A Year of Gratitude

What kind of awesome was 2011? All kinds of awesome. This past year, I decided to use my Twitter account (I’m @damari19 if anyone’s interested) as a sort of personal/public gratitude journal. My goal was to tweet about something I found awesome every day for a year.  I missed a few days, but very few. I highly recommend doing this, whether via twitter or post-it notes or a silent thought right before you go to sleep. Getting in the habit of noticing one specific good thing each day has helped my mood and attitude tremendously.

I tried to find something new each day, though sometimes I forgot I’d already counted something as awesome earlier in the year. Omelets got three separate mentions. So did Dr. Who.

Looking back over my year in gratitude tweets, certain themes are prominent:

My top category seems to be food, which might explain what’s happened to my waistline. See omelets, above. Pie got two nods from me, once on 3/14 and again at Christmas. But I was also grateful for lettuce from our garden, basil from our garden, and the salsa I made using jalapenos from our garden. Halloween candy. A falafel dog from Mutt’s in Oklahoma City. Also drinks – coffee and tea come up, tea more than once.

Family and friends garnered many mentions. My husband cleaned the windows. I noticed when my kids did chores without being nagged. Got to visit my mom. My brother and sister-in-law knocked themselves out as hosts when we visited for Thanksgiving. Coffee with a friend. Inside jokes with old friends. I am immensely and always grateful for my various relationships.

I notice I commented a lot on the trouble don’t last category. Getting over a cold. Kids getting over colds. Rain after a drought. Figuring out how we’re going to pay for unexpected expenses. Cicadas went away. It’s all good.

Then there was nature. Crocus. Daffodils. Peonies. Autumn leaves. Goldfinches who visit our yard every day. Playing in the snow.

I had lots of comments on internet stuff, either cool websites or links to inspiring stories. Here are a few.:
1,000 Awesome Things – my inspiration
– my daughter does her homeschool math through ALEKS.
Khan Academy – another educational resource
TED Talks
Fictiondb – near-comprehensive lists of fiction series.
Newsreel footage of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan.
Project Gutenberg – free ebooks

Literature plays a big part in my life. This past year I’ve found awesome in authors’ birthdays – e.g. Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut. Various books. Meeting with a new writers’ group. Meeting writing goals. Getting paid to write blog entries and newspaper articles as part of my day job. My son asking to go to the library because he’d read everything he has in the house. A student running a banned books library from her school locker.

Events, small and large:  Corn maze. 4th of July fireworks. Biggest family vacation ever – a trip to Florida where we visited Universal Islands of Adventure (one a side note, the Forbidden Journey is the best amusement park ride I’ve ever experienced) and my kids saw the ocean for the first time.

Those that defy categorization:
2/24/11: W. Shatner singing Mr. Tambourine Man & L. Nimoy singing Where Is Love on same CD
3/7/11: Using the large almost-vintage paper-cutter at work, with its dials and wheels. A combination of meditation & steampunk.
7/19/11: Seeing the interior lights come on when I click the unlocker in the direction of my van. It looks so happy to see me!
10/17/11: Curly hair being considered cool again. Thanks Alex Kingston and River Song!

And finally, one from a category I think of as “In Retrospect, the Joke’s on Me.”
“10/22/11: Procured winter coat for son at a great price.”  Yeah, he’s already outgrown it.