Gratitude


Of all the things that have played on my mind over the past three months, one of the things that has troubled me most is that I don’t think I have expressed or could ever really effectively express my gratitude.  I’ve woken up in a panic more than a few days over the past few weeks over the intangible – when saying “thank you” just feels insufficient or that it’s been awhile since I’ve heard from someone and that I need to check in them; or the tangible – that I still haven’t returned a friend’s keys or that I simply never even responded to so many generous offers of places to stay just after the storm.

 

With the holidays now passed, I wish I had planned better, done more thoughtfully.  If Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s feel like they sneak up most years…this year they didn’t creep, they felt more like a sucker punch.  In December I thought it was still October most days.  It was as if I lost weeks of time, but time kept on going as time is wont to do.

 

In contrast I can’t help but think of the year I moved to California.  I made the decision to move in October, the same month Sandy rearranged my life this year.  I moved in December.  Of any time in my life I’m proudest of those two months in between.  I was present with friends and family because I knew those moments would be fewer and further between after I moved.  Life was busy; I had a full time job, freelanced part time, and was packing to move cross country.  I was busy, that hasn’t changed -yet, I found the time, I took the time, and I was more thoughtful.  I poured heart and soul into my holiday gifts that year, this year I didn’t even get holiday cards out.

 

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I know when something doesn’t feel right – it's time to change it.  It's not about gifts or cards, it's about slowing down, picking friends and family over chores and spending less time focused on the same old problems.  I have so many unfinished journal entries, blog posts and podcasts and many of them were about how I felt changed.  How I didn’t want to forget the kindness I saw among people, neighbors and strangers.  Now that the shock is wearing off and life is normalizing…it’s time to make good on that. 

 

* If this post seems vague, it is because it originally contained a litany of specific things and people I was thankful for.  As I have been trying to actually live life more presently and not just talk about it, the draft fell on the back burner because I knew I was leaving things and people off "the list".  Just posting the many thanks here was not the point.