Wednesday, June 22, 2005

GRATITUDE

Sometime back, I kept a Gratitude Journal. At the end of the day, I would think back over the day and identify at least three things that happened for which I was grateful. Sometimes that was easy. And sometimes it was more of a challenge than others. The exercise helped me to stay focused on the positive.

Many of us have the tendancy to focus on the negative when there is really so much good going on. It is much more beneficial to spend some time at the end of the day focusing on the positive instead of worrying and obsessing over things that have not gone as we'd hoped.

I remember several years ago, there was one particular day in which things kept going wrong. My day was capped off with a double dose of car trouble. My brakes went out AND I got a call that my transmission was also crap.

That evening, I was struggling with my gratitude journal. I had two things, but was really working hard to come up with #3.

My oldest daughter, then 17, pointed out that I had a good job and while I might not be able to pay for everything right away, it would help me make payments on the repairs.

Of course, #3 in the journal wasn't about the job, but about the wonderfully supportive daughters I have.

Here lately, I have been noticing that I have returned to focusing on the negative. It does seem that this move of mine seems to be governed by Murphy's Law. I've been dealing with an insane workload, and there have been issues with both my mother's and my sister's health. My sister was going to spend a few days with me helping me get the new place ready, but her health issues changed that.

I am supposed to be off work for the rest of the week, starting today, but 6:00 AM found me at the office finishing up some things that needed attention before leaving. I purposefully wore jeans so I would get kicked out if I stayed too long. Fortunately, I was home by 9:00 a.m. and working at the final stages of packing. I had issues during the day with utility companies, a misunderstanding with the moving company, and an attorney at work who apparently ignored my reminder e-mails that I was going to be gone.

Then there was the coup de gras. Today, the day before the move and two weeks before vacation to New York, my car crapped out on me during a run to Goodwill.

It's a belt. I keep remembering horror stories told by people in the past about expensive belt repairs. In obsessing about all of this, I am seeing the NYC vacation going bye-bye. Hopefully not.

Tonight is a good time to pull out the gratitude journal and start focusing on the positive. The journal itself is packed away somewhere, but that won't stop me from looking back over the day to find the positive.

And tonight, that is a very easy task. I have been blessed to have three wonderful friends in my life. In alphabetical order, they are Judy, Kathy and Wanda. When I put out the call for help (an e-mail, actually), they were there to do what needed to be done. Ironically, two of them work for the utility I discussed today in an earlier post. It ended up being a round-robin kind of situation. Judy picked me up at the service station and helped me take a carload of boxes to the new place. We then put boxes into closets to give the movers room to move furniture tomorrow.

Then she had to leave and Wanda arrived. We worked on the kitchen. As we finished loading up her car, Kathy pulled in. We got her loaded up and made a run over to the new place. After Wanda's car was unloaded, she had to leave and Kathy and I made a final run at the basement and then went to my ex's to pick up a car for me to use until mine is fixed.

She joined me at a local restaurant where I had a very late dinner. While there, I found out that she still had to work on a PowerPoint presentation for a client that is due tomorrow morning. And here she was helping me out.

And, as long as I'm making entries in the Gratitude Journal, it's only right that I include my ex, as I'm borrowing one of his cars until mine is healthy again.

I WILL get through this, things WILL go well, and tomorrow night I will be sleeping in my new home.

I have no idea which car I'll be driving, though.

5 comments:

Jeff Meyerson said...

Ommmm.

Sly, take a deep breath. Now let it out. You've been through worse and this too shall pass.

Actually, the Gratitude Journal is a good idea. I don't write stuff like that down but before I go to sleep at night I think of all the things I have to be grateful for. It sounds like you've got some great friends that you can really count on.

Yes, Murphy's Law definitely does kick in at times like these. When we were moving from Carroll Gardens (near downtown) to Bay Ridge 18 years ago I was still driving a 16 year old VW Beetle. We had movers, but like you we were bringing loads of stuff from one place to the other. Naturally, that was when the car decided to start acting up.

Anyway, try and relax and think: soon this will all be over.

Marie in Barcelona said...

Moves really do make Murphy's Law kick in. But remember, after all this is over, you'll be laughing.
It sounds like you have a wonderful group of friends there. You're very lucky.

Brat said...

Sly,

Gratitude journal…..powerful idea. I’m gonna have to think about that one. Mind if I “borrow” the idea.

You talking about the good things in an otherwise stressful day reminds me of some correspondence work I did with people in Africa and South Asia (through the church). It hit me at some time during that 4 or 5 years of work, that there was a clarity of purpose in those I corresponded with. The reason was that each day of life was lived much “closer to the edge” than I’ve ever known. Their focus was on the essentials of life. They didn’t have all the clutter we drag around with us to distract them from what was really important.

We are so “blessed” in the US, and it is so very easy to forget that.

Thanks for the reminder that I need to look for the good in life, each day …..

Slyeyes said...

Brat, help yourself. I was trying to remember where I got the idea for the gratitude journals. I remember now. Oprah.

One day several years ago my daughters and I were all home sick and were watching Oprah. She had a show about Gratitude Journals and talked about the concept. My girls and I decided to adopt the idea. Our first entry was instead of the three of us sitting around bemoaning the fact that we were all sick, we decided it was pretty cool that we got to all spend a whole day together.

Higgy said...

Sly - I also like the journal idea - but I've never been good at keeping any sort of diary. Maybe this would help...

Sounds like a good bunch of friends - good luck with the move!