I spent an entire year looking for reasons to be grateful. I called it “One Year of Gratitude.” Every day, I woke up and began brainstorming reasons to be appreciative. I’d then share my gratitude over at Medium.com. It was an active process of searching for happiness or contentment or something other than my default state of ho-hum. And it worked. Not only did my general health and well-being improve, but things around me also started to shape up. My career took a big step forward, and our finances improved. Lots of things began to happen for me… sort of.
I wondered if gratitude was responsible for these changes. Was I fooling myself? Had my situation actually improved, or was I merely more content with things as they were. Looking back on that year, I believe it was a little of both. Yes, I was tricking myself into thinking my situation was better than I thought it was. And it worked. Things were running the same course they had been for a while. But, I sure felt better about things.
My career has seen considerable improvement over the last five to six years–not just over one year. But, I don’t think I appreciated it. I have continually improved as a musician over the years. But, I haven’t acknowledged my improvement. I have grown more patient as I have aged. But, I haven’t given myself much credit. Instead, I have measured myself against what I think I should be. Gratitude didn’t improve these areas of my life. It helped me realize these things were already fine and dandy.
“Who I am” hasn’t really changed. “What I have” hasn’t changed either. As I sit here and write this, I realize what I have and who I am is pretty damned good. Gratitude isn’t about making change. It’s about acceptance. It’s about taking a look at my life and realizing things are actually pretty great. It’s about getting on with it and enjoying what I have, and not longing for what I don’t.
And that is my gratitude for today.