Gratitude notes for October 2018
Tonight, I’m thankful for the people who’ve been in my life so far. I’m thankful for being able to live in relative peace in relative comfort for most of my life. I’m thankful that I continue to live this way and have the freedom to shape my life by the force of my own will.
What a fun weekend of dance! I got to be surrounded by people who don’t have to dance but choose to put their energy into it, and they also were effective at sharing it with those around them. I really feel fortunate, because I could just as easily be surrounded by people who don’t do what they enjoy and aren’t adding to the people around them. I’m very lucky.
I take for granted all the interesting and engaging conversations I get to have throughout the day. Today was filled with them, and with so many different people in so many environments and circumstances. For as much as I like keeping to myself, I feel like I get to have a “varied diet” when it comes to the conversations I partake in.
On another note, I’m thankful that I haven’t lost the ability to communicate with other people on a logistical level, not having any physical deformities or threats of violence against me for speaking candidly with others. If I lost my hands and ability to speak, my ability to connect with people would be severely impaired. I wonder if I could still communicate through dance though; could it even be more effective?
I’m thankful for the ability of people around me to trudge through tougher conversations with me. Most of them don’t go looking for difficult conversations, but I end up serving them up, and people, thankfully, are able to come out the other end with hearts slightly fuller than when we began. I’m glad that the pain is worth it in the long run and am lucky that this is the outcome that happens more often than not.
One thing that occurred to me last night as I was rearranging my room was that I really only have the constraint of time and nothing more. I don’t have to worry about money, food, shelter, physical danger, anything. I don’t have a lingering noose waiting for me at the end of a chain of bad history or of debt or of bad health. I’m as free as they come, and people would kill to have the opportunity that I do.
I feel such a rush of motivation and creativity right now. I just finished the show Maniac and really enjoyed its overarching message, which is simple and inspiring: friendship. I feel very lucky that I get to live in a time and place where stories are transmitted so viscerally and so far-reaching that I’m able to expand my mind beyond the confines of my immediate surroundings. Sure, the stories aren’t real in a literal sense, but that doesn’t make them any less inspiring and motivating. This kind of communication would be unfathomable even 100 years ago; isn’t that something special?
There’s so much I take for granted everyday, and there’s so much I’m ignorant of, too. Whatever energy comes my way, wouldn’t it be good enough if I could grow it just a bit bigger than when I received it? No matter the immense pain and suffering being experienced outside of my peripheral, couldn’t I be adding if I simply contribute to the wells I draw from, no matter how incredibly lucky I am? Wouldn’t somebody benefit from that and also aspire and reach the fortune and lifestyle I’m already so used to? Let me inspire as others have inspired me; I think that’s a worthwhile way to spend my time.
I saw a father walking his toddler on a leash today. And it wasn’t in just some neighborhood environment—it was in a crowded, outdoor shopping mall with other people around and other toddlers running without their leashes. It was really a treat to watch this father treat his baby daughter like a pet in the park. She seemed totally fine with it, but I suspect her ignorance was her bliss. I’m happy for the quirky idiosyncrasies I get to witness like this.
Today, I made it to and from work safely. I noticed how I could walk down the sidewalk without fear of bullets or meteorites or dangerous people. I just walk out the door and I go. I just reach in the fridge and I eat. I don’t think about these things, and yet I have them and I’m not expecting them to expire before I do. And that thoughtlessness, as well as these tangible privileges, are all gifts that were inexplicably given to me by luck.
Beyond all the fun and fulfilling things that are happening at work and with those I work with recently, the privilege to stop and look around every so often and not worry where the next danger is coming from really is a treat. I’m very lucky for my circumstances and the people who’ve influenced me, no matter how long it’s been since I’ve been with them.
Something I continually forget to appreciate is how little I have to think about money. Sure, there was a period of time where money was tight and dominated my waking hours, and even then, I was never bound to consequences of compounding interest rates or homelessness or generational poverty. Even now, as I’m thumbing baked broccoli into my mouth in my jammies in my own apartment, in no way am I worried about being able to pay rent on time next month. I do believe I can be resourceful if push came to shove, but not having to face that reality is a gift, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to invest my time in higher-leverage activities than my immediate needs.