In the last week, I read a travel memoir, skimmed through an atlas, made a list of cities I would like to visit for weekend trips, and scoured a travel website for tips on my dream journey of a lifetime. However, I have not been outside of my current locale, Albuquerque, in more than three months and I won’t be going anywhere this summer, either. I have a serious case of wanderlust. I was feeling discontented and disappointed that travel is not going to be much of an option for me in the next few months due to budget constraints.
I knew I needed to sit with my disappointment, instead of denying it. After giving myself a little time to deal with this homebound reality, I discovered that mostly I was feeling hemmed in by the seeming lack of adventure in my near future. I was feeling sad, because I had expectations that were different than my reality. I realized that was my problem. When my expectations and my reality align, I am blissfully content and joyful. I was out of alignment. My wanderlust ideals were colliding with my local existence.
Believe me, I am a homebody. I love to stay home and curl up with a good book, my favorite music playing in the background. I love cooking dinner at home and savoring a glass of wine. I love puttering around the house, or enjoying a morning on the patio drinking coffee and watching the sky turn black to pink to blue. I love going to a nearby park with my borrowed telescope and viewing the stars and planets. What usually feels like a cozy option, though, was feeling more like a punishment or a slight curse. As soon as I voiced my discontent to myself, while making breakfast one lazy weekend morning, I got a little perspective. I realized that I needed to look at my feelings of being chained at home through the lens of gratitude. I made a list of things that I was grateful for, with this idea in mind.
I am grateful that I will have lots of time at home in Albuquerque this summer.
I am grateful that I will get to make a serious attempt at a patio garden this summer.
I am grateful that I won’t be fighting highway traffic or having to share a beautiful vista with countless others.
I am grateful that I have summer employment to fill in the gap of my school-year job.
I am grateful that I live in a beautiful place with lots of hiking trails and biking routes and access nearby.
I am grateful for a summer to concentrate on some spiritual, physical, and mental fitness goals.
I am grateful for health, employment, and contentment with how things are in my life.
I am grateful that I will have extra time to finish a large writing project.
I am grateful that I will have time to complete an online class that I have been postponing.
I am grateful that I have a whole shelf of books that I have been meaning to read over the last couple of years.
I am grateful that I have a few friends who will also be in town this summer.
I am grateful that I will have a chance to put together a budget and plan for a dream trip to possibly take in a couple of years.
I am grateful that I invested in a few books about sightseeing in Albuquerque and New Mexico.
I am grateful that I have a pantry full of ingredients and a shelf full of cookbooks to try new recipes and dishes and share with friends.
I am grateful that I have made a list of some out-of-town-but-still-close places to see and visit this summer.
I am grateful that several museums, that I haven’t visited yet, offer upcoming free and/or discounted entry fees this summer.
I am grateful that I have a good camera to take pictures and find some new angles from which to enjoy my favorite local haunts and landmarks.
I am grateful for a small and cozy home in a gorgeous city.
I am grateful that I am taking initiative to invite friends from nearby towns, who might also be on the same kinds of budget constraints, to come and stay with me.
It only took a few minutes to change my perspective. I usually think that travel does that. However, I realized that the view of home, all of a sudden, looks very lovely indeed. What other parts of life, where there might be discontent, also need a new view through the beautiful lens of gratitude?