It’s obvious in my town, and elsewhere, that a lot of people have a lot less to spend over the holidays this year. Foodbanks are unable to meet the swelling demand; retail stores are empty or nearly so.
This year, I’ve heard a lot more grumbling about the weather or the economy. It seems that there’s a generally heightened level of grumpiness. I’d like to offer an alternative: why don’t we fill up our bellies with gratitude? In the face of adversity, why not focus on abundance? (Hell, I’m always up for bucking the status quo!)
While contemplating this idea, I found myself grateful for all kinds of things. I’d like to share some of them with you in the hopes of helping you jump-start your own list, not of things you want for Christmas; but of what you already DO have – big or small. It’s a matter of opening our eyes and seeing what’s around us.
1) A walk in the park
This week, Samantha and I walked further than we have in 6 months. To be honest, she had such a rough summer, I didn’t think she’d see another winter. This is already the best gift I could possibly imagine this year: one more walk in the woods with Sam, complete with stick-throwing, and a stop at the river for a drink (her, not me). It was an unexpected miracle – and I’m GRATEFUL.
2) A friend through the dark
Many of my friends are struggling with one mental health issue or another (or several all at once). It’s a stressful season, wrought with pitfalls and treacherous emotional triggers; some of my friends have been hospitalized for anxiety attacks; several are breaking down; but not one – NOT ONE – has given up or given in to their challenges. We are a community who support one another – and I’m GRATEFUL.
Grateful for parsley, grateful for friends, grateful for minimizing my ADHD
3) A big change in thinking
Not long ago, I resented my ADHD for preventing me from having a lucrative career. Over the past year, I’ve reframed my thinking from “I should have been more successful by now,” to “99% of authors have other jobs to stay afloat, or a spouse with a job.” I’ve finally accepted that I made the right choice. I no longer focus on ADHD as robbing me of a career, but rather I focus on the fact that I’m in good company. My shift in attitude has taken me from pathetic to sort of noble. Nothing has materially changed, yet I feel so much better about my chosen career – and I’m GRATEFUL.
4) Having just enough money
I ran out of my favorite coffee today. At the grocery store, my coffee (called “Kick Ass,” hmmm…any guesses why that’s my fav?) was $4.00 off. And – I’m GRATEFUL.
5) Someone helpful and sunny
Finally, I’m grateful for the grocery manager, who’s always sunny and cheerful. Today, I was buying parsley for a new vegetarian Minestrone recipe. We chatted, and then he noticed the curly parsley in my basket. “What are you planning on doing with the parsley?” he asked. I told him. “Try this,” he said, extending a bunch of Italian Parsley. As he held the bunch aloft, he pulled off a leaf and popped it in his mouth. I did the same. Yum! It burst into flavor as I chewed. “See?” he said. “That’s what you use if you’re cooking. The other stuff is for decoration.” And I thought I knew what I was doing! Clearly, I haven’t come very far since my Pomegranate Fiasco days! I was so happy he pointed out the distinction – and – I’m GRATEFUL.
Have fun compiling your own “Gratitude List.” I could go on and on, but you get the picture.
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Last reviewed: 9 Dec 2011