I've been a bit ill for the last few months and a couple of times, I thought I was going to die. Have you ever had that? A weird headache, or a twinge somewhere that doesn’t feel right, and that awful foreboding – the fear of closing your eyes in case they don’t open again, or they open to a dirty-white hospital ceiling and lights and beeps and your family crying? I’m still here, and it was probably just a headache, but I couldn’t help it –I curled tighter against my fiancé, hugging him as if he might disappear, and I lay awake and thought about life. I was scared and tired and upset and frankly, being a bit stupid, but all I could think about was this quote from American Beauty.
"My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain, and I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life."
It just made me think about how grateful I am. Sometimes I think I’m not – sometimes I call myself an ungrateful, spoilt brat, because I wish I didn’t have to drag myself out of bed at 7am to go to work, because I play the lottery and dream of million pound houses when people are homeless, because I moan about my weight and pick at a yoghurt when kids are starving in Africa, because I have bad hair days and Sunday blues and because it secretly really annoys me that my blog isn’t as popular as Zoella’s and that I don’t look like Blake Lively.
But last night I realised that those things are part of life and I don’t feel guilty anymore, because I am grateful.
I am grateful for waking up at 8am on Sunday mornings when I was 12 and eating hot toasted bacon sandwiches on the sofa under my quilt, watching cartoons. For the way grass smelt in the summer at primary school when you were first allowed ‘on the field.’ For the wonderful, sparkling night when my boyfriend proposed. For lying with my head on my mum’s lap, watching ‘White Christmas’ on Christmas Eve, even though I hate black and white films. For homemade sausage rolls. For hugs with my Dad when he’s just come in from the garden and needs a bath. For hot baths when you have cold feet, and cold swimming pools in summer. For drinking too much Malibu and throwing up in a carrier bag on the stairs whilst my best friend at university threw up in the toilet. For those black jeans my Mum bought me when I was on the brink of despair and thought no trousers would ever fit me again. For dark red painted toenails making me feel glamorous. For nights on the sofa with my boyfriend watching Masterchef and betting on who will lose next. For every single colour I’ve ever dyed my hair. For sitting on my bed with my sister while she picks things up in my room and asks what they are.
For kissing people I’ve never met in clubs. For Polzeath beach and Padstow harbour and the taste of Cornish fudge. For that night at Glastonbury when we danced till 5am. For that time my friends and I sung ‘Wonderwall’ at a karaoke night in Gran Canaria and were so bad we had to run from the bar. For religiously watching Eastenders hoping for a glimpse of Jack Ryder. For every single time I’ve eaten a cake when I was meant to be on a diet, and every single time I had a banana instead and proudly lost a pound. For the times when I would sit in the car after dinner with my cousins and one of them would fart and lock all the doors so we couldn’t get out. For nights in the pub with my boyfriend, drinking a little too much and setting the world to rights. For every night I went out clubbing when I should be working, and every night I refused to go out and stayed in and ate pizza in my pyjamas. For the moment my fiancé first said he loved me and I felt the world tilt.
For the excitement of a new iPhone, and for everytime I bought a dress I couldn’t afford and then left it in my wardrobe for months, and for hot chocolates with cream and McDonald’s quarter pounder with cheese meals and for listening to Jimmy Eat World when I was heartbroken and for swimming with dolphins and the smell of Yves St Laurent Rive Gauche perfume and the Arctic Monkeys 5th album and for drinking when I promised I wouldn’t and for my first kiss and for long road trips and the smell of my Dad’s dressing gown and for butter icing and Christmas lights and barbecues and for my best friends, all of them, and for that moment when you’ve had a drink with your friends and you’ve got the whole night ahead of you and everything feels right with the world. For the unconditional love my family give me every day.
I think if you've got these things, you don't need presents wrapped in pretty paper or a perfect Pinterest tree or the best cooked Christmas dinner. You can close your eyes and be grateful for every single moment of your stupid little life :)