It’s kind of unfair that I am choosing this week to write about gratitude, as I am currently ocean-side, with the next week off of work, and only have plans of eating my weight in seafood on the agenda, but I am — so deal with it. Without a doubt, I have every reason to be grateful, especially today… and, I’m not going to lie, it’s a little easier beachside.
Gratitude is something I work on every day and something I have thought a lot about. Lately, my characterization of moments worthy of gratitude is problematic. I tend to characterize moments of thankfulness as needing to stem from the below:
- They need to be big moments.
- They need to be all encompassing.
- They need to be unconditional.
To be clear, there are things that I am always thankful for; the things I know I am endlessly blessed by:
- My family’s health and unconditional love
- Matt’s health and unconditional love (and his family’s health and unconditional love)
- My friends’ health and unconditional love
- My dogs and their health and unconditional love
- A home over my head; a job that provides me with more than enough, a vehicle that works
- My health, mental and physical
- Time spent with loved ones
- Access to healthy food and clean water
These are the big ones, the ones that get added in my prayers every day, and they are generally all encompassing and unconditional (except: my job; that is MOST definitely conditional).
Importantly, I think it is invaluable to have a list of absolute, unconditional, and semi-conventional things for which to be thankful, the ones you can reference day in and day out. Or maybe even, the ones you never reference at all, because it simply goes without saying.
The thing with that list, at least to me, is that it is sort of limiting. Sometimes, I get so caught up in the “well at least my family is healthy” that I forget the little things that I’m grateful for too.
The above list, of the big ticket items, sometimes makes me feel like I can’t have a bad day, or feel unwell, or struggle with my mental health. Why? I have no reason. Reference items 1-8 above. But these things, these big ticket items? They are hard to remember and to value (as well as you should) until you have a reason to value them: a health scare, a car accident, joblessness, a GLOBAL PANDEMIC.
I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s the truth.. sometimes, these big ticket items get overlooked, and the day in and day out nonsense starts to win, and before you know it (or before I know it), I’m not practicing gratitude at all.
To be fair, I’m human being. I am flawed, I am challenged, I am pushed. I am prone to a bad day as much as the next person, despite my many blessings. Sometimes, when you only think big picture; I think you fail the to recognize the small stuff, the little moments, that are equally as important (or a close second). Because it’s the small stuff that makes you human, and not some super thankful, cherub freak of endless joy, that lives in a naive, and harmless world, without any substantive issues. It’s admitting that I do not always win and that all days are not endless sunshine. It’s embracing the real life, honesty, and the true ups and downs of existence.
I’m always, bad day or good day, thankful for the above list. My thankfulness for those items never changes. Sometimes though, I think I need to break it down even smaller, and really force myself to notice the minute things that make life better. I need to be thankful, and spend more time focusing, on those little things, that just help me get by.
This has where my focus has been, the small stuff, the easily overlooked, day-changers. Things like the sunshine poking through on a rainy day, or even the rain lulling us to sleep. A good book, with characters you can’t help but love. Sharing Oreos with your favorite guy, but letting him drink all the milk. DoorDashing Freddy’s and eating all the curds and ice cream you can manage. An ice cold Mountain Dew to kick off the day and lots of daycare pictures of your babies. Enjoying a walk with your favorite poochies. Playing catch in the backyard. Catching up with an old friend. Bud light, a fired up grill, and the perfect evening. A Sunday nap and comfy sweats. Dateline, but no repeats.
Life is hard enough. Count the little things. I promise you, it’ll help. For me, it’s become a game… how many things can I come up with to be thankful for in any given day? The more you think about it, the more you obsess over it, the more you find to be thankful for. Open your eyes friends, we live a blessed, blessed life. ❤️
Be thankful. Sunny daze ahead, sweet friends. I’m thinking of you!