If you are looking for a practical way to structure your gratitude these days, here is an exercise in three parts:
What is something good that has happened in the past 2 days?
: What are you looking forward to? (might be next week or next decade)
: What is good about being your particular age, and this stage of life?
It is this last question that I have been thinking about recently. I appreciate the question because it draws me to the present, a place I seem to avoid with some consistency. I reminisce about the past easily, and also enjoy thinking about the future. But the present? As the poet John O’Donohue writes:
Stranded between time
Gone and time emerging,
We manage seldom
To be where we are..
John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us)
For those of us who struggle "To be where we are," it can be helpful to think about what is good about this particular age and stage of life. I can get whiny about the challenge of raising teenagers, but it is pretty amazing to see two souls becoming more and more their own selves right before my eyes. I can complain about how busy I am, but what a blessing to be able to work, parent, and volunteer. I could carp about my aging, but what a gift it is to finally have some experience from which to draw. I could fret about the current state of the world, or I can chose some small piece of it and try to make it better.
All the best to you this Thanksgiving. I hope you find goodness in your time—past, present, and future.