BY ELEANOR MEYER, GUEST BLOGGER FOR TRIAD MOMS ON MAIN
Gratitude – Noun. (grat-i-tude) the state of being grateful: THANKFULNESS ~Merriam-Webster Dictionary
’Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions. Looking back, I am keenly aware that the follow-through has never been my greatest strength.
Over the years, I’ve done a stellar job of setting the bar exceptionally high for myself, only to fall short of my goals by about the 3rd day of January. I’ve eaten and imbibed my way through entire holiday seasons with the promise of making better choices in the New Year. I resolved to eat better, exercise more, attend an extra weekly mass (or two…), be more patient, stay in closer touch with family, friends and loved ones, work harder, make more money, care less about money, make new friends, give more to charity and be a better mother, wife and person in general. All, basically, to little ongoing avail.
But last year was different. For the first time ever, I actually succeeded in doing one small thing every day for 365 consecutive days. Committing to a daily gratitude post was one of the best resolutions and overall decisions I have made thus far in life. It was a bit of a stretch to hold myself publicly accountable for this exercise on Facebook, but it worked. Since it takes on average 66 days for something to become a habit, I now know that finding daily gratitude is a great habit in which to partake!
Starting each day knowing that I would have to post something, I was grateful, for it changed the way I went about opening my eyes each morning. Just waking up became an extraordinary experience. The early or late sunrise, the first sounds of birds chirping in the spring, the cool, crisp, or warm and dry air. My alarm clock brought with it the sensations of warmth and comfort from my bed and the hope of a brand new day. I was acutely grateful for my husband lying next to me, just breathing (and sometimes snoring). Most nights, everyone had slept through the night without incident. On cold mornings I was so grateful to be warm and on hot ones for being cool. When our air conditioner was on the blink last July, I was that much more grateful for the times we had it and was quickly reminded of being in Uganda, where no air moved for seven straight nights. I’m no longer just in need of my morning coffee, but eternally grateful for it. The taste, the smell, and the get-up-and-go are simply a few of my favorite things.
Showering became an extraordinary experience, down to every detail. Warm water, my beloved Coast soap, razors, shaving cream, towels to dry off, clean clothes, and long slow mornings in comfy clothes are so much more than they were before. Each day became an exercise in finding joy in, and appreciation for, the little things that I may have once taken for granted.
The rainy days made me grateful for the sunshine and the sunny days made me grateful for the rain. Driving made me grateful for my car, the radio and music, gas to fuel each trip, and most of all, every safe arrival at my destinations (which were A LOT in one year alone).
This daily gratitude post gave birth to new ideas, such as Taco Tuesday in our family. After posting that I was grateful for tacos because it’s one meal the whole family loves, several people commented about their own Taco Tuesday traditions, and we adopted some of them. We now have all kinds of variations on the recipe but always have Tacos on Tuesday. We even eat at Mexican restaurants on Tuesday during vacation!
Denim, spandex, elastic, and yoga pants are all gifts. Microphones, goodwill, snow shovels, rain boots, sump pumps, plungers, plumbers, massages, leftovers, calendars, flowers, daylight-saving time, flea control, toilet paper, music, sunsets, Chick-fil-a, Jimmy Johns, the Humane Society, slippers, summer nights, Fridays, teachers, faith, bananas and crock pots all made the list and are completely worthy of gratitude.
While I have always been a glass-half-full kind of gal, finding daily gratitude was life-changing. Looking back, I realize that while this past year was a pretty average year in the scheme of things, finding daily gratitude forever marks it as one of the greatest years of my life. The simple act of finding appreciation for the little things is not something I will soon forget.
I am forever grateful for the folks who read, commented, and inspired me along the way. When looking for gratitude, the sky is the limit, and committing to one little thing every single day is totally achievable. If I can do it, anybody can. So, go out there and find a little thankfulness today, and every day. Life is full of ordinary and extraordinary things. Sometimes you just gotta look!