I’m trying to be really, really mindful these days. Sitting on the lanai…

Okay, little digression about “lanai”. It’s funny to me how just using that word instead of “patio” or “porch” makes me feel like I live in a tropical paradise. I mean, I do live in a tropical paradise. I have a swimming pool, bougainvillea, bamboo, a palm tree… my backyard is as magical as tropical paradises get.

But over the seven years that I’ve lived in this house (almost), I’ve let the magic fade away, drowned in the need to paint the house, repair the sprinkler system, fix the fence, clean the fence, re-surface the pool, sweep the porch, worry about mice, etc. etc. etc. All of the sense of the backyard as a peaceful oasis disappears in wondering whether I need to clean up after the dogs. Well, not whether I need to clean up after the dogs, because I always do, but when the last time was and whether I should today.

But when I think, “I’m going to sit on the lanai,” suddenly I’m reminded that this isn’t just an ordinary patio. It reminds me that I live in a place that once seemed incredibly exotic to me.

I’ve often been grateful when I sat on my patio. I’m grateful for the roof over my head, for how lucky I’ve been in my life, I’m grateful for my private backyard and the space I’ve been given and I’m grateful for my canine companions, even when they’re running around chasing squirrels and barking at people passing by from under the fence.

But when I sit on my lanai (the exact same place), I’m appreciative. I admire the beauty of the bamboo and the softness of the breeze, the warmth of the sunlight, and the way the shadows flicker as the leaves sway with the wind.

I think I used to think those two things were the same: that being grateful and being appreciative were exactly alike. But they’re not, or if they are, they’re the same in only the same way that “lanai” and “patio” are alike. One is prosaic, practical, solid, but the other has a little more magic in it, at least for me.

So yeah, my house is not sold, but I am appreciating it, and my lanai, every day. Adventures lurk on the horizon, but I am so lucky to be where I am right now.