It is easy to forget to be grateful. I’m not even sure what we are grateful to – not to a God, because we are secular humanists, aren’t we? Maybe to other people. Maybe to the world. Maybe to blind chance. Maybe even to ourselves.
These things don’t always notice your gratitude. But you will.
It is easy to skim over the small details that make up a life, and concentrate on the big events – the exams passed, the holidays, the parties, the promotions. And they are fantastic – though the fizz wears off pretty quickly – but as the Mad Hatter points out, it’s much better to celebrate un-birthdays than birthdays. There are 364 of them a year.
I have kept gratitude journal on and off for a while. It’s something I like to do. I enjoy recalling and recording the beautiful, transient moments that make life a little better. It’s funny what comes up: the time my dear friend’s teenage daughter gave my little girl a manicure (and that’s a long time ago); the perfect combination of bacon and avocado; the work colleague who brought me a cup of tea because I looked tired.
I wonder what it would be like if you did the opposite? If you kept a journal of things that irritated and annoyed you? Things that got you down?
I think I might have effectively done that for a while as a teenager. I’ve often tried to keep diaries and not succeeded very well, but I’m pretty sure that if I could track them down I’d find they were pretty moany. I’m also pretty sure that if I read through them I’d find I’ve forgotten most of those terrible things that made my life so desperately unhappy. Or they’d look so laughably trivial I really wouldn’t understand why they made such an impact.
My life is a mosaic of good and bad moments – and quite a few that pass by unnoticed. Drawing my attention to the good moments reminds me why I’m alive and why I want to be alive.
So happy unbirthday to you.