…if not unbidden. In the past week I accepted a challenge from a former colleague, friendly acquaintance, Facebook friend to write three things I am grateful for, five days running. There is also a chain mail aspect of tagging / challenging other folks to try it, which I did only half-heartedly.
I had read recently that focusing on gratitude has a huge impact on happiness. This may not be a direct effect, as this hasn’t been the happiest week of my life, but then you never know what might else have been otherwise.
Because walled gardens are evil and Zuckerberg is a self-interested naïf about identity, and so on, I am choosing to liberate my gratitudes here in my own space. So, to recap:
Gratitude Challenge (Day 1)
- I am grateful for my parents, Gabrielle and Arthur (1937-2011). They raised me well in the wonderful city of New York and endowed me with all kinds of advantage and privileges that have enabled me to have such such a blessed life.
- I am grateful for my three siblings. We also raised each other and we support each other deeply and we make each other laugh routinely.
- I am grateful for B. I can’t imagine life without her.
I’ll nominate beansie, xourmas, and moo from number 2 above to try this challenge as well, quoting my friend Kathleen, who dragged me into this, “That’s 3 things you’re grateful for 5 days, and each day you nominate 3 people.”
Gratitude Challenge (Day 2)
- I am grateful for music. I don’t fully understand it but it seems like the best thing people do, and music has been part of all of the best times in my life so far.
- I am grateful for books, especially fiction, and stories in general. With them my world has always been infinitely larger and richer than any one person’s lifetime of experiences might otherwise allow. Through them I have gained better insight into the human family and the many joys and griefs attendant to life on earth.
- I am grateful for the natural world, the universe that extends mysteriously so far beyond our little bubble, the planet that houses us, the atmosphere that embraces us, the sun that sends us energy, the ocean where I always feel at home, and the growing things that were so alien to me in me concrete childhood but whom I’ve come to slowly know and love through the wonders of the gardens I’ve been privileged to see grow up around me.
Today I’ll tag Dan, Whitney, and David to see if they’re willing to try this challenge (for five days, each day list three things you are grateful for and – optionally – tag three new people to challenge as well).
Gratitude Challenge (Day 3)
- I am grateful that I get to make a decent living solving interesting puzzles that blend humane and systemic concerns, and that my job frequently involves writing on the wall with big magic markers.
- I am grateful for my bicycle, and the way riding it brings back the feeling I had as a barefoot young boy biking around Quogue, kind of like flying.
- I am grateful for thin-crust pizza, re-heated one slice at a time.
Today I will tag Laura, Ted, and Justin in case they’d like to try this challenge (for five straight days, post each day three things you are grateful for and, optionally, challenge an additional three people to do as well).
Remember, the road to being happy is paved with focusing on gratitude!
Gratitude Challenge (day 4)
- I am grateful for the extended period of relatively abundant good health I am still enjoying, and that when my health inevitably fails, I live in a time and place where I will still have reasonably good prospects of continued well being for quite some time beyond.
- I am grateful that I get to live in the San Francisco Bay Area and that even as I slip further and further from my ideal urban Amber that I still have been able to choose a place and live well in it with a large extended community of rather excellent people.
- I am grateful for the internet, which still seems to be about the coolest, most interesting development of my lifetime, at least on a par with airplane travel and mass broadcasting and in some ways closer to the printing press, the industrial revolution, and the freakin’ wheel.
Today I will pass on challenging anyone else.
Gratitude Challenge (day 5)
Spent a gratitude-challenged weekend and am grateful nobody cares if I finish this thing on a schedule or not:
- I am grateful that there are so many things to be grateful for that it was never very hard to think of something unique each day of this challenge.
- I am grateful for the love and compassion and understanding and forgiveness that I have so often received, deservedly or not, from people who care about me. This helps me in the darkest passages of this peripatetic life of mine.
- I am grateful dead. Could be a simple play on words, a wink and a nod to some of my fellow travelers, or a statement about the ultimate trip.