They’ve started serving Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks. Is it just me, or does it feel a little too early for summer to be throwing in the towel. Every year that passes tends to go by more quickly than the last. A phenomenon that seems to speed up as I get older. Ever catch yourself saying, “Man, I can’t believe we’re already in (insert current month and a long sigh).” I think I’ve said that three times this year already and I can’t help but wonder why that is. It can’t be because of how busy I am, because although there’s a lot going on these days, my sched is no comparison to my previous, jam-packed high school and college regimens. I’m convinced that it can’t be because time passes more quickly when you’re having fun, because, God knows, I’ve had my ups and downs like anyone else this past year. So I’m beginning to think that maybe the reason that time has been flying by so swiftly lately is because I’ve been completely and utterly failing to live out one of my life long dreams. Failing to soak life in like a dry sponge, failing to live in the moment.

I’ve always considered myself to have a type “A” or a somewhat “square” personality. I’m a neat-freak, a control-freak, a planner, a do-gooder. If you flip through my appointment book (which I wouldn’t advise, unless you want to see the wrath of a “To Do” list making Scorpio) you’d undoubtedly read through the scribbled, hyphenated/color-coded lines to find that there isn’t much spontaneity in my life. I’m always planning my next move, reminding myself of my most recent ones, and unfailingly living for tomorrow. I’ve even been known to curse my day planner for not extending through to the following year…or two. (Yes, I’m aware that there are certain brands that carry “Multi-Year” appointment books but I’ve stuck with Gallery Leather Co. for the last seven years and if you took note of any of the above paragraph you know that I’m a creature of habit.) A creature of habit that has come to the point of questioning her zest for living in tomorrow. Living for what comes next rather than what is now. Questioning her need to start writing the book of there-after before reading the ending of today. I’m finding that when your biggest fear is that you’re wasting time trying to get to where you’re not actually going, you’ll never get anywhere at all.

During these last few months I’ve been reading a lot of soul-searching-esque books and doing a good amount of late-night journaling in efforts to figure out how to just let go, how to loosen the reigns a bit and simply trust in the process of life. And the answers that I’ve been finding seem to be the same across the board. The answer that’s hunted me down and is now staring me right in the face is simply, gratitude. Apparently when you posess it, it’s completely impossible to harbor any sort of fear or anxiety. I’m not talking about fake gratitude, the kind that only exists for the things that are going well in your world, I’m referring to the real deal. The real McCoy. The gratitude that radiates through every cell in your body and overwhelms you with a sense a peace, regardless of the chaos that surrounds you. I’m learning that when I’m thankful for every experience I have, thankful for what it’ll teach me and the person I’ll become in the aftermath, I don’t have to be afraid when life throws me a curve ball. I don’t have to cover my eyes. And it’s only when your eyes are wide open, open to the good, open to the bad, and open to the endless possibilities, that you can actually appreciate today. It’s only then that moments will slow down long enough for you to live in them.

With all that being said, I’m grateful for the highs and lows of the past few months. Grateful for the marketing campaign I launched for my novel and grateful for the minor knee injury that’s kept Danny sidelined this last week. Grateful for the amazing two weeks that my sister and I spent together, floating down our lazy river and frequenting cafes and grateful for my family’s strength and devotion when new paths and new beginnings present themselves. Grateful for our unconditionally loving puppy and grateful for the hilarity of a majestic lightning show that scares the heck out of her when a Midwest storm passes through. Grateful for friends who are more like family and family who are more like soul mates.

If every obstacle is a lesson, then those who have a more difficult path will be the wisest of all. Isn’t that something to be grateful for?

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