by Ina Muntean

Do you have holiday feeling creeping up, bit by bit? December might be far off (or maybe not – time flies anyways), but I when hear about Christmas on the radioI inevitably get psyched up for the Winter holidays. The decorations, the millions of lights, the hot cocoa in the middle of the day, the gift wrapping. I know, I know it’s too early to talk about it, but it’s also kind of irresistible. And tell me I didn’t get you “dreaming” about it too, for a second. 


I used to rush the events in my life  waiting for Christmas when it was only October, anticipating a vacation when I had a month and a half until the departure date, waiting excitedly for a family reunion way too much time in advance  and then, all of those were gone as if in the blink of an eye. I used to think that regular days were a routine I didn’t need in my life, because the exciting parts were far more interesting and more important to me. And then, I was wrong. 


I was wrong in such a twisted way, that I started losing my patience with any day that seemed ordinary. I felt a degree of dissatisfaction with my life and sometimes, I thought it was plain boring to live uneventful days. From boredom to frustration, I realized that this is not what life is supposed to be about. I knew I had to change something in order to escape the vicious circle of discontent and the constant need for something thrilling. 


As a true lover of nature who was born in a small town by riversurrounded by forests and flower fields, I started to find my peace among trees in a city of skyscrapers. At first, it was hard to focus and anchor my mind in the beauty of nature, rather than letting my long to-do list spin in my head like a roll of old movie film. After several months, I realized I was still not able to focus properly, and that my constantly charged lifestyle wasn’t allowing me to enjoy nature. 


I turned to yoga, to Zumba, to working out with my sister as my number one bud, to reading books and books on positive psychology – but I would still revert to a state of irritation and restlessness. Until one day, when I accidentally watched a YouTube video (mind you, I have no idea when I had time for those), in which a vlogger talked how about practicing gratitude every night helped her with her emotional state. At first, I was skeptical, then curious. I let the idea sit with me for another week or two and, one night, it happened. I remembered I had an old journal of mine I was not using anymore, and I took it out of the corner where I keep all my past years’ agendas (I have no idea why I keep them, thinking I’ll need the information eventually), and started writing. 


I decided to write down all of the things I was grateful for that day, without thinking about it. I let my hand scribble 5 things I was grateful for, and when I reread them, I was amazed. I have included in that list things that I would not be normally grateful for, even if you asked me to consciously name you a few. I was even grateful for an unpleasant event that happened to me at work that day, which, under usual circumstances, I would say I despised a lot. But I decided to let my mind speak for myself. 


In the following weeks, I committed myself to “collecting” in my mind all sorts of events throughout the day, and to being hyper aware of what I eat, what I see, what I feel, and what I desire. I started paying more attention to the little things in my life – instead of seeing a “treadmill” of events that I would skip through because I was too busy to live them. I felt a sort of slow down, even if I was at no time slowing down at all. But because I made myself write what I’m grateful for, I was able to notice all these small things. 


After a while, I felt a shift in the way I react to what happens to me in a day. I realized that negative events didn’t bother me that much anymore  I would write in my journal that I’m grateful for the lesson they taught me that day. I realized I had more patience with my family – I would write that I’m grateful for my daughter’s kiss in the morning, and for telling my husband “let mommy sleep for just five more minutes.” I realized I was more resilient  I would write gratitude about a moment when I was ready to burst in tears in front of the whole office because of a super challenging month, but decided that second that the following day I would start with fresh eyes, and would find a solution to what I was struggling with. 


Even if gratitude was not on my radar, I kind of fell in love with it in the process, and I would invite you to try the same. Idoesn’t necessarily need to be a gratitude journal, but rather a shift in perceptions. I would like you to start reexamining things and events in your life. Next time you feel like you’re falling down an invisible ladder of mixed emotions, I want you to refocus your vision to what is happening to you in that day that you find satisfying or that makes you feel happier. Is it walking by river? Is it making yourself something yummy to eat, or baking a pie to share with someone close? Is it reading a book on your way to work? Is it eating your lunch outside, away from your usual stress? Whatever it might be, those little things that make you smile, those are the ones that make the whole difference in your existence and reshape your views. 


You see, gratitude might sound cliché, but gratitude is present all around us. Gratitude is in the way we get ready for work and eat our breakfast. Gratitude is in having a roof over our heads. Gratitude is in having people around us and amending our relationships throughout our lives. Gratitude is in the ability to try to do something, and to succeed. And even if we don’t succeed, no worries at all – that’s why we have other chances to try again, learn some more, adjust our ways of doing things, and score a win. I truly and honestly believe that there is no irreparable situation in life, until we realize that we hold the power to decide to take the next step. 


By now, you might think that I haven’t finished my story of telling you how it all worked out for me and my discontentment with routine days. Well, it’s not finished yetI’m still in the process of learning, even after 6 months of practicing gratitude. But I can strongly state that being grateful for what happens to me has taught me to enjoy my dato day, with all the good and the bad in it. I might regress here and there, but what sets the presentme apart from the pastme is the faith and the ambition to continue my journey of discovering the beauty all around me. Trust me – there are plenty for everyone, and you deserve to discover them, too. 


When the winter holidays do come this year, despite the pandemic – just enjoy your life, because it’s still a life worth living. We are here to bring about meaning and change, no matter what conditions we face. So, look back, think of what you’ve learned until now, use what you have in mind or in your heart. Have yourself a wonderful day, every day, for as long as you can. Nothing is ruined, because we have already learned to adapt to the unexpected. Do you believe me? 


I love hanging out with people, so search me up and let’s connect on “social”. You can find me here: