Thanksgiving 2011: Attitude of Gratitude

A few years ago, some friends and I started a “gratitude group.” Each day we try to list 10 things for which we are thankful, and email them to each other. A few years ago, I would have scoffed at this “attitude of gratitude,” but now I look forward to it, amazed at how this small action affects my life.  It doesn’t matter what time of day I write my list; if I start the day with one, I go out into the world with a lighter perspective. If I make one before I turn off the light, I sleep a little sounder.

On Thanksgiving, we expand our daily ritual, and enjoy the challenge of coming up with 100 things.  One of my favorite times of this slightly chaotic holiday is when I sneak away for some alone time with the lists that have filled my inbox.  And then I write my own.

It always unfolds the same way for me. I start out strong, hammering out 30 or 40 things…then I hesitate in the middle, struggle though the 70s, and then find my stride again at the end, forcing myself to stop at 100, now that  things I love are rolling off my finger tips into the computer.

Skeptics be damned; I highly recommend the daily practice of gratitude. Start with 5 if 10 feels like too much. (We all have 5-item days.) I imagine that appreciation for the things and people and life around will start to grow, and soon enough you’ll rattle off 100 no problem.

One Hundred Thanks: 2011

  1. 1547 lists of gratitude in my “Gratitude” file.
  2. chap stick
  3. Clementina Russo, who taught me to cook in red lipstick
  4. red lipstick
  5. Lily Clare, age 8
  6. chandeliers
  7. “hydrate or die.”
  8. Jennifer, her life
  9. Sabine and that Maia
  10. Jenny, her gratitude
  11. Ariane, her writing
  12. Catie, her photos
  13. Ali, her grace
  14. Aly, her growth
  15. Elizabeth, her perseverance
  16. Antonia, her honesty
  17. Amber, her spirit
  18. pencils
  19. David Foster WallaceW
  20. hummingbirds
  21. rainy days in LA
  22. 1989 In Singapore
  23. Kalen Egan, his patience, his kindness, his laughter, his smarts, his project “Knock & Rock.”
  24. rivers and oceans and waves and puddles and dew
  25. vinyl records
  26. live music in unexpected places
  27. The Magpie List
  28. Clover the dog
  29. Melinda Hill and Marriage Material
  30. Sam Muna, who writes me notes from the Republic of Congo
  31. Kacy, who takes care of orphans in South Africa
  32. Scrabble
  33. Terrence Malick: Bad Lands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line, The New World, The Tree of Life
  34. vegetables, delivered to our door
  35. Zeb Knudson, his friendship, his laughter, his assistance in the kitchen
  36. all the books everywhere
  37. my winter memoir project
  38. the sound of Canada Geese overhead
  39. Y: the Last Man
  40. singer songwriters
  41. Star Trek, the Next Generation
  42. all the things that make me laugh on youtube
  43. new apartment: heaters, air conditioner, hot water, wood floors, less rent.
  44. pie
  45. Barack Obama
  46. Andrew my brother, Clare my sister
  47. Mark and Deb, my parents
  48. everyone who willing to support me, my past, present and future
  49. Francois Trufaut
  50. bread
  51. i am employed
  52. coffee, chocolate, wine, tea, cookies, ice cream, cake
  53. Joan DidionW
  54. our Thai money trees
  55. my budget book. if I can put together an entire piece of Ikea furniture by myself, I can make a better life for me and my family, one day at a time.
  56. vision boards and new years resolutions
  57. Dog Day Afternoon
  58. the holidays
  59. Dave EggersW
  60. Lily Clare, age 8, and all that reading
  61. France
  62. Harry Potter
  63. ordering the turkey from a restaurant. good move.
  64. baking everything else from scratch with Kalen and Zeb. good move.
  65. left-overs
  66. my life today is so extremely, wonderfully,  different from what it was 4 years ago!
  67. Papercuts and Hummingbirds, wherever it takes me.
  68. Los Angeles
  69. Petaluma
  70. Olympia
  71. Santa Cruz
  72. New York
  73. Singapore
  74. San Francisco
  75. Miss Maya, all her love, all her strength, all her beauty
  76. Bailey, all her friendship, all her laughter, all her loyalty
  77. Lydia Hylsop, her creativity, her determination, her singing
  78. fog
  79. George and Sil, I think about them every day
  80. owls
  81. five years ago I moved to LA (good move.)
  82. opera
  83. we can almost see our floor; we are almost done unpacking
  84. sober September
  85. Aly and Heather and Notion:Creative
  86. tattoos
  87. 15 minutes-es
  88. Jenn, and Gio, and baby Stella: strength, friendship, loyalty, hilarity, creativity, beauty
  89. cell phones, computers, internet, ipads, youtube, facebook, and text messaging
  90. stationary, typewriters, pens, and pencils
  91. postcards
  92. Paul Thomas Anderson: There Will be Blood, Punch Drunk Love, Boogie Nights, Magnolia
  93. my coworkers and our work-like-family existence
  94. January. It’s coming.
  95. my 7th grade drama teacher. my 4th grade math tutor. my American adviser in France. my writing teachers, my psych teachers, my softball coaches.
  96. warm summer nights
  97. bare feet
  98. long quiet autumn days
  99. a long productive year

1oo. I am alive, I am healthy, I am happy.

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