Sigh. I suppose it’s time to write about gratitude. Haven’t been diving into a lot of writing lately on my blog, because I’ve been so caught up in doing gift guides and tutorials- there’s something easy about writing these, even though they take a ton of time. The easiness comes from the fact that I don’t have to contemplate my emotions or thoughts.
I can hide behind the process of writing these posts that are informational and fairly devoid of my personal self, and it feels safe, but also sort of like a cop out. I have been avoiding digging in and writing anything that has anything to do with anything. You know what I mean? The hard stuff. The real stuff.
Here goes nothing.
I am grateful. This time of year used to hold nothing for me except the excitement of a couple of days off of school, the early wake-up time to help my mom in the kitchen, the parade on TV, the setting of the table with the formal silver and china.
I don’t think the idea of gratitude ever crossed my mind in any significant way, and I’m sure I felt uncomfortable when my parents showed anything more than the most casual, everyday fondness. Emotions were embarrassing.
The concept of gratitude has taken on a life of its own now, and the idea has woven itself into everywhere. Do a search on Pinterest for gratitude and you’ll find dozens of kids’ projects, poems, quotes, all reminding us to be hyper-aware of how great we have it and keep in mind all the things we are lucky for.
There are gratitude apps to help you remember and meditate upon what you are grateful for, and I believe there are studies that show the significant shift in attitude and happiness that gratitude focus can have on us.
Christian is the champion of keeping what he is grateful for in mind (it’s a powerful technique for those who have quit an addiction), and he joked this morning about how he might sometimes take his thoughts of gratitude too far. (I’m so grateful I’m BREATHING right now. We both laughed but still felt happy that he was breathing.)
I’m grateful for my family, 2 cars, a home, all the usual stuff. But if I go deeper, I think about what I find extra gratitude in:
1. I am so fucking grateful that my antidepressants work and that they have continued to work in my system for so many years. They saved my life.
2. I am grateful for my godmother who swooped in and sent me back to college when my parents couldn’t afford to anymore. She saved my life.
3. I am grateful for Christian for having the ungodly strength to leave a marriage he was not happy in and pursue a life with me. He saved my life.
4. I am crazy grateful for being able to stay home and raise my kids and pursue being a blogger. I am fumbling and going slowly, but I think I am figuring out how to make blogging work as a career for me. It has saved my life.
5. I am grateful to have rediscovered exercise and kept to it (with a few setbacks here and there.) The life-saving benefits of exercise are indisputable.
Phew. That feels better. 5 giant, life-changing things that I think about often and then get goose-bumpy. I am prone to negative thinking (thus the antidepressants), and I’m naturally cynical, so it’s been hard for me to embrace gratitude, but when you practice it for long enough and it sticks, it’s a mighty force.
What’s a giant thing (apart from the normal stuff) that you are grateful for?