February 22, 2017

I Did Gratitude Wrong My Whole Adult Life

I always thought of gratitude as a basic thing.

I’m grateful for what I have.

Thank you.

Boom. Done.

But it’s not. There’s so much more to gratitude and I think I finally get it.

If you have kids, you’ll know about giving the little shits gifts. Xmas, birthday, whatever.

As a parent, generally, you want your kid to enjoy the thing you got him/her. You want them to treasure it.

After all, you spend hard-earned money on it and took the time to purchase it.

So it sucks, really sucks, when the kid takes the gift, opens it and says, “Thanks, what else did you get me?”

Not enjoying the gift or the thoughts behind it. Looking for the next one already.

It feels like that gift, and effort, was a total waste.

A slap in the face, as it were.

This is what I was doing with gratitude.

I’m sitting here in my studio, writing this email and right now I am truly grateful for where I am. I’m not looking for the next big move. I’m not running myself ragged trying to get things done.

I am enjoying the gift I have right now.

A year ago…hell…two years ago, this was my dream. Have my own art space. Paintings on the walls. People coming by to learn, chat or discuss business.

My own autonomy on my day and space.

When I got the space, I was thrilled. Definitely. But I treated it like last year’s dream.

Meh… space…thanks. What’s next?

I admit it’s taken me until last week or so to get this. REALLY get it.

Maybe because I had already stopped looking around with jealousy at other people’s successes.

Maybe because I slowed down to enjoy the place where I am right now.

Maybe because we’re getting ready to move house again and it’s made me remember where I’ve been and how much things have changed.

I don’t know.

I do know that when the thought hit, I was painting, and it actually made me stop.

This is gratitude to me.

For the place where I’m at in life. For the people around me. For the skills I’ve grown into. I am truly grateful.

Not when I’m thinner. Not when I’m more successful. Not when I have an overflowing schedule of events.

Now. Right now.