I've been seeing them come by on Facebook, and some of the blogs I follow, these gratitude lists. People in the USA especially, but seemingly all over the world seem to turn this season into a time to share what they feel they have been blessed with in their lives, not only on Thanksgiving Day, but for weeks. I appreciate that everyone has the freedom to share whatever they want to share on the internet. I read an amazing quote on writing by Charles Bukowski the other day:
"And if there is anybody out there who feels crazy enough to want to become a writer, I’d say go ahead, spit in the eye of the sun, hit those keys, it’s the best madness going, the centuries need help, the species cry for light and gamble and laughter. Give it to them. There are enough words for all of us."
I wholeheartedly agree with that. And I realise that most Facebook statuses or blog updates couldn't really be considered 'writing' in the artistic sense of the word, but 'there are enough words for all of us'. Does that mean we have to enjoy every single little thought or experience or mundane part of life shared on whatever medium you come across? No. We can choose to skip through, hide, discard, or ignore whatever we don't enjoy reading. Personally, I love reading those lists of gratitude. I know of one blogger who kept the tradition of making 'Happy Lists' on a regular basis. She would also have her friends, readers, and fellow bloggers come and leave happy lists on her blog. I didn't read all of them, but there were many that warmed my heart and made me smile.
So today, for the first time 'en publique', but certainly not the first time I've recorded one, I give you my current list of reasons to be thankful (in no particular order of importance).
1. Fighting kids. It means I have kids. It means this house is alive.
2. Prayer. Prayer soothes me when I feel like I might lose it.
3. Books. Whether it's a thrilling fast read or a wordy classic, a collection of poems or an audiobook while I knit, I need books to stay sane. Sometimes just their presence, knowing they're available, patiently waiting for me to open them up and get lost in the magic they contain, is enough to make me happy.
4. Nature in general, and mountains and beaches specifically. I grew up around beaches and the sea, later spending entire summers there with my own kids. I am a true beach bum at heart! But then I found the majestic, breathtaking mountains, and realized my heart had room for more.
5. Family. All of them. Close or far (in distance or emotion). They teach me, help me, love me, make me laugh, and love my kids.
6. My sweet and hilarious husband. He gets stressed out, he's 100% sure, he wishes he could be a Hobbit, he has internal satellite navigation, he snores, he gets hung up on Coldplay and Lucy Spraggan, and he loves me so overwhelmingly well.
7. Food. Glorious food! Not to be forgotten on this day of delicious gluttony!
8. Twinkly lights. They're not just for Christmas.
9. Music. Whether it's being carried away by Nina Simone or Chet Baker, rocking out to Pixies or The Black Keys, or singing along to Connie Francis or Joni Mitchell. Whether is playing my guitar or my mom's piano, singing in the church choir, attending a concert or dancing wildly around the front room with the kids to Jackie Wilson - I'm grateful for it all!
10. My camera. How could I not put that amazing present on this year's list - I am still over the moon with it. Below are a bunch of pictures I took with it at the Pumpkin Patch the family and we visited last month. They are priceless to me, regardless of how good they may or may not me.
11. True friends. I wrote about them not too long ago - I mean the kind you can not talk to for 6 years and then still be comfortable enough with to laugh until you fart.
If you haven't yet shared what you are thankful for; please go ahead. Put it in a comment to this blog post, put it on Facebook, whisper it in someone's ear, write it in your journal, or just grab a piece of paper and throw it away after. It doesn't matter how but it's important that you do. Even when you don't feel like you have much to be grateful for. Especially then. I promise it will make you feel lighter.