Want to Feel More Grateful for Your Life?

Allison Burney

Zoom out and look at the bigger picture, and you’ll be amazed by the power of a decade


It’s the evening of January 1st, 2020.

The Christmas tree lights are casting colourful shadows on the wall beside me, and the strand of multi-coloured lights we’ve draped across our wall unit are glowing brightly in the darkness. The only light is a dim yellow, coming from the lamp in the corner of our living room.

I just poured myself a Winter spice beer and sat down on the couch to spend some time reflecting, relaxing, and gathering my thoughts.

It’s also a time to celebrate! A new year has officially arrived — and with it, a new decade has begun.

It’s hard to believe that I’m starting my 30s decade this year. I always thought turning 30 would feel like a big deal, but it surprised me. I celebrated my champagne birthday with my family in style, but apart from that, it passed rather unceremoniously.

Sitting here tonight, though, I feel content. In the words of Goldilocks, everything feels just right.

My partner and I are happy with where we are in our lives, and it feels so good.

There’s no question that we’ve still got a long way to go, and plenty to look forward to. We’re both dreamers and visionaries and want to live big, full, amazing lives — but it feels like we’re travelling through life at the right pace for us. Sure, there’s always tons more we want to do and accomplish, but it doesn’t feel like a race to get there. I don’t feel rushed or stressed.

I just feel at peace — with where we are, with who we are, and with where we’re going and who we’re becoming.

Looking back, we’ve accomplished a lot in the past couple of years alone — things neither of us ever imagined we could actually pull off.

We bought and renovated a 156-year-old Victorian triplex, becoming homeowners and landlords for the first time at the same time. We got ourselves into and out of mounting debt, and learned a lot about finances and money management along the way. We both took major steps forward in our careers — me learning how to manage a wedding and event venue on the fly, and him completing a five-year apprenticeship and finally becoming a licensed electrician!

Despite the ups and downs, the challenges and the victories, we’ve set ourselves up for an amazing future, and that’s something I’m really proud of.

The best part, though, is that we both know without a doubt that the best is yet to come.

As cliché as it may be, it’s true.

That’s why rather than feeling overwhelmed or down about entering my 30s, I’m excited. So many things have happened in the past decade and I’ve grown so much as a person that I actually can’t wait to see what this next decade brings.

My big sister said it best in a blog post she wrote today:

“Another year has come to an end and with it the end of another decade…and what a decade it’s been!
A decade full of travel to new places and old favourites. Climbing mountains, exploring cities, swimming in oceans and hiking trails.
A decade of personal growth filled with highs and lows and a new career in the sky.
A decade of standing up with some of my favourite people as they got married, meeting lots of new babies and saying goodbye to dear family members.
A decade of making new friends and continuing to cherish old friendships.
A decade of spending time with my family, allowing myself to fall in love and agreeing to embark on a new kind of adventure in 2020 by finally saying yes!
Welcome 2020!! May you be filled with travel, fun, love and kindness.”

While this is obviously specific to her, I wasn’t surprised by how much of it could also apply to me, in my own way. You may be feeling the same.

It touched me because of how very human it was. These are experiences that all of us can relate to, and that I think all of us yearn for at a deeper level.

When we look at it from this perspective, it has a way of bringing gratitude into the picture.

Taking a look at your life as a whole and over a significant chunk of time (like 10 years) makes you realize how amazing life is.

Seeing the broader picture helps you see how lucky you are, how rich your life is, and how many things there actually are to be grateful for.

Life is full of variety and surprises (both pleasant and challenging).

Looking back on an entire decade makes you realize just how much can change in that time, and it’s a powerful realization.

My 20s were a time of following my curiosity. They were a decade of exploration, growth, learning, failing, change, frustration, challenge, insecurity, confusion, hardship, and a whole lot more — but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I can only hope that this new decade brings me more of the same — because as I’m learning — these are the things that best represent what life is all about.

Life is a big mixture of a little bit of everything.

And for my 30s, I want nothing less than all of it.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

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Freelance writer & proofreader. I love travel, reading, coffee, and exploring nature. On a mission to keep learning, growing, and enjoying this adventure we call life.


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