Over the month of October, I built a habit of gratitude. I wrote down a few things I was grateful for every day.

In reflection of each day, I found common themes. I seem to be most grateful for:

  • physical strength and vitality
  • mental competency
  • good food and drink
  • rest
  • privilege of living in a first-world country
  • relationships
  • art
  • written expression
  • natural settings
  • creature comforts

I didn’t express gratitude with any of these themes in mind. I tried to make this an immediate, slightly impulsive habit where I logged the first few things I thought about in reflection of my day. But the themes that emerged give me pause.

Is life really as stressful as I make it out to be? My health and relationships seem to be in alignment. I have access to quality sustenance. I can escape into natural landscapes or retreat home to simple creature comforts.

Why the hell should I complain?

Why should I want for more?

We’re entering a contradictory time of year. We’re encouraged to spend time being thankful, to spend time giving to others, to spend time with family… Yet we’re encouraged to camp outside of stores hours before opening just to elbow people out of the way for a good deal on some commodity. We’re encouraged to make lists of what we want, expect people to get us bunch of stuff, and feel obligated to reciprocate by spending more money on stuff someone else wants.

I’ve seen this time of year put crippling pressure on people to create perfect holiday mornings. They wake in excessive debt, excessive stress, still feeling like they didn’t do enough.

What if we could be enough, give enough, and do enough without all of the stress?

What if we could do this by creating safe spaces in which to exist, with good food and friends? What if we could just make an effort to spend time doing what we love with the people we love? What if it was as easy as expressing gratitude for what we have rather than longing for what we don’t?

What if?

Thank you for reading. I’m truly grateful that you’re here.

Build your own gratitude practice. Here’s the how and why: