'Attitude of Gratitude'

E&G | Issue 57

Photo credit: Anne Taintor

I spent yesterday morning scraping boogers off of some walls before guests arrived for Thanksgiving. My children have taken to not just picking their noses but also wiping the contents on whatever wall they happen to be near. I know. Gross, gross, grossity, whattheactualfuck, gross. It really is the height of laziness. Get up and get a tissue you lazy bums!

The nasty stuff that is dealt with before hosting any event is rarely the topic at the dinner table but I think it should be. “I spent my morning bleaching the fuck out of the toilet” should be said in the same breath as “Could you please pass the gravy?” That way, everyone will know just how human you are and, perhaps, will also be encouraged to talk about their toilets or booger walls. I think it would be a step in the right direction for all of us. Don’t you? Hiding our humanity is so counterproductive to our evolution as a species. 

Despite the booger walls and toilet scrubbing, our Thanksgiving went off without a hitch. Those who came brought love in the form of appetizers, side dishes, pudding delights, conversations, and hugs. We talked about Thanksgivings past and traditions that have stood the test of time; we ate far too much and still found room for Jan’s amazing pies and Becky’s famous Auntie Dot’s cookies. I flipped my brother off while we cleaned the kitchen for telling me I ADDd myself away from the central task of washing dishes to the equally important job of storing food. In his defense, I did, indeed, leave the sink full of dishes with the water running but at least I didn’t ADD myself upstairs for a nap or something like that. 

The crescendo of a high holiday can be exhausting and, at times, a little overwhelming. There is so much hype leading up to these big days that it is easy to get swallowed whole by the denouement of the actual celebration. I have learned, over time, to pull myself out of that fray just enough. Sure I get caught up just like the rest with all the preparations and curse my children with every booger I have to scrape, but I have learned that breathing through it all and stopping every so often to just be grateful for all the shenanigans has worked wonders. Sharing my bare-naked humanity through writing is also key. Sorry you have an image of snotty walls in your head now. I assure you it was far worse for me.

A good friend of mine wrote something on Facebook yesterday and she has given me permission to share it with you. I knew her back when the world tried to swallow us in different ways and I admire her strength, courage, and determination. If she reads this piece, she will notice all the grammatical errors but won’t unfriend me and for that I am eternally grateful. Roomies no more but I can still hear her cackling at Talk Soup, that contagious laugh that made us friends. So lucky that Holy Cross put us weirdos together (no offense). Her openness about her unique human experience inspired me to start writing this publication; an openness that I am certain continues to help so many others. Her post from Thanksgiving is the perfect sentiment to end with. As we roll into the next holidays, be sure to catch the ‘attitude of gratitude’. It works and will help you breathe through booger walls and nasty toilets.

“There's a cheesy aphorism I learned in AA and in recovery from depression: "Catch the attitude of gratitude." I thought it was stupid at first (still do a little bit), but my own attitude of resentment and anxiety didn't seem to be working out too well for me, so I gave gratitude a try. It has turned out to be life-changing. So have a great Thanksgiving with family and friends, but keep the attitude of gratitude all year round - after the food and the gatherings, when you're all alone with yourself and your feelings. If it works for you like it has for me, you can thank me next year.”

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