100 Things I’m Grateful For About 2017

100 Things to Be Grateful for in 2017

When I look back on 2017, it’s easy to see a year of sadness, struggle, and grief, both on a personal level and on a wider, global scale.

At home, I started the year battling through my worst bout of depression in years, lost a dear friend of mine who had been a major part of my recovery from addiction, and lost both my paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother, both deaths which -obviously- had a big impact on our family and on me personally.

On a wider scale, the world lost talented, inspirational artists, including two of my favourites in Chris Cornell and Tom Petty, we watched in horror in the aftermath of the Manchester bombings, and felt our hearts sink in the wake of numerous atrocities and natural disasters around the world.

So yes, it’s easy to think of 2017 as a terrible year, but as I started to reflect, I became convinced that there must have been some good this year too.

Gratitude

Earlier this year, I committed to keeping a daily gratitude journal after reading The Magic by Rhonda Byrne.

Most days, I’d write ten things to be grateful for which always seemed to be the same -health, wealth, happiness, sobriety, or some variation of each.

Thinking about this journal gave me an idea – despite all the sadness and sorrow that was such a big part of 2017, there had to be good things that I could be grateful for too.

So I challenged myself to find them by writing my biggest gratitude list ever – 100 things I could be grateful for about the year that was.

These things could be -and ultimately became- absolutely anything that I experienced, enjoyed, witnessed or otherwise was present for during the year, from talks with friends to life-changing career decisions, TVshows I enjoyed and food I loved to improvements in health, wealth, happiness and more.

By the time I was done, I started to view 2017 a little differently.

Yes, it had been a year with a lot of sadness, but it had also been a year with a lot of joy, a lot of love, and a lot of lessons learned.

Without further ado then, here’s my complete list:

100 Things I’m Grateful For About 2017

  1. Waking up sober and fresh on the first day of the year in a stunning hotel room
  2. Getting the chance to photograph a beautiful sunrise over London’s Tower Bridge
  3. Enjoying a moment of peace and quiet inside St. Paul’s Cathedral 
  4. Randomly discovering  Dr Johnson’s House in London – a real hidden gem 🙂
  5. All the amazing people who shared their stories, strength, and love on my 100 Days Smoke Free Video
  6. Being treated to a delicious birthday meal by my family
  7. Discovering the benefits of becoming vegetarian
  8. Feeling -and looking- physically better than I have done in years
  9. Limitless improvements in all aspects of my health
  10. My Dad – for endless support with mountain bike repair and other things
  11. All the beautiful sights I’ve seen whilst working on clocking up 1,000 miles on my mountain bike
  12. Every one of those thousand miles for bringing me moments of serenity, clarity, joy, and self-worth
  13. Moments of serenity watching the sunset over Pennington Flash 
  14. The gift of fresh air 
  15. The gift of waking up in the morning sober
  16. Uncontrollable laughter with my beautiful friend Sam
  17. Amazing lunch and great company with my dear friend Becky
  18. Endless inspiration from my ridiculously talented friend Natasha 
  19. Friday night parties with my gorgeous friends Jayde and Rommie
  20. Tammy, for coming into my life exactly when I needed her the most
  21. Being by my Nan’s bedside on her last night on Earth
  22. Being there with my family on my Grandad’s last night on Earth
  23. Being asked to carry my Grandad’s coffin and take him to his final resting place
  24. Everyone who gave love and condolences when my grandparents passed away – even if I didn’t realise how much I appreciated it at the time
  25. The gift of inspiration my wonderful friend Dave gave me at his funeral 
  26. Celebrating five years sober
  27. Celebrating one year smoke-free
  28. All the amazing feedback I’ve received since starting my Youtube channel
  29. The money my Nan left me which I’ll use to go back to college
  30. The gift of clarity about my career and what I want for my life
  31. The gift of courage to do something completely different in my life
  32. A random date in late-November with a very pretty and very smart girl
  33. The absence of unnecessary fear
  34. Random photography walks in Manchester
  35. My Tai Chi instructor, for endless patience and passing on her experience so that I can keep getting a little better at something I truly enjoy
  36. That I didn’t do anything stupid when my depression was at its worst
  37. That the depression passed
  38. Everybody who tried to comfort me and help me during my depression, even if it didn’t always work 
  39. The lessons I learned when I looked back on my depression 
  40. Periods of hyper-focus and the magic of getting lost in work projects
  41. Long, hot showers after long, tiring days at work
  42. Always having more than enough
  43. Learning that its OK to feel whatever I’m feeling, even if my feelings are ‘negative’
  44. Dave Gorman’s Modern Life is Goodish – one of the few things to make me genuinely laugh after my Nan died
  45. A new series of Red Dwarf – my favourite show
  46. My sweet friend, Patrick who inspired me to change careers without even realising it
  47. All of my freelance writing clients
  48. The realisation that I can actually be disciplined
  49. Long chats and good laughs with Justine
  50. Spending quiet time over Christmas watching TV with my mum
  51. Being able to express my love for those in my life without fear or embarrassment
  52. Knowing that I am loved
  53. The awesome people at Leigh physiotherapy department for helping me with some unresolved pain issues
  54. Friday afternoon core stability classes
  55. Learning the real reason behind my weight gain
  56. Having a gym so close to my house so that I could get back in shape
  57. Stacy – who let me go
  58. My brother – who gave me his old laptop
  59. My sister – with whom I’ve built a better relationship as adults than we ever had as kids
  60. A delicious meal with my family for my parents’ birthdays
  61. A wonderful walk at Rivington Pike with my dear friend Jenny
  62. Also Jenny for advice and guidance about the career change
  63. My crazy friend Kel, for giggles, hugs, and affection
  64. My sister-in-law who found my favourite chamomile tea when I couldn’t find it anywhere
  65. Discovering how delicious spicy nacho bean burgers really are
  66. Discovering this recipe for vegetarian chilli which is now one of my favourite meals
  67. Always having an abundance of ideas
  68. The consistent motivation to turn those ideas into something real
  69. Ralph Smart – whose videos inspired me and made me laugh all year long
  70. Teal Swan  – whose videos challenged the way I think about a lot of things
  71. Victor Oddo – whose videos all came at just the right time and brought clarity and hope
  72. Nicky Sutton – for being a source of guidance even though we’ve never spoken
  73. All the lessons I learned from reading The Chimp Paradox
  74. Reconnecting with my best friend from childhood, John, via Facebook
  75. Catching up with another old school friend, Andy, also via Facebook
  76. A cheeky laugh with Angela on one of the darkest days of the year
  77. The continued success of my geeky little hobby
  78. Discovering this amazing Nine Inch Nails mix on Youtube
  79. Hearing this song from Highly Suspect which was my favourite song of the year
  80. An amazing day of mindfulness delivered by the wonderful Dave Spencer
  81. Moments of peace and quiet
  82. The occasional illusion that everything is under control
  83. Seeing my friends fight back from terrible illnesses
  84. Discovering the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal
  85. Quiet Saturday mornings making vision boards
  86. Late nights relaxing, wrapped up in the warm blanket my aunt knitted
  87. The occasional, guilt-free lie-in
  88. Time spent being playful with Lennon
  89. That amazing cheesecake I ate on a coffee date with Jenny
  90. Christmas gifts
  91. Making peace with my relationship with my family and how that led to a better relationship with them than I’ve ever had
  92. All the new people I’ve met this year, especially those that became friends
  93. The gift of abundance
  94. Experiencing the freedom of letting go
  95. Experiencing the freedom of being completely lost in the moment
  96. Friday night recovery  meetings – a second home, a second family
  97. The Minimalists – for changing the way I think about my space, my home, and my ‘stuff’
  98. Times spent hanging out with my awesome friend Jez after my grandparents passed away
  99. Learning the basic truth – that what you focus on you get more of
  100. The sense of optimism and excitement for 2018 and all that it brings.

This list doesn’t ignore nor diminish the seriousness of the sad and painful things that happened this year, but it does help put them in perspective. It helps me to see the good that came from the bad, and to rediscover and fully appreciate moments of happiness that I didn’t always appreciate fully at the time.

Here’s wishing you a very peaceful and prosperous New Year. May your gratitude lists for 2018 be full of love and joy.

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