Today's guest is a brilliantly funny and insightful author friend who has the sort of attitude toward life I am always seeking and falling short of. Seriously. As you'll read below, she has the capacity to be thankful for dental pain. Yes, you read that correctly. DENTAL PAIN. GRATEFUL FOR. Maybe she'll inspire you to make a daily gratitude list of your own. (You'll probably also want to read her delightful novel, Life After Coffee.)
Virginia Franken was born and raised in the United Kingdom. She currently lives in suburban Los Angeles with two kids, a dog, an overweight goldfish, and one bearded dude, in a house that’s just a little too small to fit everyone in comfortably. She gets most of her writing done when she should be sleeping. Life After Coffee is her first novel.
I found planet earth a bit of a difficult place to be last year so to pep 2017 up a little, I thought I’d try and turn my perception around by writing about some of the things that WERE working out.
So in 2017 I’m writing down ten things every day that I’m grateful for.
Here are today’s TEN:
1. Dental pain. That’s right, I’m grateful for the dental pain I’m currently experiencing. I had braces fitted a few months ago and they are THE WORST. According to my dentist, my crappy British teeth are all misaligned and sunken in like an old horse so unless I wanted to be sucking on grey gruel at the age of 57, braces are needed. They’ve been on for months and nothing’s happened. My teeth appear to have roots of cement. However, she recently put a bunch of springs in there, like I’m some kind of defective clock, but now those suckers are shifting…. Finally. Hence the pain. And hence the gratitude. More pain = fixed teeth.
2. Change. I’m grateful for change. Most people hate change as is the way of the human, but I like it. Change can be rough (see 2016) but it can also be transformative – which of course is all kind of tied up the in the word CHANGE. In the 1900s teenaged girls were dying after getting burned in cotton factories with no fire escapes and crap, but now they have iPhones and medication to help them with their acne. The world today always seems like it’s a bit useless. But really, stuff is changing and mostly for the better.
3. I wore a black bra to work under a pale pink shirt today. I didn’t realize this would be an issue until I saw it in the mirror in the bathrooms. And why is this on the gratitude list? Because I realized I didn’t care… Because I’m almost 40 and I don’t care if people are judging me for a poor choice of dark-colored bra. I just don’t.
4. I’ve been watching with a kind of sad caution recently as my eight-year-old turns from child to tween before my very eyes. It’s cool but also (like every parent on the planet) I wonder where the time went, and most of all I wonder if I spent it in the right way. Again, like many parents I work full-time and I often feel like I missed a good chunk of my eldest’s childhood. I’ve been off and on glum recently that I’ve missed it. It’s gone. And I was too busy working for the man to really dive in appreciate it. However, this weekend at the play place filled with toddlers and train sets and stickle bricks and princess costumes he played like a toddler too. Except minus the black tantrums he used to throw when he was three. All in all, it’s all good. He’s still a little boy. Even though he’s a big little boy.
5. The pizza guy rang the door bell this evening and the explosion of activity that went off in the house at the sound of the doorbell actually seemed hilarious instead of highly stressful like normal. The dog yapping, eldest child yapping too, the youngest screaming “POLICE!”. Instead of alarmed, I could see it how the pizza guy must see it and I was mildly amused.
6. I dyed my own hair today and managed to cover the grey without ending up looking like a tabby cat in mourning. My sister is a color technician at a fancy hair salon in London so the fact that I’m coloring my own hair is a straight up betrayal of blood. However. It worked out fine. Birds did not fall from the trees. I was not struck down by the angry zap of the hair goddess straighteners in the sky. It was fine. I covered the grey and it looked ok and cost about 1/8 of the price of the salon situation. Just sayin’…
7. Steam-free mirrors. I don’t have steam-free mirrors and every morning when I have to wipe a little hole within the steam cloud to put on my makeup I think, hmph. However. I know that some people in this fine world do have steam-free mirrors (I’ve been told this happens in hotels in Japan) and for them I’m grateful for the saved convenience. Also my great grandchildren will probably have steam-free mirrors as a matter of course so I’m grateful on their behalf too.
8. It’s been cold. I love a bit of cold. Chilly at night, putting on an extra blanket, snuggling between icy sheets wearing long sleeve pajamas. And the reasons I love the cold so much are A. It makes me nostalgic for my English boarding school childhood where we would wake up with ice on the inside of the windows, Jane Eyre style - I’m not kidding - and B. It’s such a blessed contrast to the roaring heat of the summer that attacks the valleys of Los Angeles at the first hint of the June. Yay global warming (not not not not not.)
9. Eldest child is hot on the case for me to buy him seaweed. He traded some at school for a pack of Fritos and now he’s mad for the green stuff. I love that my eight-year-old is even aware that seaweed can be eaten. I lived on an English diet of boiled potatoes and chicken till I was about 18 and I didn’t even eat an avocado till I was about 28. Progress people. The human race is progressing.
10. Us LA folks get very excited about rain and it’s been raining a lot here recently. I should really live in Seattle or really anywhere other than LA as too much sun makes me miserable and itchy. But anyway – today the clouds were sitting halfway down the mountain like a bunch of smug cotton balls and I swear it was like Buddha had farted and wrapped it up in a puff of smoke and stuck it on the hillside. The whole thing was transcendent.
What everyday transcendent experience did you have today?
Want to hang out more with Virginia? You can find her here: