This blog series, #30DaysofGratitude, hopes to share bits of gratitude and create an awareness of how gratitude can change our mindset.
Every day this month, I, along with other writers, teachers and friends, will post about all things gratitude. Come along for the ride and let me know what you are most grateful for every day - I know we can inspire one another.
Written By: Gordon Dymowski
Right now, you would think that I would be bitter, morose, and cynical about my life. Six months ago, I moved out of my apartment to care for my mother. I’ve been dealing with trying to get freelance/full-time work, and most recently, I had a bad fall. Currently, the right side of my face looks like a bad attempt at a Seven of Nine cosplay with purple eyeshadow.
Yet, I’m managing to remain grateful….and I am grateful for the choices I’ve made this year. Even though I wish the dumpster fire that is 2017 would soon end….I still choose to remain grateful.
My mother had a foot infection which spread to the bone. In February, she had fallen from bed (while I tried to brace her) and could not get up. She needed surgery and rehab, and rather than doing the back-and-forth from my place to her place, I chose not to renew my lease in March. Putting my things in storage, I stayed at Mom’s place, and continue to do so upon her return. I’m grateful I had the ability to focus my time in one place, and that my workload (consisting of writing web and blog copy for a client) was light enough to warrant the move.
I’ve also been on the search for more freelance and/or remote work, since (at some point) I will need to get my own life back on track. (Plus, although life with Mom is fun….it’s not fun when you’re over 17. And I’m way over 17). Of course, balancing the search for work with caring for Mom is not always easy. (It’s hard to find work when you have to head down to the DHS office because the state has made a mistake with your Mother’s SNAP benefits). And yes, there are people who will lecture me on why I’m avoiding “the hustle”....and that I’m doing everything wrong. Or worse, the blank stare that acknowledges I’m right, but I’m somehow in the wrong…
But I’m grateful. I’m grateful because I’m able to be there for my mother. I’m grateful because I have the opportunity to find enriching work. I’m grateful because I’ve been able to attend events that I couldn’t before….like a vigil. Or a conference. I’m even grateful because, this past year, I finished my first novel which I can place alongside my other published fiction. And yes, my lifestyle does play havoc with friendships and relationships, and although I’ve managed to carve out some social time...it still never feels enough.
Yet, I’m still grateful….especially since I’ve learned the exact nature of gratitude. In the past, I had always assumed that gratitude meant “settling for” something. It meant that I deserved less than, and in my thinking, I had to take what was given now because I would never gain anything better in the future. However, gratitude doesn’t work like that...for me to be grateful, I had to live fully in the present, realizing that everything I need, I have within my grasp. It didn’t mean things couldn’t get better, and it also meant embracing change in difficult times….
….but it also means accepting that I can have anything I want; I just can’t have everything I want. Many people follow the Gary Vaynerchuk model of “living in the hustle”; however, such an attitude is not only extremely toxic but also indicative of the point when hustling becomes hiding. Gratitude helps me see things in their proper proportion: things are never extremely tragic nor are they perfect, they just are. Gratitude helps me feel more centered, more grounded, and better able to handle the intricacies of life. In short, I feel saner because of gratitude.
And yes, I admit I sound a little like Stuart Smalley when I say that “An attitude of gratitude ain’t no platitude”, but it’s not because I’m cynical about it. It’s because, for me, it’s a critical trait that keeps me going despite everything else that happens. And I can’t conceive of my life without gratitude.
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