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.