GratiTuesday Guest Post: Grateful… for Others, and Ourselves

Guest post by Liesbet, Roaming About

Thank you, Janis, for allowing me to be a guest blogger on your inspiring site, and share my opinion about this topic. Much gratitude! 😊

I always enjoy reading Janis’s GratiTuesday posts. The day they arrive in my inbox starts with a smile and a portion of positivism. But, when she mentioned featuring guest posts about this theme, I immediately thought: “Nope, not for me.” Yet, I like Janis, I like trying new things, and I like reflection. So, I reconsidered and signed up.

I respect people who are grateful and positive. I appreciate them and even envy them. What a nice way to be, to focus on the good, in a world with so much bad. I’m not normally like that. I dwell on the necessities at hand. I focus on our health, our business, our house and pet sits, our camper, and my writing. At least, these months. I thank my parents, for putting me in this world and raising me. To be a part of this universe is where everything starts. After that, our choices and our attitudes lead the way. That’s how I ended up living a life less ordinary. Should I be grateful for that? This guest post made me think about it a bit more.

Gratitude appears to be a popular theme in my blogging circle, whose “members” are almost all retired. (I’m not.) When I read these posts, they always make sense. Yet, I don’t really incorporate being grateful into my blogs, or my life. So, does gratitude come with age? With having more time? With maturity in and with life? How about peers of my age?

I’m sure my friends are grateful for their families, maybe even for their jobs, definitely for their vacations and summer time. Photos I see on social media prove it; photos of smiles and beautiful surroundings. My life is different from the other bloggers, and my friends. But, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t show gratitude, something I’ve done only once before, in the blog post of my year 2017 in overview.

We shouldn’t let our busy lives get in the way of reflection about what we’re grateful for, even if we were part of the process. With that in mind, I’m grateful for:

  • Being born in a Western country
  • My friends, family, and partner
  • My decent health
  • Mother Earth
  • The presence of pets
  • The choices I have been given
  • The choices I have made
  • Sunny, warm weather
  • The online community I have become a part of, and the interactions blogging creates
  • My memories traveling the world
  • Being in nature, whenever I get a chance
  • Being surrounded by wildlife, whenever that happens
  • Spectacular sunsets
  • The small things in life that satisfy me and make me smile
  • Being given an opportunity to write this guest post for Janis

I chose a life of adventure, a life with no regrets. I’m grateful for that. For the life, or for my choices? Yes, we can give credit to others, but we may not forget ourselves. By being kind, respectful, and responsible, we affect our surroundings; we might get similar responses in return. Are we grateful for the behavior of others? Or does that happen thanks to ourselves?

From Janis:

Thank you, Liesbet, for sharing your GratiTuesday guest post with us! You have a lot to be grateful for – including yourself and the choices you’ve made.

For those of you who haven’t yet discovered Liesbet’s blog, I encourage you to check it out. Many of us have dreamed about off-loading everything and exploring the world – Liesbet and her husband actually did it!

Please stop by next Tuesday when Laura from Crafting My Retirement shares her gratitude.

Author: RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

96 thoughts on “GratiTuesday Guest Post: Grateful… for Others, and Ourselves”

  1. Good morning, Janis! Thank you for featuring me on your site. We all have a lot to be grateful for, and that realization often slips our minds. I hope you’re having a blast in Mexico!

    PS: I can’t believe Jill beat me as the first commenter, me having the advantage being on GMT time right now. She sure is a very early bird. 🙂

    1. Thanks for participating in my GratiTuesday series, Liesbet! I love your reminder to show a little gratitude to ourselves… after all, our choices and actions impact ourselves the most. And, yes, I was surprised to see Jill’s comment before yours.

      1. So sorry to read that, Janis. Something with leaving comments with the iPad on certain sites… How annoying! I’ll have to look into this when I’m back in the US. There are a couple of blogs where I have that issue as well, with the “submit the unsecure form” and the spinning and nothing happening. Maybe Donna managed to find a solution about this…

  2. Well said, Liesbet. I love your big smile with the seal sunning next to you. I think s/he is grinning, too 🙂 I agree we all have a lot to be grateful for. Thanks, Janis, for featuring Liesbet here.

    1. Seeing this sea lion on a beach recliner is one of the funniest things “in nature” we ever saw. 🙂 In the Galapagos, they also take over benches and playgrounds, and boats. Sometimes, you literally have to step over them to go ashore.

    1. Thanks, Peter. In this (western) life, we take too many things for granted. I feel like we are creating a spoiled generation, that has no idea how much different their lives could look. Maybe teaching gratitude in schools should be part of the education program. 🙂

  3. Hi Liesbet and Janis! Good for you Liesbet for jumping out of your comfort zone with this guest post. It is a wonderful reflection and a little window into how you tick. I think gratitude is actually a habit that we can all cultivate, no matter what age we find ourselves. And it is sort of like love, the more we have and the more we give away, the more it seems to grow and expand. Like you said, I’ll bet your focus on it in order to write this post has made it become more obvious in your life. And you DO have much to be grateful for. Oh YEAH….I LOVE that photo of you and the seal just like everyone else! ~Kathy

    1. I think it’s a very personal thing, to reflect and share what you’re grateful for, Kathy. This post did open my eyes to considering the moments and “things” I’m happy about. It’s funny how most people take the little things for granted that I’m thankful for (warm, pressurized showers, unlimited electricity or internet), and the big things I take for granted (being able to travel and feel free), others are grateful for when it happens. 🙂

      I like your analogy between gratitude and love. The more, the better!

    2. I really appreciated Liesbet’s reflections on feeling – and expressing – gratitude. I really like your analogy of love and gratitude and how they expand when we give them away. Gratitude (and love) is like a muscle that needs to be exercised in order to keep it strong.

  4. Nice guest post and you write succinct and to the point.
    I wonder what kind of business you are in -(I can go and find out on your blog I assume – and it is not a big wonder but it did come to my mind when you mentioned it here)
    I also wondered how someone defines “decent” health in today’s day and age where so many people take prescription drugs. I wonder how someone defines decent. Hm….
    and I guess I also see “gratefulness” defined in different ways – and I really like the wisdom you have with choices and other little tidbits.

    1. I hope you check out Liesbet’s blog! Not only is her current “business” is one of the most interesting ones I’ve heard of but she and her husband have lived a really unique lifestyle. Interesting question about what is the definition of “decent” health. I guess we can all define that for ourselves but those of us who are lucky enough not to have any chronic illnesses and enjoy having a healthy, functioning body would consider ourselves to be a decent, or good health.

      1. thanks so much for taking the time to reply and I am going to check her blog out for sure and I appreciated her reply here too

        peace to you both

    2. Hi prior! Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m glad some of my points made you think and wonder…

      My husband and I created a long-range WiFi product in St. Martin in 2009, when we were sailing full-time on our 35′ catamaran. With this product, called The Wirie after our sailboat Irie, other boaters could get on the internet from the comfort of their boat. Back then, that was innovative and extremely useful. 🙂 Since 2009, we have improved this product substantially (combining cell data and WiFi), which was easier to do from land, after we sold Irie in 2015 (after eight years of cruising). And, no, I would not recommend starting a business in the middle of nowhere and then running it from remote islands in the Pacific.

      With “decent”, I mean pretty good for now, all things considered. 🙂 We all have our ailments, and my husband has an unfortunate history health-wise. We realize a lot can change in a moment’s notice, so we are happy with our current “decent” health situation. I don’t take any prescription meds. In Belgium, where I”m from, it’s not as common as in the States.

      1. well thx for taking the time to share all that! and how exciting to hear the way the business story unfolded – and best wishes as you grow with it – and I can see how you said this is not the typical path – wow – different journey for sure.

        and wishing you a great day

  5. “Orh Orh” says the seal clapping his flippers, along with me applauding your wonderful guest post on Janis’ blog, Liesbet! I just read your other post and see that you are getting some relaxation but writing up a storm! Gratitude is such a value, however expressed, and for those who do, I believe we live just a little bit longer, healthier lives. I feel somewhat “retired” in the summer months, even though I have school prep work to do. I have managed to get back to writing more in my “No Excuses Fitness” book that I put on hold last summer, so I am grateful for my summers with little obligation to get back to that. We will be in San Diego in two weeks for my bother’s wedding, then in September for our 40 year High school reunion! Grateful to be part of it all!

    1. I agree with you Terri… people who feel and express gratitude are usually happier (and they are nicer to be around) than those who dwell on negatives in their lives. It sounds like you will be pretty busy when you are in San Diego, but let me know if you have any free time!

    2. I wish I was writing up a storm, Terri, but right now, the whole writing episode is on the back burner, while we wrap up a few things in Belgium and Massachusetts. It’s a busy summer for sure. Luckily, there is some “scheduled” relaxation time with the youngest of the family members, and hopefully once we are back in Zesty out west.

      Good for you to have been reconnected with your work in progress and for making progress with it. Awesome! Summer – or at least June and July – seems to be productive for you, while I’m bathing in distractions. 🙂 Enjoy your visits to San Diego. Maybe you can squeeze in a meeting with Janis. Mark and I were just offered a three-week house and dog sit in this lovely city (different one than last winter) in September, but declined, since we will be on Vancouver Island then. If our “plans” work out.

  6. Thanks Liesbet for the different take on gratitude (and for the seal pic). I do believe we should have gratitude for ourselves and the choices we’ve made. For example, I often say I’m grateful for my good health–part of that is good genes, I’m sure, and access to healthcare and nutritious food, but part is also the choices I make to take care of myself–and I am grateful for those decisions and the effort I put forth. I just haven’t thought of it in terms of gratitude before.

    1. The health situation is such an important part of our lives, isn’t it? I never gave this much thought when I was younger (like most, probably). It takes a big shock, close to you, to open your eyes about its pole position in life. Since that happened to me and my husband, we adjusted our diet even more (not that we were eating unhealthy before). So, we do what we can to eat healthy and varied and fight what can be fought, but those genes, Christie, they could (and have for his sister) ruin everything!

  7. I love this post Liesbet and agree with your list of items you are grateful for … those would all be my choices as well. The picture of you lounging with your seal or sea lion friend is really special. You both look pretty comfy. I’m going to take a spin on your blog – thanks to Janis for sharing your thoughts with us.

      1. Sea lions “walk” on land, using their flippers and have visible ears (with tiny flaps). Seals miss the “external” ears and glide and wriggle when moving on shore. They have smaller flippers as well. 🙂 I think sea lions are generally bigger then seals, and brown instead of grey-ish.

      2. Janis – that was the best picture … the two of them lounging on identical chairs. It made me smile. I did enjoy exploring Liesbet’s blog a little – how envious I am of travelling so light and seeing the world with absolutely no ties. What an exciting life!

    1. Hi Linda! Nice to meet another like-minded soul. I’m sure if we think deep and long, our list would become unending. So many small things to be grateful for, but that we take for granted. Like my husband saying “Look at that sea lion on the reclining chair! Why don’t you lie down on the one next to him?” a few years ago. 🙂

      1. Yes, I am a nature lover as well Liesbet, but I could never compare to what you are seeing in your travels and brushes with nature. What an exciting life you lead with your travels. I did travel a lot in my 20s and 30s, but have not take any trips since 1983. Your husband was smart to suggest that you sit next to the sea lion – here I was thinking you were there first!

  8. Lovely post by Liesbet (as always) and I particularly love the photo of the seal lounging alongside! I am grateful for many of the same things, because as soon as I focus on being grateful I feel happy rather than anxious or fearful…. I recently spoke with my 94 year old father who told me he was grateful just to wake up each day and know he had lived another day. So yes I believe that age is very relevant.

    Peta

    1. It’s so important that we can see the positive things in life, Peta. In general, I have always been aware of the things to be grateful for (even waking up each day), but when you go through a depressed or bad period, it becomes tiring to convince yourself (and mostly your partner) of these reasons to be happy. That’s why, in this post, I expressed envy for people who can get past that, in any circumstance.

      I enjoyed reading about your father. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, every day the sun comes up, I’m grateful to still be alive. Thing is, I have been realizing this since a young age, which is good and bad, as it does come with the realization (or doom) that nothing is forever, something that weighs on you at a young age, while other kids live care-free and in ignorance…

    2. Hi Peta! I think that often as we grow older, we gain a greater sense of happiness and gratitude because we realize we won’t be here forever. I’d much rather live the years I have left with a positive outlook than one filled with negativity.

  9. Reblogged this on Roaming About and commented:
    When Janis at Retirementally Challenged (don’t you love the name of her blog?) asked her most loyal readers to participate in her GratiTuesday series, I initially was going to decline. But, when I gave the idea a bit more thought, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to reflect on the things in life I am grateful for. If you’re curious what they are, please, check out my guest post on her site, and feel free to leave a comment there. Have a wonderful summer everyone!

  10. Liesbet, I do think that having time and finding ourselves at the tail end of the miracle of life contributes to the gratitude in the retired community. I’ve always recognized how very lucky I am, but since retiring, I seem to wallow in gratitude. (Although, I don’t really talk about it that much either.) That is why reading Janis’ blog is always a good and healthy reminder. Rising to the top of the list of things I’m grateful for, which pretty much mirror your list, is health. So many people who reach retirement are living lives with compromised health which limits them in many ways. I offer blessings for each day that I skim by with continued good health.

    1. I would put health at the top too! Although I’ve had a few challenges along the way, my current health is very good, and it has been for a while. Too many friends have had health issues come at them out of the blue… so I’m also grateful for “skimming” by as long as I can.

    2. You are right about the rise of gratitude in the retired community, yet, it’s still a choice and a mindset. There are probably quite a few people who are bitter or full of regret. A positive approach to life is so important for yourself and your surroundings, to be happy. You are such a good example and I thank you for expressing your gratitude and putting things more in perspective.

      I agree! It all starts with good health, to be able to enjoy anything else. With love as a strong #2. 🙂

  11. A lovely guest post Liesbet and the photo of you and the sea lion is fabulous! Walking our path in gratitude brings so many blessings- here’s to more amazing adventures Liesbet! 🤗💖 xxx

  12. Remaining positive helps make life worth living. You have the most exciting life, Liesbet. I always love reading about it. And I absolutely LOVE the seal in the lounge chair picture. Thanks for another great post. Enjoy your summer!

    1. I really like how Liesbet and her husband have designed their lives. Not everyone would sell all their belongings and set sail for several years… and now they are traveling around the U.S. housesitting. When that lifestyle no longer serves them, that will try something else.

    2. Thanks for swinging by here, Victoria. You are so right about being positive. It’s not always easy, though, but the effects of continued depression, stress and unhappiness surely proves bad for our health and lives. Just realizing that can be nudge towards the need to change.

      Wishing you a productive and enjoyable summer as well.

  13. Hi Liesbet and Janis,
    Liesbet, for a woman who doesn’t think about gratitude all that much, you’ve got a nice long list there my friend! That’s a really interesting observation/ question you offer at the end of your post. I think you’re right – we attract people to us who resonate with us. So while we’re grateful to those people for being who they are, they wouldn’t be in our lives if we weren’t similar to them in some really meaningful ways.
    Janis, another great choice of guest. I hope you’re having a wonderful time.

    1. Liesbet provided a nice list, didn’t she? I also like how she included herself in her gratitude… I think many of us forget to do that. I’m enjoying my time away, Karen. I hope you are enjoying your metaphorical road trip!

    2. I just love it how you always “get” me, Karen. My mind works in mysterious ways, sometimes. 🙂

      The thing about gratitude is that it is probably unconsciously a part of everyone’s life. So, while I rarely go like “Hey, let’s just sit down for a minute, reflect, and consider what I”m grateful for today,” I am glad when things go well, or when I’m comfortable. Like with most people those small realizations come in spurs, for example: “I’m so glad it doesn’t rain today,” or “That shower feels really good,” or “I love it when the plane/train/… leaves in time,” or “…when a trip goes smoothly.”

  14. As soon as I saw your name Liesbet I had to read this post, I too seem to steer away from the usual over sentimental posts, dripping with cliches. Though your “grateful series”, Janis, and especially this post was not one of them. It certainly brought a smile to my face. Have a great summer everyone 🙂

  15. Liesbet I do think it is easier to focus on gratitude as we age. Often it comes with more time, less responsibilities and in my case at least, the knowledge that one is well into the second half of the game of life if not the fourth quarter. You are living an extraordinary life but as I have come to know you and follow your blog it is not without a lot of attention to details to make it work. Lovely to read more about your thoughts on life and to see you take the step to do a guest blog.

    1. Hi Sue. I agree with your thought on aging and gratitude. When I was younger, I think I was more wrapped up in the day-to-day and not at all (or very much, anyway) on feeling thankful. Not that I wasn’t happy – I was – it’s just that I wasn’t as focused on the real things that gave me joy.

    2. I can totally understand the correlation between age and gratitude now, Sue, especially since at an older age you have more experience and time for reflection. I’m so happy to see that you and Dave have your priorities right and are living such a fulfilled and exciting life!

  16. I do believe, Liesbet, that I have started paying more attention to gratitude since I’ve retired. Perhaps it is because I have more time, instead of rising, rushing to work, rushing home, taking care of chores…rinse, repeat. I think retirement has allowed me to be more reflective – but it could also be a more pressing need as we see our time on this earth growing shorter. It’s something I never really pondered when I was young. And I’m so impressed with your own self assessment. It’s no wonder you have become friends with so many of us who are “retired!” Your perspective is genuine and appealing, no matter your age! Thanks for a great post! ~ Lynn

    1. It appears to me that many retired people (or at least the ones I know through blogging) are extremely mature and wise, and definitely appreciative of life and the opportunities it offers. Having more time and no financial burdens (anymore) helps, of course. And, these friends I’m talking about still have decent health. So important! But still, I really respect the positive attitude you, and others, have and radiate, Lynn.

      I’ve been aware of how precious time is for a very long time, strangely enough. It might even have been the (unconscious) catalyst of my lifestyle. As I mentioned before to Peta. Such a thing is good and bad. Forever, I’ve been having that “urgency” you talk about, which helps me in my decisions, but I’ve also had that “worry” that life is moving fast and can end any time, which takes away some of the fun. 🙂

  17. My Wednesday night yoga instructor, who is a really fabulous yogi, always ends each session with a brief period of reflection. One of the things she asks each of us to do is to thank ourselves for making the time for yoga practice that evening. Up until then, I have never thought to thank myself for doing something for myself, and doing it always makes me feel emotional. So, Liesbet, I was interested to read your point about being grateful to yourself for the choices you had made.

    Jude

    1. One might see that as a selfish act, thanking oneself, but I think it’s important that we appreciate our own doings, and the choices we make, because those are the actions which made us into who we are and define what our future looks like. Your yogi is a wise woman. 🙂

  18. I left a comment here four days ago but it appears to have gone missing. I’ll try to capture the essence of what I said then.
    —–
    Liesbet, I am delighted to see you here taking up Janis’ on her offer/challenge, sharing your experience and insights and perhaps being somewhat transformed in the process. And what is not to love about you and that sea lion. Is that from Galapagos?

    When I was in my not so happy 40s, it was suggested that I practice gratitude to pull myself out of my years-long ‘funk’. In spite of my unhappiness, I was grateful for many things at the time, even the things I wanted to change. But I felt that practicing gratitude = acceptance = staying stuck and I wanted to change. Fast-forward 10 years to Lisa v 2.0 and you will find someone for whom practicing gratitude is becoming something of a habit. I don’t know if it is age or the lifestyle change that transformed me, but here I am. The only blip I had on my gratitude radar was when we were recently banished from Eden. I had such a crisis of faith that I had to put an entry in my calendar entitled ‘What is the best thing that has happened today’ to get over myself. Exactly what I needed to pull me through.

    1. Hi Lisa! I’m so sorry your first comment got lost but I’m glad you took the time to recreate it! I agree that practicing gratitude can become a habit once we train ourselves to keep our eye out for all those moments – big and small – that make us happy. I don’t remember reading about your recent banishment from Eden so I will just puzzle about that for a bit (did you eat the forbidden fruit by mistake? 🙂 ). I hope all is well with you now and that we will be treated to new posts and pictures from you soon!

      1. I can honestly say that life is better when practicing gratitude. Stubborn old me; I wish I hadn’t waited so long :-).

        The Eden story is all in my latest post ‘Paradise Lost’ … I changed the email address on my post notifications and they sometimes seem end up in spam folders 😦

        1. Thank you for the heads up! I have now read and commented on your latest post. I’m not sure where the email notice went but I didn’t see it for some reason. As I said in my comment, I’ll re-subscribe to make sure I don’t miss a post again.

    2. Hi Lisa! First and foremost: happy birthday! Enjoy the beauty and adventure in Madagascar. It sounds and looks like an amazing and intriguing island, based on the captain’s Facebook posts and photos.

      Yes, that photo was taken in the Galapagos. How did you know? 🙂 I’m surprised to learn that there are giant tortoises in Madagascar as well, by the way.

      I have no idea how the “old” you behaved or thought, but I like the Lisa v 2.0. I think that your daily practice of gratitude is what makes you such a positive, appreciative and happy person. You are a joy to be around, in part due to this attitude, I assume.

      I was bummed to read that you couldn’t stay in Chagos for the time you both planned for and desired, and I can imagine your disappointment, especially when looking forward to it (and the anticipation) for so long. But, I’m glad you’ve kind of gotten over it and have returned to being grateful and happy, discovering other paradises. 🙂 Sending you hugs, love and three B-day kisses!

      (I’m needing a few attempts to post this reply as well.)

  19. Do we learn to be more grateful the older we get? Great question, Liesbet. I think that when I was younger and raising my family, I didn’t have time to wonder if I was grateful. I loved my life, but I didn’t really think about that much. I had to get through each day! But now that my nest is emptied and my guy and I have time to ourselves – we work together in the same home office, we hike and vacation together, we watch the same shows and read together – and we often look up at each other and truly realize how grateful we are to BE together, to have remarkable kids and grandkids, to have work that satisfies and fulfills us, and to have friends near and dear. So yes, perhaps age does have something to do with it.
    And to be grateful, I think we all need a sense of humor, which your first photo is great evidence of. 🙂

    1. I think you are right. When I was young, if someone had asked me if I was grateful I think I would have said “yes” but I didn’t really think about it. Now that I’m older and have observed – and have experienced – the good and the bad, the sick and the healthy, the happy and the unhappy, I realize how much there is in my life to be grateful for. Even when things aren’t going well, I am able to find gratitude. And, I agree… a sense of humor helps a lot!

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