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Can we talk about gratitude journals?

One of the things I’ve done throughout my weight loss mission this time around is (try to) keep a gratitude journal in addition to the regular journal I’ve kept on a regular basis for years.

I first learned of this being a thing people do back in college, when I was at a thrift store one day after class let out. This was during the first weight loss mission I’d been successful with, by the way. I found this book on the bottom shelf in a pile, and it looked like it had been read once, maybe twice. It was the companion piece to Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book, Simple Abundance. The price? 50 cents. I chucked that little bad boy in to the cart (or buggy, as it’s called in some areas outside the U.S.). Sarah Ban Breathnach was on Oprah once or twice, and I vaguely remember seeing it after school one day. After I paid for my haul, I stuck around inside to kill time before the next bus.

As I boarded and swiped the pass, I found a seat in the back. I pulled the book out, and started leafing through it. I liked how it talked about coming up with a list of five things to be thankful for each day. As I moved past the introduction, listening to an Alan Jackson album, I saw that someone had already written in it. I wasn’t upset in the slightest, in fact, I was interested in what the previous owner had to say. Since the previous owner’s name is distinctive, along with their handwriting, and I doubt they’d like me blasting their business on the interwebz, I’m using the singular “they/them” pronouns to refer to them out of respect for them and their privacy. They weren’t the most dedicated gratitude journal keeper going, since the entries were fairly sporadic. It was like they’d done it in fits and starts over the course of the year they’d had it back in 1998. However, they’d filled enough of it that there was no way I was gonna write in it.

Instead, I used it as a springboard and decided to make an ersatz “ledger of largess,” as the book called it, using a notebook I’d had living in my pile since my freshman year of high school. Notice a trend going on there? In any case, it didn’t take long before yours truly fell off the wagon with that project, same as the previous owner of the book. This was around the time I had a health scare, and the journal project fell by the wayside. Wtf did I have to be thankful for, other than not being dead?!

Thankfully I made it through that whole maelstrom, recovered, and dug myself out of the mess I ended up in. Eventually, I took the gratitude journal project back up for a short while before another difficult season came upon me. The pattern repeated, and when the dust settled, I picked up where I left off.

Maybe this is my subconscious reminding me, or the universe’s way of reminding me that I made it through all that. It could also count as a reminder that I have things to be thankful for at the end of the day, now that we’re heading into that time of year where we take stock of our lives and reflect on the ways we’ve got it goin’ on.

My gratitude journals in recent years have been Kate Spade or Lilly Pulitzer planners, commandeered for this purpose. There’s room in them for me to write down those lists of five things to be grateful for, especially in the large and jumbo sizes. Along with the bonus of being easier for me to see, that was my favorite thing about them.

I know for sure I’ll be adding good health to today’s list, along with the feeling of a nice warm shower after coming in from a damp, foggy, and sometimes rainy walk from the store. Another thing I’m thankful for is this blog, and I’m also thankful for you, the reader.

Now it’s your turn. What are you thankful for lately? Drop it like it’s hot, and sound off in the comments below.

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