January 25, 2022

How to Find Gratitude in our Hardest Moments—Every Day.

I’d forgotten what it was like to have a day off for reasons other than doctors’ appointments or other commitments that required taking vacation time.

But last year, I took some days off that allowed for an actual vacation—because it blended into the company Thanksgiving break.

Yes, I’ve been guilty of checking in to make sure there are no urgent needs and spent some time answering emails—but not too much. This is a huge accomplishment for me. The reason for this good fortune is that other colleagues shared this same idea. Brilliant!

What a luxury to spend a day running errands without angst, not pressured for time. What a joy to do a bit of this and that, to tackle and participate in activities that I don’t get to during a regular-work week. I felt like a little kid again!

Has it really been that long since I’ve taken a full week versus a day here and there or a long weekend? Has it really been that long since I’ve felt unencumbered, unstressed, and simply giddy?

Yes! I make the most of each day, but in reality, that doesn’t equate to much—which is okay.

But this is pure heaven, I must say.

My inner night owl has unconsciously come back to life. My passion for late-night reading and writing, mornings not waking to an alarm clock, and days unscheduled—even when planned.

Is this what retirement feels like? I was never interested, but maybe I should consider signing up.

Some of the greatest gifts of this day were the people we met, talked to, and interacted with. Such lovely humans.

I’d commented to my parents that if people watch nothing but the news (guilty as charged), they’d think the world to be evil, filled with nothing but racists and bigots who are determined to poison us all.

So. Not. True.

This world is filled with decent human beings—more than we allow ourselves to imagine—who want to love their fellow human. Craving a smile, a kind word, or a respectful gesture. Longing for care, compassion, and communication.

We met so many lovely people today.

The assumed owner of a card and gift store who had a personality larger than anything I’ve encountered. Jovial, smiling, and quick with the wit, he was a joy to speak with. I may have spent my retirement there, but how wonderful it felt to support small businesses—he being one of many today. You just never know.

My father chatting with another man about the nativity scene in BJ’s—their love for God certainly shared. Different race, language, and maybe religion, but one common denominator. We met him and his family on our way out—smiles, waves, and kind words. You just never know.

A darling man with a vocal Maltese in the food market who was elated when we wanted to meet his canine—and him. “My love,” he so happily proclaimed. Trust me, you’d look at this man and judge—grouchy, mean, stay away. His love for his dog radiated to us, and we shared some enjoyable moments together, closing with a big wave in the parking lot. You just never know.

Another person who was so generous with his time. I had two armfuls of “stuff” to purchase, and I noted four things in his basket, this inviting him to go ahead of me. He refused, wholeheartedly, more concerned with my overburdened arms. A pleasant conversation followed, then a chat about the dogs in our families. You just never know.

So uplifting—moments of gratitude and joy!

From cashiers to customers, neighbors to strangers, it was a day more pleasant than words could express.

Trust me. You can find so many moments of gratitude and joy in your day if you just pay attention. If you look up from your phone, take the focus off of yourself and your needs, and observe the world around you.

Be open. Be receptive. And you may be pleasantly surprised—then lose count of—how many moments of gratitude and joy fill your day.

In this moment, I am filled with gratitude and joy.





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