This morning I felt sorry for myself.
It started late last night, when I impulsively ate a few too many spoonfuls of Nutella. At 6 AM this morning, I hit the snooze button, so I couldn’t get in a morning workout. I went to school feeling somewhat oversaturated. Then, I got to class and had to sit through four hours of a “career workshop” for medical students that are unsure of what field they want to go into. Although it was a great workshop, I already know what I want, so it wasn’t necessarily for me. I felt lonely throughout class. Because I’m out of town visiting Drew so often, I don’t spend a lot of time outside of school with my wonderful classmates, so I sometimes feel a little disconnected, like many of them are close friends, but I am not. I wanted to pout.
At noon, I left class for my one hour lunch break and had a revelation: I was being a Debby Downer. So what if I ate too much chocolate or missed my workout routine? So what if I’m lucky enough to know what kind of doctor I would like to be? So what if I’m blessed enough to have found the love of my life already so I don’t spend as much time with my single classmates as they spend with each other? Poor, me. Poor, healthy, accomplished, married, Maggie.
Determined not to feel sorry for myself over nothing, I raced to the gym and got in a 30-minute treadmill workout. By the end of it, I had decided to turn my day around. How? I made a choice to be grateful. Just like I had to do every single day during my year of chemo, when I actually had something to be upset about.
After my lunch hour, I went back to class ready to get the most out of whatever there was to learn. It was a procedural workshop, and I got to learn how to do a lumbar puncture, insert urinary catheters into male and female mannequins, start an IV, and do phlebotomy. I made a big effort to speak to my classmates, to initiate conversations with them, and I realized how much everyone was genuinely happy to converse with me. I realized that they never isolate me; i only isolate myself.
As I walked home, I remembered how lonely I had felt early in the morning. I called my number one hero in life, Mama, and talked to her for a long time while I sat on my back porch. Then I called my best friend from college, Rachel. Then I wrote almost 50 thank you notes for wedding gifts and realized how many people love me because that’s not even a fraction of the notes I need to write. Then I called my best friend from high school, Amanda.
And at the end of the day, I realize that all of this love was there when I woke up, i just didn’t choose to recognize it.
Gratitude is our greatest power and, often, our most difficult choice.
Tomorrow I will choose to be grateful for all the love that God keeps pouring into my life. I hope you will join me.