Keeping Track of my Year has Made Me More Grateful

I started using the app 1 Second Everyday last year when quarantine started up because I wanted a historical record of a historical event. As a result, I take more little snippets of video, which are so fun to watch of my kids. (I’m more of a still-image person, so video is a reach for me.) And the video at the end of 2020 with a one second snippet from every day of that monumental year? Amazing. So I’ve been keeping up with this year, too.

I was hardcore into some self help books at the beginning of 2021, because you know…2020 kinda whomped on all of us, and I noticed that a lot of them kept mentioning the importance of looking for things to be grateful for, trying to have a positive attitude, trying to frame things in a more positive light…all those rose-colored glasses suggestions that make me want to punch people, basically. BUT…I figured it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try for a bit. Just an experiment. Watching the 1 Second Everyday video at the end of 2020 had helped me to remember a lot of good things that came out of that year…what if I also made an effort to write them down as I went along?

So I downloaded a handful of journaling apps and whatnot, started using them, and slowly uninstalled them as they annoyed me until I was left with one called Delightful. It’s a simple little app that asks you to write down three good things twice a day. I have reminders that go off in the morning and in the evening, and if I can’t think of anything, there’s questions to think about and answer. And if it’s a really terrible day, I don’t write down anything at all.

All of these Thanksgiving posts about gratitude had me feeling the pressure to write something similar, but I don’t really like writing those posts because they can come off as being boastful, and I’ve realized that I learned somewhere along the way that saying what I’m grateful for out loud is boastful and arrogant and show-offy. But I’ve also learned that’s not entirely true. Don’t get me wrong, I hate a humble brag, but being thankful and saying it out loud isn’t boastful.

I sat down with my Delightful gratitude app today, and it looks like I started recording my gratitudes on March 11, 2021. I’m rather hit-and-miss, but I do have 107 entries as of today, which is ~321 different things I’ve been grateful for this year. So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are some random things I’ve been thankful for this year:

  • Michael is a thoughtful dude
  • My Zoom tea party group and my Sunday Zoom knitting appointment
  • Quesnel, Charlotte, and Marshmallow do so many little things that make me laugh
  • Watching people succeed
  • Gaining strength through so much physical therapy
  • The kids got to go back to regular school and not have to do distance learning anymore
  • When Emms found out about the college they want to go to and got all excited that such a place existed
  • Nathaniel’s first time trying to play the trumpet
  • Nathaniel’s first baseball practice in the spring, when I got out my EPP kit and just started crying because it had been two years since I’d stitched at a baseball event. That that little normal thing was back.
  • So many things about gardening make me happy.
  • Playing Mario Kart with the kids
  • Free time
  • When an unexpected rainy day happens during a busy time in the garden and I’m forced to stay inside all day and I get to do extra sewing or knitting
  • Every time another member of our family was officially fully-vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Michael made me a porch swing
  • Rachel’s newfound love for full, poufy skirts
  • Reading an article in a magazine about a town I’d never heard of and how fun it was to discover a new place I’d like to visit someday
  • Conversations with James and Denise
  • My neighbor planted a new species of grass in his yard and it was really delightful to listen to him be excited about it
  • Michael helps me a lot. Often.
  • People being really kind about my need to rest and heal after my foot surgery.
  • The drive to my kids’ schools has beautiful scenery, especially in the autumn
  • Renaissance’s work on her witch costume for Halloween
  • The kids like to cook and bake

This year has felt stressful and overwhelming almost every single day, but when I read back through these little entries I’m reminded of how much good there has been that I’m apparently blind to after the fact. I’m glad I embarked on this little experiment. And I’m not trying to pressure you into doing the same, because I always dislike it when the shiny, happy people give life advice. (And no, I’m not what I would classify as a “shiny, happy person.”) I’m just glad that a little experiment turned out well and that I have a way to see the good a little easier now. Life is always full of difficulty and good, and I appreciate any little trick to help me focus on the good a little bit more.

I hope you and yours have a lovely weekend. Given the international nature of my friends reading the blog these days, I wish my American friends a happy Thanksgiving, and my Celsius friends a fantastic end of November. Whether or not you have a holiday tomorrow, I hope the end of this week, and the rest of this year, treats you kindly. Thank you for being here and reading my words and writing your comments. All of those bloggy things bring little sparks of happiness into my world throughout the year, too, and I’m grateful that you allow me to experience them.

Also–I’m not affiliated with 1 Second Everyday or Delightful.
I just use those apps and like them a lot, so I wanted to share a good thing.

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