This was supposed to be my year of gratitude. I can summarise what I have learned about gratitude in the list below:
- Don’t ever have a year of gratitude, unless you only want to do fluffy gratitude.
Because real gratitude – when you are truly grateful for something, rather than just appreciative of it because you think you should be – can be expensive. Sometimes you need to dig down deep to the bottom of the barrel, past all the grime and muck and misery, to find the gratitude. To find the thing that makes your heart sing and say that yes, I am glad of this, I am thankful, I am enriched by having this in my life.
Quite often, in finding the thing that inspires the gratitude, you have to acknowledge the thing that doesn’t. Which can be hard, especially when you think you should be grateful for it. I should be grateful for my excellent cooking skills, but I am grateful I have found a way that all the family can eat together. Because I don’t value the experience of cooking as much as I value the experience of eating. Translation: I rarely cook as well as I could. Of course there are days when I miss being able to concoct the world’s best bolognaise sauce, but that’s not about gratitude. That’s perfectionism.
But I am very grateful for this last September, crammed so full of good memories, kindness and love, that I had to write a blog about it. The Dude decided that I didn’t get enough chocolate on my birthday so he went out and got me more (no, you can’t have him, he’s mine). A friend took a group of us out to the Kinren (or something like that) – a bit of outdoor theatre and it was such fun! I went for a girls weekend to Edinburgh with about a week’s planning. And I started training the Doodle. She’s very food orientated is Doodle. Sort of like me and chocolate.
But I’m grateful for all of that not just because it’s been my birthday month, nor because all these things were celebrations of the very specific relationships I have with people, but because they reminded me of one thing. I am not alone. And of all the things I have to be grateful for, that is one worth remembering. It is not a feel good fuzzy thing, but something that I can grasp hold of and hang onto in the tumult of life. It’s the hand reaching out in the darkness to catch me as I fall. It’s the shoulder I cry on when the days get too much. As they will. I know that.
I am not alone. And I am grateful.