One a Day is More Than A Vitamin
Do you know the best way to find your lost car keys?
The fastest way to see if you have enough creamer for the morning coffee?
The easiest way to see if the dishes in the dishwasher are clean?
Some of you are thinking to yourselves “I’ll ask my partner/mom/housekeeper/child.” That works, at least that works once of twice. But if you don’t know where the good stuff is hiding you won’t be able to find it on your own. You either get used to it missing or you try to replace it, so you won’t miss it so much.
That’s true for lost tangible, physical items, and it’s also true about items that fill you with joy and gratitude. You need to get practice at looking for things yourself so you will know how to find them on your own.
That’s why I started the #31DaysofGratitude practice in October 2012. I had finished September with an annoying buzz in my ears. Not Michigan mosquitos, but the sound of my own whining and discontent over what, at the time, must have seemed very important and irksome. The fact that I can’t remember what it was six years later tells me it couldn’t have been that bad. I had gotten into the habit of feeling discontented over small annoyances.
Determined to break out of the sticky and stinking rut of dissatisfaction that I had plodded through for too long, I decided to find and publicly remark on one thing for which I was thankful. Not just for that one day, but for every day in October.
I can guess what you are thinking. “What’s up with October? Why not November? In November you’d practically have a gimme day due to Thanksgiving!” And that’s exactly why. November already has a head start in the gratitude department.
Stores break out Thanksgiving cards, Grocery stores mark the Halloween candy down 75% so fast it can make your sweet tooth spin, just so they can break out the Harvest decorations and make those plastic pumpkins into Pilgrim pumpkins for the holiday table. Turkeys are in every circular and radio commercial. Pumpkin-spice everything takes over the world. The more you eat, the more you have, the more excess you can groaningly protest, the more November tells you to be thankful.
And above all these things flies the banner of Thanksgiving and Gratitude. I decided to break free of the expected and share a little love in October.
It takes discipline, especially as I share it on my personal Facebook page. At first, I wondered if people would mock me; maybe call me out for being too Pollyanna about things. To my surprise, that didn’t happen. A few people have joined me in the practice over the past six years and that is going to be one of the things for which I thankful should they continue it this year.
What I found most surprising is the way looking for, remarking on, and expressing gratitude for something for 31 straight days changed me. Just knowing that I was going to sit down and make a post at some point during the day had me looking for the good around me. Just like those lost keys I used as an example in the first paragraph, practice makes perfect when it comes to finding something. When I was determined to find something for which was grateful, I started noticing more and more things that fit that description.
Maybe it’s like the game we played when I was a child. One of those games that parents teach their children to have some peace and cooperation during long drives. Sometimes we would be given a specific state’s license plate to find, other times a car of a certain color, maybe we had to see and call out farm animals- always it was aimed at having us look for something particular in the surroundings as we went along in our journey.
That’s what the #31DaysOfGratitude is for me. I am assigning myself to pay attention as I take this one-way journey through my life. To increase the peace and contentment enjoyed by myself and those around me I am seeking to notice and publicly comment on the positive. More than that; to replace habitual complaints with comment of something for which I am grateful.
I’m not saying you have to join me, I’m not saying you are wrong if you don’t join me, I’m not saying you need to pay attention to me as I make my public posts during October.
I am saying you might want to think back at the voices you’ve heard around you for the past month, three months, 12 months, maybe a couple of years; do you want to change what you have been hearing? If the answer is yes, then I encourage you to be the change and lead the way. Maybe one day at a time. Maybe in October. Maybe now. You may be surprised at what you find.
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If you are curious about what I find and comment on during my #31DaysOfGratitude you can find me on my Facebook page, or check out the daily post in my Facebook Group for Vocal Creators AND for people that enjoy reading what they create: The Vocal Creator Support Group. You don't need to join, everyone is welcome to read, observe, comment, or contribute their opinions.