Literally weeks (plural) have passed since my last blog post– whoopsee! Most things in my life I like to attack head first, I hate having things to do hanging over my head (I am the crazy person that gets my car re-inspected over a month before it expires), but there is something about blogging that allows my procrastination to kick in. A few days pass, then a few more days, and every time I think about the time that has passed, I just try to ignore it, and then more time passes. Do you see the problem here? Alas, I have resurfaced!
Practicing gratitude seems to be the hardest thing to do this time of year when the Northeast just keeps getting pummeled with snow. I deeply believe in being grateful at all times, but even I can get so bogged down by snow, constant gray skies, and a one hour commute to work that I find it hard to express gratitude for anything, as awful as that sounds. Weather aside, a new challenge of practicing gratitude right now is just the experience of being young and just starting out in a career. Can I be grateful and contented to be so lucky to even have a job in this economy WHILE still feeling like there is some career ladder to my dream job that is just out of reach? Can I acknowledge that if I’m not happy with what I have now, I’ll never be happy because there will always be something bigger and better out there, WHILE still wanting to be ambitious and achieve more? It feels complicated.
You see, sometimes I just get this fervor to travel more, do more, live more! This is a great trait of ambitious, determined people, but I suspect if you aren’t conscientious about that feeling, it will manifest in a more dangerous way, and you might end up feeling like what you have isn’t enough, what you do isn’t enough. As always, life remains one giant balancing act.
To be more mindful and practice more gratitude, I have been trying to keep a gratitude journal. I do this off and on, but I want to be more habitual about it. Sometimes when I get into bed and I feel to lazy to write in a journal I just mentally make a list and say, “I’m grateful for this apartment. I am grateful for this bed.” I try to list at least five things. I remind myself, when I am cursing out my fellow New Jersey turnpike lifers, that I am lucky to have a job to go to and a car to go to it in.
Lastly, when I am really feeling down and in need of a gratitude check, I look through old travel pictures. This practice almost instantly washes me with gratitude, as I flip through pages and see photographs of some of the most beautiful places around the world that I never thought I would have the good fortune to have seen. Sometimes, I can’t believe my own luck. I think, ‘If I never see another destination around the world again, I am still the most fortunate, blessed person alive to have seen the places that I did.’ I instantly turn back into the grateful eighteen year old girl on her first flight ever to New Orleans, the girl who stared in wonder at the giant chasm of the Grand Canyon, and the very same girl who saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time and could not believe that anyone in the world could ever be so lucky.
Ah, there it is. Gratitude at last.