I’m finding the gratitude in this Sunday’s pancakes. The fact that they are homemade, all natural, and organic. The fact that Josh flips them on a cast iron pan found in an old friend’s farmhouse in Maine after the kitchen had sunken in and before it burned completely. The fact that the syrup topping them is pure Maine maple and a gift from my Mountain Dad that always seems to keep coming. The fact that although they contain gluten and gluten doesn’t sit right with my body, I’m headed out to hit the trails on my mountain bike and will digest them just fine. And the fact that as I eat these pancakes, my beloved dog Mikaya in her arthritic state of 8 years old is lying placidly at my feet after an evening of trail running as I write.
It seemed a much simpler task 3 years ago. 3 years ago I entered a medical situation that would lead to a more complicated situations a year later. 2 years ago I broke my foot and for the next 6 months, I literally and figuratively could not figure out how to get back on my feet. Between broken feet, cervical cancer, my dog being hit by a car, and other straining life situations that made my story seem like a Willy Nelson song, I just couldn’t get ahead. Until I figured to change it all and moved to those fabled greener pasturers.
And greener they are.
Many times lately I find myself smiling, thinking “I am living the life.” I’m completing a graduate degree without having to work another job. I’m living in a warm, loving home where meals are more than just a lean cuisine at night, dogs lay lazily at our feet, and the tunes of bluegrass and Bob Marley always seem to emanate from some room in the home. I ride my bike incessantly on trails blazed with sunlight and very few other people and to and from work, the story, and happy hour. I run miles upon miles each week because I can.
In the last year and half or so I have learned to slow down. I’ve learned to cook from scratch, question what comes in a can, sleep more, and simply just be. It took me 28 years, but I finally learned to just be. To balance, to love, to enjoy.
How is that life can be so splendid, yet we miss the humble moments that we need to remind us of we are and what we have? As a former high school teacher and coach, a day never went by that I would sit at night with a glass of wine and stack of papers to grade thinking about moments in my day with students, parents, and families, and compare myself, thinking I am so lucky.
For now, I don’t need those moments of comparison. I am simply just lucky. But, it doesn’t mean that I miss those humanistic experiences that put us in connection with one another. That reach deep into our souls and connect us with one another.
As I reach another soul searching time in life when graduate school ends and having to find a job and decide on careers begin, these are things that I think about. Jobs versus careers. People versus cubicles, desks, and computers. What is that I truly want where I am going? How will I find a line of work and job that will not sacrifice this beautiful lifestyle that I have created in the last year and a half? A job that integrates my intellectual heights with my human insight?
A job that lets me hold to this beautiful life of mountains, 4 seasons with snow, skiing, bikes, running, cooking, sunsets, good beer, good friends, and fluffy dogs.