It is so easy to come up with things to complain about in life. My house is too small. My hair refuses to grow past my shoulders. I don’t have enough friends. The weather is too hot/too cold/too windy/not rainy enough. Sometimes, I am so overwhelmed by these negative thoughts, it feels as though I am suffocating under all the weight. So how do I turn my thoughts in the opposite direction? Well, Oprah Winfrey was a big advocate of keeping a gratitude journal. It doesn’t have to be a big thing…just a few minutes per day of jotting down our appreciation for the people and things for whom we our grateful, those things which brighten our days and make life worth living.
“The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today would be to start being grateful for what you have right now.”~Oprah Winfrey
So I decided to try it. In fact, I gave myself a goal: can I come up with 10 things and people for whom I feel grateful? Can I think of 10 things that add value to my life and joy to my days? This is what I came up with:
1. My Three Kids Totally cliché, I know, but I don’t care. My kids are healthy, smart, kind, thoughtful, resilient, talented, and creative, and I love the heck out of all three.
2. My Small House — Small = cozy rooms and less cleaning to do. Plus, our little house is cute and homey, since I have spent the past 13 years painting walls, hanging pictures, sewing curtains, and doing everything I can to make it so.
3. Birds that wake me in the morning with their birdsong
4. Rainy Weather Unless I am camping. Then again, maybe even while camping.
5. Charles Dickens, J.K. Rowling, Harper Lee, Pablo Neruda, John Steinbeck, Anton Chekov, Robert Frost, William Shakespeare, Mario Benedetti, and Jane Austen.
6. Avocados, cilantro, tomatoes, red onions, and jalapeños. Especially when combined together.
7. My Job (teaching young children from low-income families)
8. My Muse
9. Perfect cups of tea, chai, and coffee
10. Twitter I am fascinated by the glances into the lives and thoughts of millions of people around the world. I love sharing sports and news stories and television shows with total strangers. And whenever I need a quick laugh, I can usually count on some ridiculous and clever trending tweet, like #ReplaceMovieTitlesWithBacon, or #GhettoCrayonColors, to make me laugh and set my thoughts in a positive direction.
The more I focus on the things for which I feel grateful, the easier it becomes to recognize the blessings that life has to offer. Music! Gerbera Daisies! Fuji Apple Pear Sobe Lifewater! Sushi! Maybe next time, I will increase my list to 25. This gratitude journal thing is, so far, pretty positive.