Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar at work on positivity. Though I’m usually pretty cynical about things like that, this one was actually pretty good. One of the things the facilitator had each of us do was write down a list of ten good things that had happened to us in the past year or so.
He then talked about how we all tend to focus too much on the negative things that happen in our lives when, in reality, there is always so much positive stuff happening to us if we only look around and notice it.
Last week wasn’t the best week of my life and it would have been really easy to let the external events that transpired rob me of my positive mojo, but somehow (in large part thanks to this seminar and me taking the time to write down a list of ten positive things in my life) I managed to finish what was a pretty difficult week in pretty good stride.
Below is my list of ten positive things from the last year of my life:
1. I celebrated 8 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart. I don’t know the exact number but the percentage of marriages that end in divorce in the first 7 years is staggering. Having survived the 7 year itch and made it to 8 doesn’t mean we get to give up and stop trying, but it’s certainly something worth celebrating.
2. My wife and I found out she was pregnant with our first child. Our little girl is due in less than a month. I’m pretty ecstatic about this.
3. We were blessed to be able to take vacations to Destin and New York City. We love the beach and the big city. Does it get any better than those two locales? I think not.
4. I took on a new responsibility at work overseeing our fundraising phonathon AND I LOVE IT. Getting to work with, train, and mentor college students as we try to raise money for the university is a lot of fun. Not only does it keep me feeling young, but it also makes me feel old… in a good way. I love the dichotomy.
5. Watching the college ministry at our church blossom from nothing into a really good group of committed, Godly, young people. This time last year, I helped start a college ministry at church. Our first Sunday morning, the group consisted of 2 students and 4 adults. It’s not about numbers, but in less than 12 months, it’s gone from 2 students to between 20 and 40. I’m excited to see what’s in store for us this year.
6. Participating in a mission trip to an orphanage in Mexico in March. I’ve been meaning to write about this experience for a long time, and yet, in many ways it’s still indescribable.
7. New friends. I’ve made a lot of new friends this last year and I’m thankful for them all. Some of them are younger than me, some are older, and some are my peers. All of them encourage me to be a better person in some small way and so that’s been a real blessing.
8. It snowed on Christmas. Sure, my car got stuck in a snow drift as we traveled from one family gathering to the next forcing my wife and I to get out and walk about a quarter mile in snow drifts up to our waste. Sure, we ended up being snowed in at home on Christmas eve with nothing but frozen pizza and sparkling grape juice for our Christmas dinner. And yet, even at 28 years of age, there’s still just something magical about a white Christmas.
9. The lovely and talented wife got her Marriage and Family Therapy license and started her own counseling practice. She’s been working toward this goal for the last 5 years and it’s been really exciting to watch everything finally start to fall into place.
10. I was accepted to and started a doctoral program in the field of Education Leadership and Policy Studies. I work in Higher Education and the saying goes, “If you want to work in Higher Education, they value Higher Education.” I have a long way to go before I finish this degree but it’s something I’ve wanted and needed to do for a long time and it feels really good to have taken the first step.
In many ways, writing a list like this is a really personal experience and so sharing it feels a bit strange and awkward. However, I hope by reading my list, you will be challenged to come up with your own. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: life can be a grind sometimes and it’s easy to focus too much on the negative. Writing down a list like this forced me to see that despite all the challenges the last year brought my way, I’ve still had a lot of positive experiences.
What are 10 good things that happened to you in the last year?