Writing a good life 1


This morning I have started, as I do, writing in my personal journal with the date and the beginning of a sentence, “I am grateful for …” Most mornings I do this. I wish I could say I did it every morning, but I don’t always take the time for it. I can notice the difference in my appreciation of my life when I have not done it for a couple of days.


I don’t always know what I will be writing what I am grateful for. I have to think back to the day before and even remind myself of the path of events that my life took. I think my day before, of how, “I had coffee at the café, I picked up my mail from the post office, I went to Claire’s.” And I remind myself that the coffee was delicious and I had a gluten and lactose free fruit-and-grain bar to go with it, that the mail brought good news about my association and being with Claire to discuss a serious subject was a wonderful time of complicity with another woman. After lunch, I walked down to the Pont de la Machine in the sun, looking for activities to do on Friday with the lovely Zoé who is coming to spend the day with me. I stopped off at a shop that sells calligraphy materials and stocked up on colored inks and stiff white paper. While I was there, I received a call from someone who is helping me with my work.


Am I lucky to live such a good life? The aim of my journal is to remind myself that I do live a good life, that in spite of all the things that seem to go badly in the world on a global level, in politics and in the economy, that there are small things and not-so-small things that bring joy and happiness to my life. I am lucky in that I can notice these things. I am fortunate in that I have to come to understand that noticing these things develops my life more richly, and that I live a rich life.


This writing helps me cope with some of the major events in my life over the past three years, that have been difficult and painful. Separating from my husband after 23 years together, my mother falling seriously ill and being close to death, and my daughter deciding that she wants to take distance from me. My roles of wife, daughter and mother are no longer what they were. The challenge of how to go on looms and it is in the detail of my life that gratitude and, therefore, hope ventures forth, like a green shoot budding on a branch in the springtime.


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