Sunday, February 17, 2008

100 Positive Things About My Life

"Write 100 positive things about your life" .

Last week this was a writing exercise in my creative writing class. I hit # 17 and could think of nothing else until the instructor said positive things, or things we like to do or love in our lives...then I got to #43. It has taken me a week to finish, but here I go:

100 Positive Things in my life: Things I like about myself, love about myself, like doing etc.

1. My niece "A" is a miracle child. To correct two hips that were undeveloped at birth she endured numerous unsuccessful surgeries, and finally one successful one in the first few years of her life. She spent much of the first 5 years of her life in full body casts and partial body casts. After one of her surgeries she came home in a body cast and asked her mom to place her on a skateboard. She then proceeded to pull herself and manouver around the house on her stomach on top of the skateboard. At nine she is an incredible role model, so determined and a beautiful loving girl. I love her. She loves me.

2. My niece "B" is spunky and funny and her laugh is so contagious it is impossible not to laugh with her. She has gorgeous soft long red hair and in some picture I see a resemblance between her and me. She reminds me of my free spirit self when I feel well. I love her. She loves me.

3. My neice "C" is serious, bookish and far too intelligent for a 7 year old. She is sensitive and thoughtful with a smile like an angel. She asks the hardest questions to answer. She often perplexes me and on a deep level reminds me of me as a child. I love her. She loves me.

4. My niece "D" is a wild thing. She cannot sit still, wants to wear pink dresses all the time, even when hiking and beachcombing (much to the chagrin of her mom, who doesn't want her to fall into the "stereotyped", pink dressed little girl), but she is far from a stereotype... She is strong willed, has a tomboyish spirit, loves to run, and is sweet and impish all at the same time. I love her, she loves me.

5. My sister "E" is quietly strong and independant. She owns and runs her own business. She knows how to think clearly and can seperate her emotions from a situation. She is beautiful with soft, curly red hair. She loves music and has a beautiful voice. We sing all the time when we are together. Her and I take vacations together with her and the kids and we always have a great time. She adores her children and is an incredible mom. I love her and she loves me.

6. My sister "F" is strong and extremely independant. She let's nothing get in her way. She has a great sense of humour and loves her kids more than anything in the world. She is stunning; 6 ft tall, long blonde hair, and skinny as a rail. There is nothing she cannot do. She climbed down her well to fix a pipe on her own, she builds things in her shop by herself. She makes me laugh, will take no nonsense from anyone, not even me. She tells me like it is, but loves me in her own quiet way. I love her too.

7. My Mom died two years ago, but I was blessed to have the Mom I had...she was a beautiful person inside and out. She was independant too, sometimes I would say she was stubborn (I am starting to see a familial pattern here). When she wanted to do something she did it. She adored all her children equally. The was crazy about her grandchildren; loved her parents, was extraordinarily loyal to her friends and family. She was the best Mom anyone could ever asked for. I think of her many times every single day. I loved and love her more than anything in this universe.

8. I love my husband. We fight, we ignore each other. My depression has been hard on him. It has been hard on our relationship, but he helps me everyday in big and small ways. He helps with the cleaning and cooking. He takes over tasks I am unable to do because I am so depressed. Also, while there is something to say about the excitement of anonymous casual with someone you completely trust is extraordinary and allows me to feel safe trying new things.

9. My pdoc...He is amazing, consistent, supportive, empathetic, and a gifted Dr. and therapist.

10. My friend "H". She is artistic and thoughtful, interesting and inspiring. She has been my friend since I was 19 and we have been through a lot together. I love her like a sister.

11. My friend "D". She is a powerful woman. She is fiercely independent and a talented high level people manager. I have known her since I was 13...and we seemed to follow each other around the country for the first few years out of school. We are like sisters too. One of those people you may not talk to a lot, but can always pick up where you left off.

12. My friend "J". I only met her recently online, but I feel a sense of connection to her. We really seem to struggle with almost identical's eerie sometimes how often she writes something that relates to me. I am glad we have connected.

13. Even on my worst days I can find some moment where I can laugh.

14. I love my dog. Even though he is very, very ill not a day goes by where he doesn't do something that makes me laugh and/or adore him even more. I never realized how important having a dog was to me.

15. I love my two cats

16. I live on a farm, but can get into the city in less than 20 I get the best of both worlds.

17. All summer long my house is filled with flowers, because I live on a flower farm.

18.. All summer long I can eat as many blueberries as I want because the farm is also a bueberry farm.

19. I am a water baby. I used to swim competitively and I am a great swimmer. I feel more at home in the water than I do on land.

20. I do not need any more material things. In fact, I could do with less things in my life.

21. I have enough food to eat.

22. I have clean water to drink.

23. I have a huge cozy king-sized bed to sleep in everynight. My husband made it as a wedding gift for us. It is made of huge slabs of beautiful old growth pine and is stained a honey colour. It sits high off the floor (maybe 4 feet) and I feel like a queen in it. I always joke it is the only piece of furniture I want if we divorce.

24.. I have a passion for music. My tastes are eclectic. and am just as happy listening to classical music as I am listening to alternative rock.

25. I love the colour of my is long and strawberry blond.

26. If I practice and focus I draw very well.

27. I have a gift when it comes to helping people learn. I am naturally a great teacher.

28. I am empathetic.

29 I care immensely about other people.

30. When my hyperthymic temperment decides to come out I am a wild woman, love to have a good time and become the life of the party.

31. I cannot remember how many people I have slept with...yikes! , but I loved every minute of every encounter. Some psychiatrists have taken my encounters to mean I was hypomanic, but I just love sex. I have no regrets about enjoying all my sexual relationships. My pdoc gets that and I really appreciate that.

32. Having said the former...I am a faithful wife and have been for 16 years and would never cheat (unless he wanted me to;>).

33. I like that it is the person that matters to me and not the gender. When I fall in love it is with the person.

32. I am a good Aunt.

33. I am a good Sister.

34. I am a good Daughter.

34. I am polite. I always say thank you if someone holds the door open for me. I always hold the door open for others. I always send thank you cards (albeit when depressed I sometimes procrastinate)...but I always eventually do it.

35. I send hand written letters to people and I love writing and sending them. There is something romantic and old fashioned about the process that I love.

36. I have good elbows on the table, know how to use all that extra cutlery...ha, ha.

37. I am a good conversationalist...even when I am having bad depression or anxiety. This actually hides my anxiety from others...very few people can believe I am depressed or anxious unless I tell them.

38. In keeping with being a good conversationalist I always search the room for people who look like they need someone to talk with. I reach out to others.

39. I am an intellectual soul. I love to learn and suck up information like a sponge sucks up water. (The past few years I am having trouble retaining info, but I still love to learn).

40. I have read hundreds of books. I am passionate about the classics, about psychology and psychiatry books, I love a good autobiography or biography and I enjoy some murder mysteries . (again, right now I cannot seem to read as I cannot retain plotlines etc.), but I read the newspapers daily to keep up on world and local news, and to keep my mind thinking.

41. I have a bachelor's degree in English Literature. I loved taking this degree as I love to read, but I took it to balance out my philosophy degree. People do not understand the value of philosophy, but they understand the value of an english degree.

42. I have a bachelor's degree in Philosophy. This was my passion in university. I was spellbound by epistemology and metaphysics. My favourite class was "Philosophy of Mind" a whole year studying theories of how the brain/mind works. I loved that. I was also especially interested in applied ethics (environmental ethics, animal rights, etc.).

43. I am a great cook. When well I love cooking...I can barely manage that now, but once in a while I get a spurt of energy and cook a fancy meal.

44. I love canoeing. The silence and the slight sound of water slipping across the paddles and the bow. I love that.

45. I love camping. The fresh air, sitting by the fire, being one with nature.

46. I love encountering the pack of coyotes with their pups at the back of the farm. They are fascinating.

47. I love watching the bald eagles soar above the farm. They have a nest down the road and I search for them there every spring. I saw them today. Beautiful.

48. I love the feeling of my bare feet in warm sand.

49. I loved snorkelling in the British Virgin Islands. I could have stayed in the water there all day.

50. I love diving into the pool and staying below the surface, encased in silence, as long as I can.

51. I love the feeling of water rushing over my body when I swim. Especially when I am gliding in the water and it is quiet.

52. I love watching the plants come up in the garden.

53. I love watching the flowers bloom.

54. I could stare at some flowers forever (especially dahlias). They are so perfect it makes me wonder how such perfection is possible.

55. I love all animals and cannot even kill a fly...I take them outside. (although I have contamination fears about lice and bedbugs...not sure can't say I'd set them outside!!)

56. I have great breasts. Ask anyone who has seen them...and they are all mine!...ha, ha!

57. I have an hourglass figure...I like that.

58. I love the feel of the wind rushing across my face and through my hair when I ride a bike. I hate wearing a bike helmet and I sometimes don't because it feels good to take some risks and to enjoy the fresh air.

59. I have been across Canada numerous times and have lived literally from coast to coast at different times in my life.

60. I love playing the guitar.

61. I love dressing up to go to the symphony, or the opera. It is part of the ritual for me.

62. My favourite colour is the colour of fresh new growth green moss.

63. I love walking through the forest and seeing red cedar trees with my favourite coloured moss growing amongst them...the red/brown against the green is sublime.

64. I love watching others be creative. In my beginner's drawing class today I watched as people's compositions turned into pieces of art, They were all so beautiful and I could see so much pride in the people who were creating the drawings.

65. I really love volunteering at the Art Clubhouse I belong to.

66. I love Shakespeare plays.

67. I love all kinds of writings, plays, and poetry from the 17th century...Christopher Marlowe, Ben Johnson, John Donne, John Milton (Paradise Lost is full of profoundly beautiful imagery).

68. Given that I love the above...I love period films or plays.

69. I love the whole renaissance period.

69. I love going into old churches. They just feel good to be in.

70. I never buy trashy magazines...ever, but when I go to my sister's house I secretly love reading all the magazines she has laying know curious minds want to know!

71. I am great with kids. They are much easier than adults to be around. My neices adore me and I them. We always have such a great time together and they keep me in stiches.

73. Although he doesn't show it, and although our relationship is often strained, I know my Dad loves me. He would give his kidney to me if I needed it. He just does not know how to accept he has a mentally ill child.

74. I love my Dad.

75. I knew all my grandparents very well and for a long time. I spent a lot of time with each of them. They all survived into my thirties and my one Grandma just passed away last year. I adored them all. I am very lucky to have known them.

76. I live in a city that was named "the most liveable city in the world" the last two years in a row. It is a great city.

77. I do not have to worry about money while I work towards becoming well because the company I worked for has a great long term disability program and I qualified for my country's disability pension.

78. Today I am happy to be alive.

79. I love the smell of fresh cut hay.

80. I enjoy writing in my blog. I like the anonymity and the ability to get everything out in writing. It helps me think things through and understand myself better.

81. I can be really funny when the mood strikes me.

82. I saved my sister's puppy's life when it was attacked by two 150 pound Husky/Wolf/Akita cross dogs. I fought for ten minutes trying to beat the dogs off her as they bit at her and tried to drag her through the fence. The fence was short, maybe four feet and they could easily have leapt over it and attacked me, but I never gave up. I finally got her away from them. She was bleeding profusely from her face and neck. I got her to the vet in the nick of time and she just made it. I have PTSD problems because of what happened, but I am so glad I got involved. I would never have forgivven myself if I hadn't tried to save her.

83.I survived a horrific car crash when I was 18. A drunk driver went through a stop sign at 60 MPH and crushed the car my best friend, her mom and I were in. My friend had and has a severe brain injury, I had some cuts and a concussion, but we all survived. I can still hear the sound of a gigantic tin can being crushed if I think of the crash.

84. I never drink and drive.

85. I love the crashing of gigantic waves on the seashore. I especially love stormwatching.

86. I have the most interesting, detailed, and meaning filled dreams. I love my dreams, even the scary ones. They teach me so much about myself.

87. I look forward to my therapy sessions, even in my deepest, darkest moments. In fact, maybe especially in those moments. I find the ability to sit and talk with someone who is completely non-judgemental and completely advocating for me and my wellness to be an intensely cathartic and life affirming experience.

89. I am so happy I bought a digital camera a couple years ago. It is one of the best things I ever bought myself. No more crappy pictures click and they are gone. I find I take way more pictures than I did before because it is so easy to get great pictures when you have no concern for the quantity of pictures you are taking.

90. The next best thing I ever bought myself was an is awesome and I am addicted to it and to i-tunes. I have never had anything electronic that was so easy to figure out how to use and is it is so easy to download songs, podcasts, books etc. I take it with me everywhere.

91. I am proud to say I DO NOT own a cellphone. I never answer the phone when I am at home. Why the hell would I take one with me. I find them annoying and intrusive. I've lived this long without a phone attached to my hip, can't see why I would want one now.

92. I love taking long, really hot, showers.

93. My favourite vegetable is green beans. I would eat them everyday if I could.

94. I always try really hard to not hurt anyone's feelings. I try to make all my encounters with people positive.

95. I love it when I wake up one morning and my depression is completely gone and I feel like I could do anything. At these times it is as if the whole world appears differently. It is like I can see the life force in everything. Colours look more intense, everyone loves me, I am beautiful and charasmatic. I have no anxiety and am willing to try anything. I really love those days. I haven't had one in a long time.

96. I love skiing.

97. I love chocolate...but not too much, just a little bit at a time.

98. I love Haggen Dass "Cookie Dough Dynamo" ice cream and green tea ice cream.

99. I love going out to eat...any kind of food. I like the experience.

100. I was able to find the strength, somehow, somewhere, despite my severe depression, to move in with, and help, my mom through the last three months of her life. All she really wanted was to die at home and I was there as she passed away. I never thought I would survive those months, but I did and I was there for her. I will never forget what it was like watching her pass away, but I am so glad I was there to help her go. I love you Mom.


jcat said...

That is an awesome list... and weird how many of the emotional and behavioural things on it would be on mine too! Except that I am nowhere near as cultured or as educated as you - I'm the one buying and devouring the trashy novels and magazines. And there isn't anything about my physical self that I like at all.
If it's ok with you, I'm going to steal this idea, and try produce a positive list for myself...

Aqua said...

I would love to read your list...please do run with it. As I was writing it I was realizing I do not do many of the things that I love anymore(like canoing and swimming, and camping, and cooking, etc.), because I'm so depressed...but maybe that contributes to my depression too.

I felt really good after writing all was hard to do, but completely worth the effort.

Polar Bear said...

wow, that is a great list! I'm happy that you have so many reasons to love yourself. I don't think I could come up with 100 for myself. Although i think I could come up with 100 to HATE myself.

Aqua said...

Polar Bear,
I felt the same way. I sat in class and cried because I watched everyone race through there list and I was stuck on #17 forever. I kept thinking...I have nothing positive or likeable about me, or in my life, I like nothing.

Over the week I kept adding a few things here and there. Some of the things like canoeing and camping and swimming etc. I haven't done forever because I am too sick...but I still realize they make me feel good. you can see some of my items are my favourite colour...but if I think about why it is my favourite colour...the colour does add an aspect of joy to my life.

I guess what I am saying is I bet if you started a list and added even one thing a could get there...and I would love to see that list...You like polar bears? There's Number 1. Now it's your turn;.)
Take care,

human carvery said...

Wow! I am so impressed with your list, so much thought, I hope you feel proud of you

Aqua said...

Thanks Human Carvery,
Yes, I do feel really proud of my list. I put a lot of thought into it and it was hard to complete, but I keep reading it and it makes me feel warm when I do.

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