Counting blessings

My husband and I have been planning a 10-day trip to New England (Boston and Portland, ME) for the past couple of months. It was going to be our first vacation in three years. Last night, we decided to cancel it.

It’s been a difficult year financially. There have been some major health issues in my family, a slowdown in nonfiction publishing, and some of those out-of-left-field events that make you look up at the sky and say, “Why me?”—like the freak rainstorm that hit my area two weeks ago and dumped four inches of rain in six hours, flooding the basements of some properties we own and costing us $2,000 for the clean-up. You wake up in the morning thinking, “Huh. Looks like it might rain,” and go to bed that night thinking, “How are we going to pay for this?”

But that’s life. And the purpose of this post isn’t to complain (even though that’s all I’ve done so far). Instead of feeling trapped in a cycle where things keep going wrong, I’d like to take a broader look at the things I appreciate, do a sort of early Thanksgiving survey. So here are some blessings I’m counting:

  1. Although the health issues persist, they’ve improved from what they were a year ago.
  2. My own health is great.
  3. Work has slowed down, but we’ve got work.
  4. Although issues do come up with our rental properties, we’ve got those properties and some day, they’ll enable us to retire. (We’re both self-employed, so we had to come up with our own retirement plan.)
  5. Deadtown sold well for a debut novel (thanks to all who bought it!), and I get to continue the series.
  6. I did take several short trips this year, mostly to SF/F cons, and I chose events that let me visit family at the same time.
  7. My current nonfiction project has a tight deadline, and staying home will give me some breathing room there. (OK, that one’s kinda lame, but it does make me feel a bit better.)
  8. I’ve got a loving, supportive husband.
  9. I’ve got an amazing daughter of whom I’m inexpressibly proud.
  10. Deadtown‘s release was a dream come true for me. And through it, I’ve met readers and other writers and made some really good friends.
  11. I like my new haircut! (I’ll post pictures one of these days…)

OK, that’s a start. I’m not trying to be some Pollyanna who refuses to acknowledge the problems staring me in the face. But I believe that shifting your focus from things that are going wrong to things that are going right opens life up. If all you ever see is the bad stuff, then life sucks. If you look for the good stuff—things that are going right, things you appreciate—there’s room for happiness.

Besides, a friend and I decided in a Facebook conversation yesterday that Pollyanna was actually a secret supervillain presiding over a team of fake goody-goodies that included Little Lord Fauntleroy (trained assassin), Little Nell (evil femme fatale), and Winnie the Pooh (don’t accept any sweets from THIS bear).



About nancyholzner

10 responses to “Counting blessings

  • Miriam Pia

    Well Nancy, this makes me a little less like an uncontrollable whiner. Really, there is a lot to be thankful for. I know I have a lot that I love going on in my life right now even though there a few things I’d like to change a little bit.
    My son is even back!

    Congratulations on getting to continue your series! That’s a big deal. So is having a loving family.

    • nancyholzner

      Hi Miriam,

      Being aware of the love in one’s life–and appreciating it–is probably the most important thing of all. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Mary Win Connor

    Its been a bad year all over. We also had a summer of Act of God issues. 18 hours of no power and 2 rains that flooded our basement. One of which occurred when we were 500 miles away. Sewer water doesn’t smell very good when you can’t clean up for 2 days. I’m currently typing this in a makeshirt office while they fix mine. I won’t even go into the issues with the kids that make me want to bang my head against the wall.

    But as an old friend of my used to say, “Will any of this mean anything in 100 years?” Tomorrow is another day and most likely a better one. If not, there’s always the next day.

    Chin up, tits out. You will survive.

    • nancyholzner

      Hi Mary Win,

      Funny you mention sewer water–we had a problem with a backed-up sewer in one of our townhouses earlier this year. 😛

      You’re right about stepping back and getting perspective, and that you don’t even have to take the 100-year view. Tomorrow, or next week, or next month, things always look different. And you learn from things, too.

      That’s what I was going for with this post–changing perspective. Because I can always find things to appreciate if I look for them. Thanks for commenting!

  • Mary Win Connor

    Oh and BTW, I love your re-characterizations of Pollyanna, the Little Lord and Winnie. I’ve always thought that Scrooge was misunderstood. It was the Tom Crachit and the nephew who were greedy. They drugged the old man and made him think he was being haunted so he would give them his money.

  • Deborah Blake

    Okay–leave Winnie the Pooh alone. Other than that, I agree with everything you said 🙂

    It has been a tough year (or two). No doubt about it. But I watched the Chilian miners being pulled out of the ground last night and said to myself, “Hey–you don’t get to complain about not having a book contract yet, or the no boyfriend thing. You’ve above ground, safe and warm and reasonably healthy.”

    But because I’m human (and menopausal) I was still feeling a bit blue this morning. Until my pal Lucienne posted on Facebook that her friend had died that morning, saving her son from an oncoming car.

    Freaking hell. We have it good.

    I hope things improve for both (all) of us. But in the meanwhile, I’ll join you in Pollyannaville. As long as you leave Pooh out of it 🙂

  • Tamsen

    I think you’re amazing too! And I’m so proud!!

  • nancyholzner

    Hi Deborah,

    Yes, the miner rescue was amazingly uplifting, and I’m glad you mentioned it. That’s exactly the kind of thing that helps give the kind of perspective I’ve been looking for lately. Instead of feeling low because I’m not where I want to be (right now, that would be on vacation LOL), I can look for things that make me feel good. They’re there if I want to pay attention to them.

    I saw Lucienne’s Facebook post about her friend. What a tragic thing. And it did make me pause and appreciate my own family.

    (OK, I’ll give you Winnie the Pooh. But I’m not so sure about Tigger! And Piglet’s always seemed just a little TOO sweet and innocent…)

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