A lot of people have been doing this thing on Facebook where they list one thing they’re grateful for each day. I’ve been taught that gratitude lists are always good; that they give us perspective on our problems and help us to … feel grateful, which is an invaluable tool in fighting off sadness, self-pity and the like. I have an acquaintance in coffee club who introduces himself as a “grateful alcoholic, because I’ve never seen a grateful alcoholic drink.” Powerful, really.
That being said, I want to keep moving on these blog posts, and I figured why not cheat with a gratitude list. One of the traps I find in gratitude lists is that I sometimes am so self-centered as to start to feel bad about myself that I’m putting the fact that I have a roof over my head as something I’m grateful for. Like that’s lame. But the fact of the matter is, all I have to do is take a small walk in Chicago to see that it IS something to be grateful for, and that’s not lame at all.
So, for the 30 days of November, here’s 30 things I’m grateful for (in no particular order).
This baby is my heart. Seriously. I can’t tell you how much I love her and how soft and cute she still is. She’s my lady, she’s Mama Flan, she’s Queen Flan, she’s Missy Flan, she’s the baby, she’s my super smussio. I heart Flan.
Needless to say, my life has become a lot better since I got sober 10 years ago. I’m grateful for the change and for the people who’ve come along with it.
Yeah, having a roof over my head is nice. I sometimes see homeless people with all of their accoutrements, and I just marvel at the resiliency of the human spirit and body.
My relationship with my family (Mom, Dad, sister J, nephew G, and niece A) has improved dramatically over the last 10 years. I’m grateful that our relationship continues to grow and change.
5. My secondary family in coffee club
Holy shit. How different my life would be without the guidance, wisdom, support and spirit of everyone I’ve met in coffee club. Even the people who I’ve had hard times with have taught me things and given me more experience.
On OKCupid profiles, they ask you about 6 things you couldn’t live without. Music is definitely on my list (I hope so, I check my profile about every 2-3 months). Music, live and recorded, is essential to my well-being. Live concerts, I definitely feel a connection to my higher power. All day.
7. My writing ability
I’m grateful that I have an interest in writing and that it’s something that comes easily to me. It’s a talent I’m truly proud of and cherish.
8. Being able to read
Ditto with reading. I’ve been an avid reader since I was very small, and I think it’s opened up my life to a huge vocabulary, interesting thought and endless hours of escape in others’ stories.
Glad I have enough to eat and that I don’t have to worry about where my next meal is coming from.
10. Relative health
I have a lot of things I wish I could address about my health, but I walk around and I can breathe okay and my mind is intact. There are so many other people who struggle with one or many health issues, and I’m grateful for how healthy I am.
11. Having a job
I’ve been unemployed a lot, it seems. But, I really enjoy being able to come to work and earn a paycheck, help customers, and laugh a lot in the process. This job is truly one of the best (the best?) jobs I’ve ever had.
12. My awesome co-workers
Those co-workers-cum-friends are rockstars. They’re all funny and interesting and creative and have good hearts. We go out of our way to support each other at work and in our creative endeavors. And we’re always quick with a smile and a joke.
Some of these seem weird, which is why I decided to write a few sentences about them all. I love being able to be hooked up with a wealth of information and being able to crowdsource info and share delights. Sometimes, I think it’s a distraction, but other times, it’s pure delight.
14. The El
Oh, CTA. You just announced that you’re raising fares on passes, but I am grateful you exist. The el in particular; several lines running 24/7 and taking me all over the city for a fraction of what you can call a cab for. There are sights and interests and sadnesses and oddities. But, I have loved you from the first and every time I’m somewhere an el roars overhead, I am always so happy to know I live in a city.
Speaking of which, Chicago. Architecture, food, music, sports, lakefront, people, transit, and the energy of a city that works. I love you so much, Chicago.
There are plenty of people I’m friends with outside of coffee club that enrich my life on a constant basis. People I’ve met on Twitter, old Chicagoist friends, people from past jobs, schools, and lives. They are important to me and I love learning from them.
17. Maintaining relative sanity
I have manic-depression. That’s not a secret around these parts, but I am able to keep that relatively under control and with spiritual work, am able to see when I’m going off the rails in other areas of my life. My friends sure help with that, too.
I write to pray. The concept of god I’m working with may be very different than yours. But when I pray consistently, it is always to my benefit, and I am grateful for that fact.
19. This blog
I love that I can come here and be myself and just talk it out. I love that I have a few people who read regularly and contribute to the conversation. I love that I have other people who randomly find this and contribute, too. I love that there are several people who lurk, who I hope get something out of this sometimes mess.
Man, I love to laugh. It’s so great. It’s freeing and opens me up for more energy. I’m glad I work at a place designed to make people laugh, and that no matter when or where, I’ve always had a large group of very intelligent, very dark, very funny friends.
I don’t get to travel as much as I’d like due to finances being what they are, but I love to travel and I love the memories of the travel I’ve done thus far. Hopefully, you’re next, Europe.
22. Service work
Having a purpose in life is really key to keeping me on the level. I do a variety of service work and it’s all enriched me in various ways.
23. Having a driver’s license
First of all, I come from a culture where not everyone has a driver’s license. So, I’m grateful I have one. I also love to drive, so I just am grateful for the freedom it allows me.
Yeah, I was beginning to think I was stretching here at the end, but I really do love me some chocolate. Glad it’s readily available.
I love that I am creative and am constantly being given ideas and that I am surrounded by creative people of all types in all types of fields/endeavors. They inspire me and encourage me.
I love blankets. While I hate being cold, a chill can often be staved off by a good blanket. (A blanket and a Flan are a great combo.) So, I’m grateful for blankets.
27. The Avett Brothers
Oh, these boys. I just love them. I am so grateful to have found their music, their aesthetic, their faith, their lyrics, their live shows. So happy about the Avetts.
I am always happy when there is sunshine. It’s better in the summer, naturally, but even on a bitter winter’s day, I can be slightly soothed by a bright sun shining down on me. Sunshine would be the reason I move to L.A.
29. My bike
I’ve sort of backed off these days with the weather changing, but I’d like to figure out how to be comfortable riding in the winter/cold. I was given the bike at the beginning of spring, and it’s a beautiful Schwinn World Traveler, and I just love it.
30. Social media
Seems weird, but I really am grateful for all the real, personal, human connections I’ve made via Twitter and Facebook (and to a lesser extent, YouTube and Tumblr). I have long lasting friends and good acquaintances from these mediums, and I’m happy about it.
Okay, wrote a little bit about each one so you know where I’m coming from. Take it for what it is, I guess.