I recently read a human interest piece in my local newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News, which has stayed with me. The article was about a local woman named Evelyn Buck who, at 104 years old, still cooks, knits, and organizes an annual bazaar at her housing facility. What struck me most in the article was this bit, on how she stays active and lively:
“I also have a mantra,” Buck said. “You’ve got to live with an attitude of gratitude. You have to be thankful for what you have and quit bellyaching about the stuff you don’t have.”
I read that and I thought to myself: "You know, if an attitude of gratitude worked for this woman who is 104, perhaps I should try it." So over the past few weeks, I'm been reminding myself, probably every day, to have an attitude of gratitude. I'm not doing anything formal. I'm not blogging every day or keeping a list of things that I'm grateful for or anything like that. But when something good happens, I try to notice it, and actively think: "I'm grateful for that." When something annoying happens, I try to stop and think: "OK, but what can I be grateful for here?".
Anyone who knows me will know that I am quite unlikely to turn into a Pollyanna, but I do think that this effort is having a positive impact on my outlook. I'm also hoping to quietly influence my six-year-old daughter in this regard. She's an only child living in comfort, and I would like her to appreciate, on at least some level, how very fortunate she is. It only makes sense that if she sees me being more grateful for things, this may rub off. Please wish me luck!
As a small example, this morning we read a picture book called Thanksgiving Day Thanks, by Laura Malone Elliott and Lynn Munsinger. In this story, a classroom is preparing for a Thanksgiving celebration. A bear named Sam struggles with expressing what he is grateful for, and with how he can help the class to celebrate. As we read, I shared with my daughter the things that I'm thankful for about Thanksgiving, and she shared her own thoughts with me. And then we moved on, but I was happy to have taken a few moments out of a busy morning to have the discussion.
I wish for all of you a joyful Thanksgiving and upcoming Christmas/holiday season. I am grateful for my family and my friends and for the communities that I share in both online and offline. Happy Thanksgiving!