I alluded to it in my end of the year recap, but I joined a gratitude project towards the end of last year. It didn’t really seem like my normal vibe, to be honest. But I kept reading about the power of gratitude and how taking note of something to be grateful for each day led to a more abundant lifestyle. Figuring “why not”, I gave it a whirl, and I can’t believe how much it truly has changed my life.
At first, much like pilates, it was something that I felt like I had to do. It was sort of like homework, writing something down each day that I was grateful for. But, the more I did it, the more I liked it. I started coloring in the gratitude journal that the woman who runs the group made. It satisfied my OCD, and also made me feel even more drawn to completing every assignment.
Even more interesting, I realized that I had a lot to be grateful for every day. I made a rule for myself that I couldn’t be grateful for “having a loving family” or “a roof over my head” or that sort of general gratitude stuff. I’m always grateful to have awesome people in my life. I’m always grateful for the privileges and luxuries I get to enjoy. But I wanted this project to be super-specific. Some days, I’m grateful for sex, for cinnamon flavored coffee creamer, for comfy pants, for a lovely bedtime with Harley, for a particularly fun or meaningful chat with someone.
Eventually, I realized that I needed a bigger journal. How amazing is that? I needed a bigger journal, with more room to write down all the things I’m grateful for each day. Most of the time there’s some delicious meal on the list. And pilates. I try to take note of something specific I’m grateful for about Dean and Harley, particularly after the first week I did the project and realized I wasn’t grateful for Harley on any given day. Now, I notice the extra cuddles I got, or how she told me she loved me and made me extra drawings, or the way she stroked my face because she thinks that’s how people show love and affection.
It’s not that I haven’t had awful days in the almost three months I’ve been doing this. Some days are just bad. But even on the worst days, when work and home life somehow managed to be bad at the same time, I’ve found things to be grateful for. Things like reading a good book while it rains outside. Or drinking my favorite coffee. It’s not to say that a great book will make a terrible day all better, but it helps to notice the good elements, even on the worst day.
Now, I’m not sure that I necessarily feel abundant. I still fall for Facebook ads telling me that I need to buy something that really does look way too cool. I still feel the need to strive for more – more money, more stuff, more status. But I’m also keenly aware of how lucky I am, every single day. I have so many things to be grateful for, so many large and small moments in the day that I appreciate. And, focusing on all the wonderful things every day has made the hard stuff not seem so important. At the end of the week or month, when I look back on the week, I see all the things I was grateful for, and I find it hard to even remember the stuff that sucked on a given day. It’s honestly sorta glorious.