Hello! Please welcome back the very talented, May Arya, with her second guest piece. Enjoy!
– Kevin J. Hotter
I’m about to turn 50. I don’t look a day over 45, but the truth is I am 49 years and 356 days old. It might be time to consider Botox and other culturally appropriate fillings but I’m not there yet. I am making friends with each and every one of the wrinkles around my eyes until they stop being my friends. Who knows how long our relationship will last. We might break up any day.
In the meantime, however, I choose to focus on the blessing to have experienced 18,240 mornings while aware that countless individuals, including my own father, did not get this far. This is one grand number and to negate its grand-ness is to negate the desire of those who desperately wanted to reach this number but did not. This number requires much gratitude.
But have I given enough thanks for the privilege of starting each new day? I am generally on the grateful side but until recently, only after taking a shower, drinking a cup of coffee and having ninety minutes of quiet time counting from the moment I begrudgingly separated myself from my bed, and in that exact order.
Even when a morning met these rigid requirements, a grateful moment might come much later in the day. In fact, if I were to guess, 13,568 of my mornings started with the thought, “Damn alarm clock! Shut the —- up!” In my younger days, this objection was made in Farsi and was a bit less colorful. People say I have “acculturated” well.
Mondays used to be the mornings I would use the strongest obscenities. To my dismay, when I got married, I was forced to contain my less-than-gracious words within the privacy of my mind.
That’s because while with each violent slap on the alarm clock’s snooze button, I’d sink my face deeper into the pillow, my husband would spring up cheering, “I’ve got a Monday to do.” “Who does that?!” I would scream silently in utter irritation. “What is the nature of this alien behavior?” I would wonder in confusion. All I knew to be clear was that I was not a morning person.
For a good while, every morning I would protest my husband’s cheerful comments with maneuvering an aggressive toss and turn under the covers. To my frustration, his positive attitude remained untouched. He chose to ignore me in the hopes that I would examine my approach to the start of each day. We kept this up for some time. He was a worthy opponent who would not accept my entitlement to morning grumpiness.
Eventually, as the more mature one, he broke the silence and questioned my attachment to my life-long ninety minute tradition. “I’m not a morning person” did not seem like a strong enough defense for his challenge. To my credit, I put up a good fight but in the end had no choice but to surrender. We agreed that his approach may be worth my time to study.
With close observation of his process accompanied with my moderate amount of fussing, I learned to appreciate my husband’s positive take on this matter. I can’t say that I hum happy songs in the morning but I no longer throw my clock across the room either. I eventually came to the practice of the following thoughts..,
I acknowledge that I prefer to stay in bed and choose not to stay in that thought; to transition to more productive thoughts instead, like being grateful for the opportunity to have another day to love, another day to learn…. to give thanks that so far I have had the privilege to experience 2,598 Mondays while keenly aware that my father’s Mondays did not reach 2,000.