Wednesday, June 20, 2012

the gratitude list

When you do find humor in trying times, one of the first and most important changes you experience is that you see your perplexing problems in a new way - you suddenly have a new perspective on them. -- Allen Klein

Probably I've mentioned somewhere, or you might have noticed on your own, that I am not necessarily the world's most cheerful person. In fact, a lot of times I'm just downright cranky and depressing.

I chalk it up to a severe, chronic, long-diagnosed mood disorder. Others chalk it up to incivility and general pissiness. I welcome you to think what you please.

But a friend studying positive psychology got me doing these daily gratitude lists. And in the midst of what was a fairly crappy day, I wanted to point out some pleasant, or fun, or thoughtful moments -- to show that I can do it, and to show *you* how to do it. Today was Day 67. I haven't missed a day since I finally decided to do them. (He'd been after me for awhile. :-)

Today I apparently was especially scatter-brained, and so I am especially thankful for:

-- The older lady who chased me through the Gonda Building subway (all the Mayo buildings are connected underground and indoors) to tell me I'd dropped a dollar.

I don't know what a dollar is going to buy me in this world, but hey. She didn't have to do that.

-- The charming young MD on his way to lunch who, as I was preparing to pull out of my parking space downtown, grateful that I didn't get ANOTHER parking ticket (fucking vultures in this town, they are) because of an expired meter, gently said "Ma'am? I think you're forgetting something" and handed me my checkbook off the top of the car. (All together now: DOH!) I thanked him profusely and he held up his iPhone and ruefully said, "One time I left this on the top of my car. It wasn't pretty."

-- The maybe-13-year-old kid who stopped me on *my* way to lunch and asked if I wanted a free paper. I didn't hear him say "free" and told him I subscribed, but I'd buy one off him anyway. He told me again it was free, I said far out, sure, and he looked me right in the eyes and gave me the most grateful, genuine smile I may have ever seen. It's "Rochesterfest" (as lame as it sounds), it's something like 902% humidity to go with the high temps, and I'm sure he'd rather be doing stuff with his friends (or at least hanging in the a/c) instead of taking on this job where he's likely to get tons of rejections.

-- 2nd Street Joey. Joey is going to get his own blog post one of these days. He's in his early 40s and has a variety of disabilities, mental and physical, and yet more days than not, he gets his ass out of his apt. and stands on the street corner by where he lives and waves at the cars that go by. It makes me cry, seriously, to think that people think he's a freak. I guess maybe us misfits have to stick together. Too, I know what it takes to make yourself get up when you don't want to -- not just the "ugh, I don't want to go to work today" variety of "don't want to," but "god, I never want to get out of bed again, I just want to lay here and hate myself and wish for death" variety. Joey deserves a lot of credit.

-- The laugh I got at the (very obviously) tourists who walked into Downtown Book and Video (despite the innocuous name, it's a porn store) -- right by the place I went for lunch.

Girlfriend: (Glare.)
3.25 seconds later, they walk out....and if he was getting yelled at, I couldn't hear. LOL

I dealt with nothing but bureaucrats all day, guaranteed to ruin your mood even if it isn't permanently disordered -- but as I keep saying in awe to the person who introduced me to this idea, if you look around and just notice what's going on, there's invariably something funny or weird or cool or just worth filing away for the next day that's excessively crappy.

When you're in the muck you can only see muck. If you somehow manage to float above it, you still see the muck but you see it from a different perspective. And you see other things too. That's the consolation of philosophy. -- David Cronenberg

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