Here we are just a few days away from November and I find myself wondering where in the world the year went. Granted, we’ve had a busy year around MarshFox Manor, but grits and gravy, friends, I truly cannot understand where the last ten months flew away to.
That being said, with November will come the usual barrage of challenges on all the social media outlets entailing a daily or weekly list of things people are grateful for. It has been and will continue to be my supposition that rather than concentrate our gratitude to thirty days of the year, perhaps we could show and express our gratitude dispersed throughout the year. Maybe if we expressed our gratitude more often, we wouldn’t have so much time to devote to the degrading of others and finding flaws in everything we come across, and complaining, complaining, complaining. Maybe, just maybe, we’d start finding the good in our every day living rather than what we perceive to be the bad but in the grand scheme of things really isn’t all that awful.
Besides all that, I find the compulsory waving of the gratitude banner but once a year almost plastic in nature, much like a forced smile when encountering someone we really don’t like but don’t want to cause a scene in the Piggly Wiggly by scratching their eyes out. And, honestly, don’t we just want to one-up them anyway by being the “bigger person?” It’s taken on almost a fake flavoring, sort of like the chemical taste of banana candy. It’s the nastiest flavor ever, in my humble opinion. You really don’t want to participate in the consumption of it, but you’ll eat it and claim you love it if it’s en vogue that week. So goes the following the leader when it comes to this gratitude game we play every November.
All this thinking on the November marathon of giving thanks that should be spread throughout the year started me down the path to contemplating what my word for 2020 might be. I used to exercise this notion of choosing a word for the year and adhering to it, even updating my friends, readers, and followers of how I was using or meditating on that word through blogs and social media posts. I devoted journal entries to that word. Since the great sabbatical away from writing and the concurrent taking down of the last blog, I not only ceased to produce updates on the word, I sort of got away from choosing a word at all there for a couple of years. Shameful really because it’s a practice that helped me stay focused and in the middle of the road. (Focus, it just so happens, was the word one year.)
Between the words grateful and November and ruminating on the yearly word topic, the word appreciation skittered across my thoughts. And, honestly, I have to say, that word is actually more profound even than the word grateful.
By the dictionary definition appreciation is to: recognize and enjoy the good qualities of someone or something. Not to be thankful for them, but to recognize and enjoy them.
Now, really, sugars, doesn’t that sound like the horse in this horse/cart scenario? How would one be grateful for anything if not first finding the good in whatever crosses our paths be it people, places, things; be them good, bad, or otherwise?
Perhaps before forcing ourselves to be grateful for the upcoming thirty day thanks giving festival, we should first look around us thoroughly and truly recognize the things and folks we should be grateful for. Perhaps we need to fully immerse ourselves in those things and folks and get all the feels and enjoy that for a while. Perhaps we need to learn to appreciate before we coerce ourselves into being grateful just because someone tagged us and challenged us to do so. This year, rather than push the cart, let’s put the horse before it to do the pulling for us. If we recognize and enjoy, we won’t have to work quite as hard when it comes time to give thanks.
I’m going to refrain from playing the game this year and sit in quiet contemplation, and when the 20s come roaring in I’m going to practice the art of appreciation. When I learn to appreciate with my whole self, I’m going to give thanks for and to the things and people who earn that gratitude. We have a lot to appreciate in this nation of ours and in our own neighborhoods and homes, and we seem to have forgotten that. I’m not going to be part of the problem. I’m going to be part of the solution. I hope it’s contagious and I give it to everyone I meet this next year.