I haven’t written anything on this blog for 2 years now and I thought I was done for good, but things change and here I am.

There are two things to say upfront:

  1. Moving back home has been, without a doubt, the right decision for me.
  2. That doesn’t mean life is without its problems.

These two ideas came together for me today when I read an article about how gratitude may be the most important emotion we ever feel. It seems to affect our brain chemistry in amazingly positive ways, and it got me thinking.

Thinking about how, when we first moved back, I was filled with gratitude every day, but how, as time went on, the strength of that feeling faded and just became part of my mental furniture. Other issues and problems emerged and moved to the forefront. Some longstanding, some new (like almost daily migraines) but all jostling for attention and pushing happiness out of the way in order to get it.

But being here in England is a joy. Every day. And if that joy has faded into the background and become just another aspect of who I am, I want to grab it back. Paying conscious attention to the good things seems to be the way to do this. As the article says:

[gratitude] boosts our wellbeing, and even our health. In one experiment, three sets of participants were told to write either about their problems, things they were grateful for, or neutral events, once each week for 10 weeks. Subjects in the second group felt better about their lives as a whole and reported greater optimism. Extraordinarily, they also had fewer physical complaints and spent more time exercising than members of the other two groups.

So I’m reviving the blog for selfish reasons: I want to remind myself of those things – big and small – that make living back home such a joy. But I also want to share this amazing place with others – and maybe to help a few ex-pats to make the decision to move home. I truly believe there’s no place like it 🙂

So, as a start, today I’m grateful for the walk I took in the late afternoon sunshine, and especially for these sheep who all came to greet me (thinking maybe I might have some food). Look at their lovely faces!