Sunday, July 22, 2018

I Like Life's Lemons...No, Really

by Sarah Smith Kujawski

Hi.  I’m Sarah and a self-proclaimed “desperate optimist.”  My favorite definition of the word “desperate” is something along the lines of having a strong, urgent need.  I have an urgent need to find a favorable side of things in life.  Perhaps I should redefine my stance as one who believes in “desperate gratitude.”  Much of my personal perspective comes from the faith I’ve chosen, but you don’t have to be religious to be thankful.

Here are some of my guidelines for being thankful in all things – even when life seems like a steamy, lemon-crusted pile of you-know-what.

Desperate gratitude doesn’t ignore the pain.  This isn’t a perpetual “I’m fine” while the world burns down around you.  It’s accepting the pain or hardship and acknowledging that IT’S HARD and then finding something about the situation that brings hope, inspiration, and motivation.

Gratitude can be big, small, or anything in between.  I believe in happy/thankful lists.  In writing down things in your day/life/existence that made you smile, feel joy, feel alive, feel closer to God/Universe/Life Force, feel positive, instilled hope or encouragement or made you just feel some love and warmth inside.  Maybe you don’t write it down.  You can just say it aloud.  For example – there’s a mountain of dishes or laundry or work to be done on your desk or the ex that’s throwing wrenches in your life just because and you are OVER IT.  I find something positive within whatever stresses me out –

  • I’m thankful that I have dishes because it means I have:  a kitchen, options for dining, family who is home to make them, running water…
  • I’m thankful for that to-do list because:  I have the capacity and capability to handle the tasks assigned to me; I have a job; I’m able to choose my career…
Desperate gratitude may feel silly or weird.  It may feel like you think I’m asking you to drink some magic Kool-Aid.  It may feel stiff.  It may feel very…surface.  If you make a list of “Today’s Good Things” it absolutely can be items like –
  • I saw a cute baby deer!
  • I didn’t kick anyone in the shin despite feeling all kinds of Hulk SMASH today.  I bit my tongue!
  • No calls from collectors.
  • I found a shiny penny!

Desperate gratitude is whatever shift in perspective that helps you keep going, keep pushing.
You’re beautiful and strong and mindful, my darling, and you can do it!

About the Author
Sarah is a people person, irrevocably in love, and mom of boys. She enjoys coffee, conversation, and shenanigans. You can reach her at

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