How to be Happy and grateful- my reverse bucket list
You know me, despite any challenges I’m facing, I always want to be happy and positive. How can you be happy and positive when you’ve had to face difficulties like the death of a child, the break-up of a marriage or long-term relationship, job loss, failing health, physical and mental abuse, ungrateful friends, workplace discomforts, depression, financial trauma and children who are unruly and disobedient. Whew! Not all of that has happened to me, by the way (thankfully). But the point is, we all go through a lot of difficulties in life. One way to make yourself happy is to be thankful for all that you’ve got, including friends, experiences, health etc.
So I will share with you what is known as a reverse bucket list. These are things that I have already experienced that I am grateful for. Maybe you should reminisce about your reverse bucket list too. Then together we will experience some happiness through expressing gratitude.
I absolutely loved travelling (although I must say that with what’s happening in the world today, I’ve cut down on air travel) and I’ve had many opportunities to travel to various places which I really loved. Here are some of my favourite places, not in any particular order.
My initial experience with Sweden came after I had arranged a partnership activity between my school and two others in Sweden. We exchanged several phone calls, Skype links, letters, emails and visits. I found the Swedes easy to deal with, patient, friendly and businesslike.
When we visited Sweden we found some lovely views that make you go “oooh, aaah!”. I quickly found out that the Swedes were quite fit, physically and I had to keep up. I’ll admit, I didn’t do well. I even noticed that during games, break or Physical Education lessons, the girls were just as involved as the boys, even with football(soccer)! I often laugh at myself when I look back at all the pics I have of me on some long hiking trails panting for breath while the Swedish teachers and their students skipped along joyously.
Oh, my favourite Swedish word is smorgasbord! Try saying that word out loud! It’s like smiling. Don’t know what that means? Look it up! And if you would like to visit Sweden I would recommend Satilla, Vasascolan and Gothenburg.
I am grateful to have travelled by air to a number of other places including Florida, New York, Connecticut, Wales, Poland, Spain, Sweden and France. I have enjoyed the different experiences of sharing culture through songs, dance, drama and food. Lots of my friends are people I met through these liaisons.
I also lived in beautiful Jamaica, and Grand Turk (in the Turks and Caicos Islands).
I am a person who enjoys long rides with scenic views to almost anywhere, as long as I’m not driving. It really is one of my pleasures in life and travel is one of the things that make me happy. Read about me and my problem with driving in this post.
My life as a teacher is such a routine, that I look forward to school holidays. This usually gives me a chance to be free to do whatever I want with my friends and family. Some people with kids may think we get too much time off, not remembering that every day we go home with books and piles of other paperwork to do! We honestly don’t have it as easy as you may think! So what is my favourite thing to do when it’s not school time? Well, what would you do? I do whatever I want to do including travel (wink), read, blog, iron (boring I know), sew, visit the sick and or elderly, shopping or visiting the city centre. I also love to just be; spending time in my own company, and I find it’s not such a bad thing. I also use my holiday time to catch up with friends I haven’t spoken to sometimes in years! I look forward to that because it helps me to reconnect with God and keep up with what other people and their kids are getting up to. Then when I show pics they always end up saying “you still look exactly the same, you haven’t changed one bit”. Then you know I have to return the compliment. And usually it’s true, mind you. But having some me time during holidays make me so grateful.
I love being known as an expat! It’s short for expatriate. As long as it’s said in a polite, friendly way, I’m okay. I know it’s not always said this way. But anyway, I love the chance to pick up my things and just move to a totally new part of the world. Have you ever experienced that? One day ou should. Just be brave and do it! You will be so grateful for the new scene, outlook and experiences.
I remember the culture shock I got when I first moved one August to the beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands. I had not heard much about this country. So FYI it’s a tiny set of islands that is a British overseas territory. It’s quite near to the Bahamas and Haiti. The capital is Grand Turk where I lived but the biggest and more popular island is Providenciales, also known as Provo. I had been on holiday in Florida when my sister called to tell me that there was a vacancy for a teacher there and could I go! Sure I was nervous about the unknown but I was also excited about the possibilities. The culture was different: the island was small, allowing you to walk from one end of the island to the next in less than an hour, it was very quiet, virtually crime free, laid back and peaceful. I explored new foods like grits and peas and rice, but I also heard of others that I didn’t try like conch fritters and shark etc. At first, the accent of the people really got me in stitches! For the first few months, I found myself doing a lot of smiling and nodding, as I didn’t get much of the conversations happening around me. I enjoyed church there too and the kids were just amazing and inspirational. I’ve made a few lasting links and friendships with people I’ve met there. This overseas stint will always have a special place in my heart as my son was actually born there. Although I did experience some life-changing difficulties there, I am actually grateful and happy that I had the experience.
My next expatriate experience is happening now, live and in living colour! I moved to live in England 12 years ago. And although many things are not ideal, namely, the weather, I’ve come to appreciate moving here. This change has helped me to broaden my experience as a teacher and put me in geographically closer (and therefore cheaper) proximity to the countries I’ve been able to visit.
I’ve always said that my next stint will be Australia or Japan, so watch this space.
Okay, I’m fat, but that’s not the point. I love walking for a number of reasons: to be out in nature, for the physical activity, for a breath of fresh air, for the effect on my skin, to compose my thoughts and make decisions and to just relax. We often take this ability for granted but recently I’ve been thinking…what if I couldn’t walk? This thought stared me in the face recently when I did some training for dealing with students with different disabilities and special needs! My eyes were opened! We had to take turns pushing each other around in a wheelchair. I literally screamed when I was being pulled backwards down a ramp! You should have heard me when it was time to pull me down one single step!
Have you ever thought how you would cope if you weren’t able to walk? Be grateful and happy that you can.
I like the exhilarating feeling after a brisk walk, especially if I’ve had the chance to do some sorting through in my brain (good for your mental health).
How about you? What would you put on your bucket list? What are you actually happy and grateful for? And I don’t mean material possessions! I mean things that are intangible that you’ve had or experienced or been able to do. If, like me, you are happy for things like friends, holidays, your job etc, drop me a few lines in the comment box below
Don’t forget to check out a related post I did on things that make me smile. That’s going to make you smile too. Let’s embrace life for all its coming possibilities but also be thankful for all that we have been able to experience.