The Elusive “Attitude of Gratitude”

I’m not a “30 days of gratitude” person.

I’ve tried. Oh, believe me, how I have tried. Many a November I’ve tried to get into an attitude of gratitude and post daily on social media about all the things I’m thankful for.

And, I’ve failed miserably every time.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think being grateful is WONDERFUL. And I completely recognize the value that gratitude brings to our lives. After all, as Brene Brown teaches, it is the only thing that can help us overcome the “foreboding joy” that so many of us take on to avoid vulnerability and our deepest insecurities.

That doesn’t mean I’m good at it.

But this year, I did something different. I decided that, for the month of November, I was going to journal – privately – about the things I was thankful for. One thing each day. And you know what? If I skipped a day, I could catch up later. No judgement. No outside validation. Just me, a pen and a notebook making a few notes about what’s good in life.

Shockingly enough – I actually did it!

And today, December 1, I went back and read each of those 30 items.

It. Was. Awesome.

From little things like my favorite podcasts and floating tiki bars (we went to Key West for Thanksgiving!) to the big things like the people and things in my life, re-reading this list brought me so much joy. I was literally smiling as I took the time to revisit each item.

I’m not saying I’m going to keep doing this every day for forever and ever, amen. But I see the value in creating this practice. I feel the light that comes when I remember how much I have and how fortunate I am. And I’m experiencing the satisfaction that comes with actually doing something I said I wanted to do.

And that’s something to be appreciative of.

30 Days of Gratitude

I am thankful for…

  1. My dog and how he helps me feel silly, shameless, overwhelming love.
  2. Seeing my friends’ kids grow up, seeing my friends become awesome parents and getting the opportunity to be “Aunt Amanda.”
  3. Having the financial ability to choose healthy food and buy little things that bring me joy.
  4. Having health insurance that makes mental health care affordable.
  5. Quiet mornings in front of the fireplace, snuggled under a blanket with a book and my journal.
  6. Having the means for a winter coat and gloves/hats/scarves when I know there’s many who don’t.
  7. Having 6 months’ worth of savings in the bank!! (Yay for financial security!)
  8. The fact that, even after more than a decade together, the hubs and I still have fun and laugh together.
  9. The time and ability to hang out with friends and enjoy each others’ company.
  10. Witnessing the awesome parents many of our friends are and watching them raise the next generation – it gives me hope for the future and makes me admire how awesome our friends are even more. (Just realizing this came up twice!)
  11. A flexible schedule that allows me to take care of myself, help others and get work done.
  12. Patience and good brakes on snowy roads.
  13. The ‘pause’ – the self-awareness to go, “Is this really how I want to react/feel right now?” and the personal growth that pause signals.
  14. Having someone clean my house!
  15. My health and that – on the whole – I’m a pretty healthy 30-something and that my body facilitates the things I want to do.
  16. Time to hang out with my sister and her fiance!
  17. Fandom! I’m loving the joy and enthusiasm of things like the Binge Mode podcast and Disney+ – it makes life fun!
  18. A relatively chill weekend of doing mostly nothing – and enjoying it.
  19. A morning with no phone calls or meetings, where I can pack, tackle a few work items and relax before getting on a plane.
  20. The chance to facilitate a two-day workshop with my “work best friend.”
  21. The fact that my workshop sessions went well and that I was feeling connected to the group.
  22. A good (long!) night of rest and no evening/morning commitments.
  23. Being in Florida, where it’s warm and the sun shines!
  24. Getting back into my morning routine a bit – reading, journaling and listening to a podcast.
  25. My supervisor, who both pushes me to get better AND celebrates the good work I do/the unique skills and strengths I bring to the table.
  26. A network of people doing cool things and presenting cool opportunities.
  27. Time to read and learn.
  28. Spending Thanksgiving in the sunshine with people I love.
  29. Tiki bars! Aka – cool experiences that are fun and allow me to see the world in new ways.
  30. Safe travel home after a wonderful vacation.