Day 196: Gratitude

Having an old friend stay over on her way through town. And catching up in the way you do with people you haven’t seen in 20-plus years. It’s amazing, when I start breaking down the last two decades of my life, how much gratitude I feel for how well things have gone overall.

It’s a good piece of perspective. Being able to lay out the arc of two decades and see that it’s a steady trend upwards. Even if there are stresses and distress from time to time. It’s been a general upward swing.

So I’m feeling a lot of gratitude this morning, which is not something I’m good about feeling or expressing. It feels kind of mawkish and self-congratulatory. At the same time, I think knowing you’re doing okay is an important thing to check in on every once in a while.

I’m doing okay. I’m grateful for that.

I think it’s also important to bear in mind how much of what I’m grateful for is gratitude for my own skills and abilities, and how much is gratitude for support I’ve received from others, and how much is gratitude for luck.

Because I’ve been more lucky than anything, I’d venture. I’ve had a lot of good breaks and been helped by a lot of good people.

Exercising gratitude in real life is tricky.

Again, I feel weird sharing stuff like this. I’m on the atheist end of agnostic, so I’m not even sure if “gratitude” is the right turn of phrase. To whom? For what?

I think the best I can do with that feeling is try to use it to leverage myself into being better at empathy for people who aren’t doing well. I get caught up in uncharitable thoughts a lot. If I can take this gratitude and convert it into being more understanding toward people who are struggling, that seems like a pretty good use for it.


Day 157: Take Time to Save the Snails

I was making pretty good time this morning — clipping through a 10k run, with a slighly new route, not going to set a personal best, but doing pretty good.

Then I almost stepped on this handsome fellow:

For context, the shell was about as big as my thumb at its widest point.

…and I dodged it and kept going.

For about ten feet.

And then I stopped.

Sometimes you just have to make time to save the snails.

So I said “screw it” to my run time that morning, walked back, picked the snail up, walked him to the other side of the road, and put him in the grass.

And it happened again a while later. At this point, any “good time” goal was screwed, so I just saved the other snail too.

Of course, I then spent the rest of the run wondering if this was an invasive species and if I’ve actually doomed us all by saving gastropodus eatallthehumanicus or something. But that’s just how I roll.

At any rate, not a hugely profound thought or anything, but sometimes saving the snail is more important than racking a good run time. Because some snails don’t deserve to get crushed because they made an ill-advised, if ambitious, decision.

Well, I’m off to look up invasive species.

Update: I think I’m good!