30 Days of Gratitude, Day 13, Part Two*:
Grateful for Gratitude. Cheesy, I know. But here’s the thing. Last night (and for several days, heck several weeks) I was feeling out of sorts, down, dare-i-say-it Depressed with a capital D. Have been trying and couldn’t figure out how to snap out of it. So I did what I always do when I don’t know how to do something: I googled it.
“How to feel cheerful again” turns up some pretty interesting results, and some really great tips. And of course one of them is “gratitude.” Which always sounds really depressing when you’re Depressed. The fact that I have more than the starving children in Africa have does not help me feel better. But I tried it anyway.
I opened a Word document (because my brain isn’t engaged if my fingers aren’t moving) and started to type lists of everything I was grateful for. But every so often a thing I was grateful for would remind me of something I was sad about, or worried about, or afraid of, and all the joy would go out of it and I would be back to square one. And then I thought about the concept that every problem holds a gift in its hands. So then each time something sad came to mind, I’d look for the gift and then be grateful for that.
* The soap elephant my mother made when she was a little girl and that my grandmother left me when she died, and then it was stolen when our house was broken into a few years ago, because I kept it in my jewelry box and now it’s probably long ago dissolved in some ditch. The gift? My mother, of course. I don’t have that darn elephant but I still have MY MOTHER in all her artistic, elephant-loving (she still loves elephants–at least, she has a bunch of them around her house), simple and down to earth beauty.
* This leads to a whole cascade of sorrows–the class rings my grandmothers each gave me from their high school graduations, the butterfly ring my aunt gave me when I was a little girl, the birth stone ring my grandmother left me with hers and each of the children’s and grandchildren’s birth stones in it… all stolen in that same jewelry box. The Gift? The lesson that stuff is just STUFF and the memories are what matters. And maybe the recollection that I still have a ton of STUFF they each gave me, some of it even cooler–the quilt top my great grandmother gave me made from my grandmother’s & her sister’s dresses; the dinner bell that used to hang outside my great aunt’s house; the plaid shirts from Grandpa’s closet that still, eight years later, smell like Grandpa. You get the idea. And the cool thing? Those items aren’t worth anything to a thief, so I don’t even have to protect them.
Not having to protect stuff is awesome.
And that exercise is why I feel just fine today. Well, that and a bunch of meditation and some fun Facebook conversation last night. Which led to finding Google Street Views of one of the houses I lived in in England as a girl (it’s the yellow one):
But mostly it’s the gratitude. And right now, I’m grateful for warm brown afghans, a printer at work that works reliably, client work that means I get paid sometimes, coffee, almonds, and friends, both those who read my long and introspective posts and those who don’t because they’re so long and introspective. Of course, the latter aren’t reading this, but I’m grateful for them anyway. Because the more grateful I am, the happier I am, and happiness is a prospect I can really get behind.
* 30 Days of Gratitude is a thing going around Facebook. For Days 1-12 and Day 13 Part One, check out my Facebook profile.