My sister-in-law, who is possibly the sweetest and kindest person on the planet, emailed a challenge to our family. It is to write three things down that we’re grateful for everyday (I take this to mean aside from the blatantly obvious, i.e. not having/not losing anyone to Covid 19). Good idea, I thought, and started my list. Yesterday it was H-E-B Curbside, lemons, and the internet. But as I was writing them I thought, what about what we’re NOT grateful for. That’s what I’d want to write down. For starters:
- the mouse chewing out the insides of my car
- HEB making sneaky substitutions of their own brand in my Curbside order
- dogs that don’t come when you call them
- dogs that shake their wet fur onto you
- dogs that whine on the porch
- dog fur
That’s enough for now. I totally get the point of the gratitude journaling but just trying to keep it real here in Jackson County. My list runs a little long on dogs, but I can balance that out in the other direction:
- dogs that sit at your feet while you’re watching tv and serve as a foot cushion
- dogs that smile because they don’t know what’s happening to the world
- dogs that inspire this British sportscaster to make this video (credit goes to my sister for sending me this)
If the gratitude journal works by prompting us to remember what is good about our lives, maybe the #notgrateful could serve more as a purging. Why not do a little of both? I’d love to see other people’s lists. Can something we’re grateful for also be something we’re not grateful for at the same time, like, for example, housekeeping? I like the quiet peacefulness of sweeping but I don’t appreciate the dustpan part. I like the satisfaction of Windexing but can’t stand the stubbornness of soap scum.
Nevertheless, scrubbing, sweeping, washing and folding does add to the day’s accomplishments. Every morning I fight with myself about what to do first. I’d like to get the house cleaned, but I also recognize it as a major form of procrastination. If I start cleaning too soon, then the rest of the day disappears and I don’t end up doing any writing at all. But cleaning seems good for my mind, as if the physical act of doing these tasks happens with my thoughts, too.
Making lists is like housekeeping for the brain. I love making lists, of gratefulness or not, and especially in a Patti Smith kind of way. So, thanks, B– for reminding me. That’s the first item on my gratitude list today.