the rights outlined in the Constitution, much of what I take for granted could disappear, or require extreme effort to accomplish. I want to hold these close and protect them – for me, for my family, for all Americans. It’s part of our obligation to the future.

Once I framed the list in light of those three things, it became much easier to write my list. And it’s a list I plan to print out and read often. We all need to be reminded of what’s at stake.

A big thanks to Dawn Quyle Landau for the reminders to do this. I need to be slapped around a bit, but she got me there.

Instructions, if you’d like to participate are:

Set a timer for 15 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that make you happy, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; just write what comes to mind in the time allotted. You may find that if you use numbered mode, and just type what comes to mind, like me you will have enough time for more than 50. When the timer’s done, stop writing. Finish whatever sentence you’re on, but don’t add more. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things great; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! Add the photos, links, instructions, etc after you finish the list––the timer doesn’t matter for getting these details down; it applies to the list only.  Be sure to link back to this post, so that others can find the instructions and join in to.

Life:

  1. The gift of life from my parents
  2. The life I gave to each of my 3 children
  3. The joy of watching them grow into wonderful human beings
  4. The ability to help others who need help, the vulnerable, the needy, those hurting or fragile as a result of life’s misfortunes
  5. Waking up and knowing the day is ahead and I have choices
  6. My heart, the engine that keeps my body moving
  7. My heart, the emotional center of my life, keeping me aligned to my sense of purpose
  8. My body, for getting me around every day and working better than it used to
  9. My health, while not perfect, being manageable and allowing me to live my life, not simply endure it
  10. The wisdom that comes with losing loved ones, the resiliency that brings, along with the humility to empathize with others
  11. For all the humans who have shaped me along my journey – my family, my friends, my husbands – each have left an imprint on my soul
  12. For the family I’ve created along the way – those people who are a part of my life and history
  13. For my memories – for holding them dear and using them as a part of my moral compass as the future unfolds
  14. For becoming more compassionate with age and knowing how much each of us carry with us as we go through life

Liberty:

  1. Freedom of speech – the ability to put my thoughts, opinions, and ideas out into the world without fear of reprisal
  2. Freedom of religious affiliation – or none at all
  3. A free press which can report, investigate, and evaluate what is happening in our country and the world
  4. Freedom to protest and assemble in public without fear of violence; to be an activist
  5. The ability to petition the government for redress of wrongs as appropriate
  6. A military that is led by level-headed people, not thin skinned reactionaries
  7. Freedom to choose my life’s path
  8. The right to live in my home safely, providing shelter for my family
  9. Protection from unlawful search and seizure
  10. Legal protection from bearing witness against myself
  11. The protection of my life, liberty, and property without due process of the law
  12. No imprisonment without formal indictment
  13. The right to a speedy and public trial
  14. The use of a fair and impartial jury
  15. The right to know who has accused me of wrong
  16. The right to know what I’ve been accused of
  17. The right to counsel
  18. Freedom from cruel and unusual punishment
  19. Bail set that is reasonable
  20. Respecting that my rights only extend to the point in which they infringe on another’s
  21. A state government that is solid and respectful of our diverse population
  22. Abolishment of slavery
  23. The right to vote as a citizen, born or naturalized, for the candidate or issue of my choosing
  24. Strong representatives in the Senate and Congress representing my state
  25. Equal rights without bias by gender

Pursuit of Happiness:

  1. The messy, chaotic, warm love that comes from the animals in my life
  2. Travel – seeing the world, being in places I’d only dreamed of being
  3. Reading – this is my daily vice; I can’t imagine a world without books to read
  4. Coffee…it is a daily pleasure
  5. Chocolate…no longer daily, but still something to savor
  6. Creating things – food, art, a garden – these are the small creations that make life a joy
  7. Writing stories, thoughts, ideas and making them available to the world
  8. Seeing the sunrise or sunset and being reminded that beauty is everywhere
  9. Continuing to learn and stretch my mind
  10. For believing that miracles can happen and that sometimes the impossible can be achieved
  11. For learning when to say enough; for knowing when to keep trying

4 thoughts on “50 Happy Things For 2016

  1. Oh Erin, this is brilliant! I was pussy-footing around the obvious. I am grateful for much, and happy, but yes… unsettled and shaken right now. I know several folks who just couldn’t participate this year, because of that. I am so happy that you took this list and made it a statement and observation of important things, we should all remember. SO glad you took my challenge and joined in. I could ditto your entire list– all of liberty must be remembered most at this time! Thanks for sharing and reminding me of such important points, that I chose to put aside (to a point) to make my list. Brava!! Happy New Year! xo

  2. Pingback: 50 Happy Things 2016: Bloggers Unite to Flood the Internet With Gratitude | TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND

  3. That’s a lot to come up with in 15 minutes. Great list. And on no. 44, 100g of 70%+ chocolate has health benefits – it’s full of flavonoids and should be taken daily 🙂

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