When I decided to write about gratitude this month, I didn’t remember that I wrote about it last November.
And yet I think it’s still worth talking about… again.
Last year, to sum up, I didn’t know what to do with “gratitude.” I knew it was important but I didn’t know how to be cognizant of feeling thankful, and I definitely didn’t know how to express it to anyone else. But I was determined to try.
This year…well, gratitude is looking a little different. It’s all different this year. This year just sucks. It just does. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. THIS YEAR IS HARD. For all kinds of reasons, and in all kinds of ways, this year hasn’t gone the way anyone planned. I suppose that’s normal to some degree, but not usually to THIS degree.
Like lately, I find myself exceptionally sarastic when reading motivational books lately. They tend to read like “did you get in your own way? are you not doing the thing that my book is telling you to do because of made up excuses?!” …um, no? I think I get to use my “pandemic pass”. I know you couldn’t possibly accounted for your audience to experience a pandemic while reading your pro tips for doing stuff, but it’s happening, and you don’t get to tell me what to do! Gosh! So, I’ll just make a note of it now, and will MAYBE try it once things settle down, okay?!
…reading is fun. 🤦♀️
Anyway, if anything, because we are in a pandemic, because this year has been hard in so many ways for all of us, at once, I think that makes Thanksgiving look different, and feel different, but also more important than in recent years. I’m talking about GIVING THANKS. I’m not talking about a big feast, or a get together. Those things are not happening this year… But what will happen, what needs to happen now more than ever is remembering some of the good things that are happening right now, that have been happening in all the chaos. The moments of lightness and joy and hope…
I’ve started writing a small gratitude list at the end of the day. It was suggested in Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies (the book I am obsessed with this year), so I had to give it another try (I don’t argue with this book!). So, I try to write 10 things I’m grateful for at the end of the day. This is not a profound list. About half of it is food, which seems dumb. But also, it feels good to be grateful for food. Or like, hearing birds outside? It’s wild! And I can’t remember the last time I wore jeans, and I love it! I’m also super grateful that video calls exist and the internet and texting, so we’re not all waiting for nights and weekends to talk to our friends and family (DO YOU REMEMBER WORRYING ABOUT LONG DISTANCE RATES?! I DO.) There is also a lot of super important stuff to be grateful for this year as well — like essential workers of all kinds. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.
Sometimes I think I’m reluctant to give thanks because it like reeks of privilege (#blessed much?). But I think when it’s approached with sincerity, yes it does call out privilege. It should… When I give thanks for tasty food and a full pantry, I can’t NOT think about those with food insecurity and hunger, and I want to help. So, gratitude doesn’t just change the way I see my life, but the way I see everything. Gratitude offers the gift of duality — of shining a light on the good things in bad times, but also pointing at hard things I didn’t see because I’ve had it so good. It does both. And that’s important, I think, to realize that both are present and both can be true at the same time.
…Okay, that got a little heavy. My bad!
“This is why everyone hates moral philosophy professors.” – The Good Place
(…and I’m not even a professor! 😅)
Anyway… basically I just think this year has been a hot mess. But sometimes things are pretty nice too. That’s it.
Happy(ish) Thanks Giving!