Today in Gratitude

For a few years, I've started the morning (after water and coffee; let's not be ridiculous) with a notebook and a pen. I review yesterday and prep for the day. 

("People" say to do this at the end of the previous day. That makes me anxious. I'm doing me.)

One element of this time is a list of three things for which I'm grateful. I have excluded some items from this list (my husband, coffee) except in special cases, because I'm grateful for (and to) them every day. 

The purpose of the exercise -- and I have to say, it has helped during these past seven or so years -- is to notice NEW things to be grateful for.

Recent items from my list: dental insurance, people in positions of power and authority doing the right things in public, being my own boss (haha), and sunny mornings. I also often gauge the quality of sleep the previous night, because it helps me set reasonable expectations for the day.

And yet, those lists don't tell the whole story. Here are some things I left out. 

I had dental work, which I'm not quite ready to be grateful for yet. (In A Wrinkle in Time, Meg knows if she loves that thing, it would be destroyed, but she can't, so she focuses on loving Charles Wallace instead. That's how I am about dental work -- can't quite be grateful for that yet.)

It has taken more than a year for some of these people to do the right thing, and they are still not all-in on doing it. (In The West Wing, Sam explains monetary police to CJ and begins with something like, "Let's set aside the fact that it's taken you so long to get to the table and celebrate that you're here at all.")

Also: I may be my own boss, but if I don't meet deadlines or if I hate what I'm working on, that's on me, and I have to decide how or if to fix it. Gratitude for sunny mornings means we've seen a lot of rain, which puts a damper (haha) on outdoor activities. I can't take good, restful sleep for granted.

Et cetera.

Two observations about this process: What you see is not the full picture. Which we all SAY we know, and we hear a lot. But sincerely -- do we really remember this?

And: I spend a lot of time with fictional people. Characters, if you will. They keep me company and offer advice. This means that I want to be careful about how -- and with whom, fictional or not -- I spend my time. 

It also means that what we do is important. Telling stories is important. Art, writing, music, important. It is our means for touching others -- people living today, and people in the future. 

And for that, I'm the most grateful of all.