30 Days of Gratitude (The Finale)

We have reached the conclusion of our project. If you’d like to see everything you may have missed please go here, here, here, here, & here. I have truly enjoyed the mental & emotional exercise. It’s really easy to give lip service to gratitude, but actually having to give some thought to what you are thankful for is a whole different ballgame. I don’t know if I will ever do this again (atleast for awhile unless my life significantly changes) but I’m glad I decided to do things this way instead of simply giving superficial answers in a Facebook post. As we transition into the Christmas season let me encourage everyone to continue practicing, expressing, & being mindful of gratitude.

26 What form of expression are you most grateful for??

Writing, no question. I am not particularly artistic and can’t really sing. I respect all forms of expression, but have always felt much more comfortable communicating thru the written word than verbal communication. Of the many regrets I have, near the top of the list has to be the fact that I never knew how to pursue a writing career. 

27 What small thing that you use daily are you grateful for??

Let’s be honest…most of us are pretty darn spoiled. We have access to things to make our lives easier that our parents & grandparents could have never fathomed decades ago. I have gadgets that hadn’t even been invented when I was a kid. Narrowing it down is nearly impossible, but I’ll play along & single out a few apps on my phone. I’ve mentioned ad nauseum my love for music, and the evolution of how we enjoy it is fascinating. 8 tracks & vinyl gave way to cassettes, which were replaced by compact discs. Big ol’ record players that you couldn’t move without help were replaced by component stereos & boom boxes, which then gave way to handheld Walkman CD players & eventually iPods. Now, most everyone has a music app on their phone allowing us to listen to whatever we want whenever we choose, and that technology has been a godsend for me as I’ve spent many lonely nights in places I didn’t want to be in the last few years. Allow me to also give a shout out to weather, photo editing, & personal banking apps. 

28 What small thing that happened today are you thankful for??

Peace & quiet. I’m not going to go into details, but suffice to say that I had more tranquility in my world today than usual. The older I get the more I enjoy being alone & not bothered by anyone’s foolishness. Unfortunately one cannot avoid it altogether. Sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice serenity to get things done. I always enjoyed the sitcom Frasier and fancied myself a bit like Frasier & Niles Crane, only cooler. I crave conversations about literature, history, philosophy, music, and various other subjects. Instead I’ve found myself as a character in a Roseanne-seque dramedy in which most of the “conversations” (trust me…I use that term very loosely) I’m forced to endure are cringeworthy at best, and occasionally have me fantasizing about hurling myself out of my fifth floor living room window. I am grateful for an occasional respite. 

29 What friend/family member are you grateful for today??

I love my family, but I’ll seize an opportunity to heap praise on my father. I’ve always felt an underlying current of guilt, knowing that my Dad was a young man of 26 with a wife & daughter and pretty decent life until I came along. Decades of dealing with my problems have followed, from dozens of surgeries & hospital visits to more comprehensive personal care than most kids require. I’ve always felt like a burden to family & friends, which is why a) independence has been a focus of my life, and b) I mostly keep to myself to this very day. I know my situation isn’t my fault…but it’s not anyone else’s either, so I do anything & everything in my power not to bother anyone else if I can possibly avoid it, which gets pretty lonely sometimes. At any rate, Dad would give all the credit to my mother for the care she gave me growing up because that’s just how he rolls. He’s not wrong…Mom deserves a ton of admiration for everything she did for me, which is probably why I’ve never been the same since her death. However, she’s been gone for over two decades, and Dad has really went above & beyond for my sister and myself since both of us have had our fair share of issues. That sense of guilt has evolved & intensified because at this point I feel like I should be taking care of Dad, but he continues to be there for me. I’m actually a bit verklempt as I write this, pondering just how crucial he has been to my life way after most adult children have moved beyond needing their parents so much. 

30 What talent or skill do you have that you are grateful for??

I don’t feel like I’m all that talented or skilled at much of anything. However, I am thankful for a trait that has developed over the course of time. This may not make much sense to anyone else, but I’m grateful for the ability to roll with the punches. I know life hurls curveballs at everyone. Very few people lead an effortless existence. I try not to wallow in the challenges that I face, but I am honest about things & don’t avoid them. To that extent, I think my disposition has mellowed thru the years, to the point that I don’t get too bent out of shape about things. Once upon a time I resided in a “skilled” rehab facility for about six months, followed by about a year of being homebound. During that time an acquaintance asked me how I handled it because they’d be beating their head against a wall. I don’t know how or why I handle certain circumstances. Perhaps it is because I have no other choice. Maybe I inherited my low-key demeanor from my parents. I definitely believe my faith plays a part. Whatever the reason, I am grateful that I take whatever is thrown at me and swat it away like an annoying pest. I’m not a home run hitter, and really don’t get on base all that much. But I’ve spent a lifetime hitting foul balls and keeping my at-bat going. 

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