On January 1, I dug out a Moleskine notebook that I won in a Facebook handwriting contest, and labeled each line with its own number, one through 182. It took over six pages. My plan was to write one thing each day that made me feel grateful.
Not the best thing that happened each day, not something I was afraid to forget. Not something that made me happy, although often, it was something that brought me joy. But rather, I wanted to write one thing that I was grateful for, because even on the worst days, there can always be something for which to be thankful. Something to appreciate.
That’s exactly what this project has become – something to appreciate. This little Moleskine has traveled all over the place with me over the last six months. It’s been through the Midwest, the South, and the West, as well as Canada and Ireland. It’s seen me through some really difficult transitions and life events, loss and but also some really wonderful days filled with laughter and love. And it’s seen days of gratefulness for things as diverse as “celebrating life”, “seeing a lizard”, “making progress toward living the dream”, “faith in the face of fear”, “having a warm house when it’s cold outside”, “Eggo waffle and Duck Dynasty lunches with Dad”, and “loping a good horse through rippling dark green meadows”.
It shows that there are little joys in each day, and that no matter what happens, having a positive mindset can help you grow and learn and enjoy life. You have to recognize the silver linings some days, but they are always there, you just have to look a little harder sometimes. It might require diving a little deeper and leaning into the difficulties, but the gratefulness is there, just as much as it is on the days when I can’t choose between all the great things that happened. And a lot of times (most of the time, in fact), it’s so hard to choose just one thing I’m the most grateful for, that I fall asleep smiling.
When I started this project, which I named “The Gratefulness List”, I only wrote in half a year’s worth of days. I think it was in case I lost interest or started overthinking the things that happened each day. The opposite has proven to be true: I’ve found that choosing one thing to be grateful for is a great way to recap the day, and I can’t imagine not seeing this list through to the end of the year. It’ll probably go beyond.
So now it’s July, and I’m writing in days number 182 through 365. There’s too much to be grateful for in life to let it go by unnoticed.
Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers
Atlantic City – Levon Helm (probably one of the best covers of anything ever)