Thanks for nothing

I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do
Life’s been good to me so far

-Joe Walsh

At the beginning of NaBloPoMo, I declared I was not only going to publish every day in November, I vowed to focus on thankfulness and gratitude in each post. As a part of the challenge, I linked up with other bloggers over at Yeah Write  to stay inspired and incorporate some accountability.

In addition writing daily, I’ve been visiting the other blogs, too. Early on, some of the other bloggers wrote about how hard it was to write every day. Some cited a lack of time, others a lack of inspiration. While I could relate to the former (see yesterday’s post as an example), I didn’t have as much trouble with the latter. My thankfulness theme gave me a starting point each day. Of course, still others wrote about the pressure of maintaining quality when posting every day. I realized have lower standards than these writers.

Despite my willingness to publish less than perfect stories, I was feeling pretty good about what I was posting. My idea of writing about thankfulness was not unique, but I still felt a sense of pride.

My confidence began to waver around Thanksgiving. While perusing the other blogs, I came across several that rejected what they perceived as lip service to thankfulness. I read more than one post that indicated the writer was tired of seeing thankfulness in blogs, Tweets and Facebook updates. Readers were quick to agree in the comment sections of these rants. The main complaints were that people writing about thankfulness are either being shallow (“I’m #thankful I had a bowel movement today!”) or behaving as if Thanksgiving is the only time of year that they think about gratitude.

While none of the authors were directing their remarks specifically at me, I began to wonder if I was being a poseur.

Thank you, Joe Walsh, for reminding me why I decided to write about thankfulness.

“Life’s Been Good” came on the radio this morning while I was driving to the store. If you don’t think this is a great tune, you should probably just stop reading right now (assuming you made it this far).

I’m obviously not a rock star, but I can see myself reflected in Walsh’s satiric lyrics: I can’t complain but sometimes I still do. Yup, that sounds familiar. That’s why I made myself write about thankfulness: to get past my problems and remember my blessings.

It wasn’t easy. I could easily have cranked out several blog posts about my worries: Philip catching another cold and refusing medicine; me still not over the cold I caught the last time he was sick; no change in Philip’s lead poisoning level; costly repairs on one of our cars; irritations at work; our continuing struggles with issues related to Philip’s autism; falling off the diet wagon, etc. Or as Walsh sang it: Lucky I’m sane after all I been through.

Should I go on?

Nope. ‘Cause no one wants to hear it. Maybe they don’t want to hear about my thankfulness either, but that’s okay. Writing all of these posts about thankfulness has made me happier. Rather than ending my day curled up in a sobbing ball when Philip won’t sleep or when another bill shows up or another challenge threatens to knock me down, I’ve clung to my daily blog posts, knowing that I would have to think of at least one thing that makes my day better.

I’ll admit it. I don’t think about thankfulness every day. I do take things for granted. I’m selfish and shallow. Guilty as charged.

But I’m trying to get better, especially now that I’m a parent. I want to be a role model for my son. Of course, he sets the example for me by appreciating tiny details I overlook and taking joy in simple objects and activities. I don’t ever want him to lose that, so I’m going to follow his lead. I think that Philip would agree:

Life’s been good to me so far.

***
Subjecting more people to my thankfulness by linking up with the Yeah Write open grid.

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45 thoughts on “Thanks for nothing

  1. Beautiful post. I share a lot of your thoughts on looking for inspiration in what mostly seems like an ungrateful world of whining, sarcasm and criticism. We all have this human tendency to complain but we must fight against it, especially if we want to be positive role-models for our kids. May we never grow tired of seeing thankfulness or expressing it! (And BTW, YES, you should go on as some of us love hearing all that you’re thankful for! 🙂 ) Thankfulness can be contagious. I would go one step furthur. I believe we need to go even beyond “life has been so good to me” to the SOURCE and realize that “GOD has been good to me”!

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts. I think if I weren’t a parent, I would spend more time in the world of whining, sarcasm and criticism that you mentioned. Being responsible for raising a child really changes your perspective.

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  2. Actually I enjoyed your thankful posts! I Being a sometimes less then positive person, your posts provided insight into my own “rich” life. I also enjoy reading when you admit too struggles….you’re human and its nice to see that I am not the only person that struggles with life’s challenges. Thank you for your posts!

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  3. i spent most of my 40 years being miserable. the way i see it is now that i’m finally not miserable, i’m not going to pretend i am just to make myself more relatable to others who may be miserable and reading. there really is SO MUCH to be thankful for each and every day and there’s nothing wrong with focusing on that rather than the not so good stuff.

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  4. You are absolutely right: There is so much to be thankful for. I had a little thankfulness epiphany over the holiday weekend and it was just the kick in the butt I needed after months of feeling sorry for myself.

    Before my little breakthrough, though, I was pretty cynical about some of the posts I saw on Facebook because the people writing them were total phonies. I don’t feel at all that way about what you write. You strike me as a genuine, caring human being — and far from shallow.

    If life’s been good to you, shout it from the rooftops. Anyone who complains is depressed, jealous or both.

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  5. Don’t ever feel bad or question being grateful. I just don’t think it is something you can do too much. And anybody who thinks differently, well, no need to even finish that thought! So keep it up. Keep seeing all there is to be grateful for and surround yourself in those things! 🙂

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  6. I posted about being a Thanksgiving Scrooge last week because that’s how I was feeling about myself. I hope that my post wasn’t one that make you feel badly. I love gratitude and am grateful for my friends and family daily.

    I dunno, maybe I am depressed and jealous. Our financial situation plain sucks and my father-in-law is dying, so I am carrying around a whole lot of extra stress this holiday season. Plus I don’t like turkey and gravy. Maybe that’s why I feel annoyed at the friend who posts facebook statuses like, “I am thankful for toilet paper.” and “I am thankful for the lady who took forever in line in front of me at the grocery store.”

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    1. I’m sorry to hear about your troubles.
      It wasn’t one post in particular that spark mine. Actually, I think reading those critiques made me reflect on what I had been writing and why, which wasn’t a bad thing.
      I hope your holidays aren’t too stressful.

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  7. I like a good thankful post. I try to be thankful everyday, especially post cancer but even with that big reminder, I can still get caught up in the little irritations. It’s at least good that people think about it more in November. I think some people on FB just enjoy being cheeky.

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    1. While there are times I am thankful for Facebook since it has allowed me to reconnect and stay in touch with people, there is a lot of garbage on the site. I can’t blame people for critiquing that.

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  8. There will always be something to complain about. That’s the easy part, right? Gratitude is much harder, and something most of us have to be conscious of or it just slips by us completely. I’m grateful for honest bloggers like you to tell it like it is, and keep striving to be better. Good job, mama.

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    1. Yes, complaining does come easy. I had a frustrating experience today that I could quickly spin into a diatribe on my blog. Then I would probably feel worse and be up all night thinking about it. Better to end my day on a positive note.

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    2. I couldn’t agree more with Laura. Snark is far easier than true gratefulness. As for people who might be faking their gratitude, honestly, who cares? Perhaps they’re in fake it until you make it mode. Perhaps fake gratitude is exactly what they need. No one is forcing me to read it anyway.

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  9. Great post. I’m a big-time complainer, but life really has been good to me despite the ups and downs. I see nothing wrong with writing gratitude posts, but it does seem that a lot of people (I’m mainly referring to FB) are only thankful around Thanksgiving.

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  10. Hey! I may have been one of those posting about thankfulness (I wrote about how I have a hard time giving thanks because I’m SUPPOSED to–a typical rebel), but I’m glad for people’s thankfulness, and I try to choose thankfulness and joy over my circumstances, or IN my circumstances as much as possible. I’ve been reading along with some of your thankfulness posts and they seem to be very genuine, so more power to you in that. Glad you are doing what you feel strongly about and I support it!

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  11. I kind of felt like all the Facebook posts were just giving lip service to being thankful, but I think what you are doing is much more introspective and reflective. Plus, it has the added benefit of helping maintain a positive attitude when it’s easy for life to get you down. Not poseur-ish at all!

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  12. As long as you’re being genuine and true to yourself, it doesn’t matter if what you’re saying happens to be a common theme. I mentioned being “thankful”-ed out at one point, but that was partly because I’m Canadian and we had Thanksgiving in October. So by the end of the American Thanksgiving season, it feels like the holiday has been going on for an awfully long time. But it struck me as I read this that I really need to do something like a thankfulness challenge, because it would probably help me as I manage my depression and anxiety. Cognitive reframing and all that jazz. So thanks for writing this post 🙂

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  13. I love that joe walsh song. I haven’t heard it for a long time. I’ll head on over to YouTube. Stopping to consider what we’re thankful for does make us happier, as you say, how could it not. And for that alone it’s worth writing about no matter what the naysayers say. I love your writing style, too. I feel better after reading this post, I’m thankful that you wrote it!

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  14. I love your thankful posts. In the hustle and bustle not just of this holiday season, but of every single day, it is easy to forget to take time to be happy, and to be thankful for what we have. Your posts are a good reminder.

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  15. I definitely would rather end the day on a positive note! Otherwise, I’d never get to sleep. I think it’s wonderful that you wrote about the positive things in life instead of dwelling on some of the hard things that are going on right now.

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  16. I saw the rash of posts against public displays of thankfulness as well. They bothered me. I didn’t like the implication that people who write them aren’t thankful the rest of the year. Maybe it’s true, but I’m willing to bet more often than not those same people ARE thankful the rest of the year. And for some, maybe a good bowel movement is the highlight of the day. If that’s the case, if the rest of the day was really that awful, then good for them for still managing to find some light.

    I’m with you, better to be happy than cry.

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  17. I completely enjoyed reading this: both the post and its comments. I don’t spend much time on FB and I tend to skim blog posts that don’t speak to me right away, so I missed all the over-thankful kurfuffles but I love how you write about them. Well done.

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    1. Thanks. I almost didn’t write this post. After I did, I was almost afraid to submit it to the grid. I’m so glad that I did because the dialogue has been fantastic.
      Thanks for creating the NaBloPoMo grid at Yeah Write. It’s been a great way to spend the month.

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  18. I did see the same post. I, like, you try to remember thankfulness everyday so as not to get sucked into the whining I might do. I hate complaining when I don’t have the right or even when I do. Being positive takes effort for me sometimes and if I write about positive things on my blog, I leave that space feeling better so I totally get what you’ve written and couldn’t agree more. “Life’s been good to me so far” too and I also like Joe Walsh and would so crank it up! Job well done this month, Cynthia and I’ve enjoyed reading your posts even if I didn’t have the extra time to comment (I should have but guilty as charged ;-)) Have a great weekend and TOMORROW is here for our last post!

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  19. I have to tell you I hate Joe Walsh and I hate that song, but the way you wrote about those lyrics really made them work well. I had no issue with all the thanks being given in social media. I think it’s awesome, but I did fail NaBloPoMo, and failed the last two days too … but that was due to a migraine and a seizure, so I’m totally letting myself off the hook. At any rate, the point of my rambling is good for you … good for you for succeeding at NaBloPoMo and good for you for being grateful and remaining grateful despite the judgment of others. I’m glad your month of gratitude made you happier. That’s what gratitude should do — regardless of what date or month it appears on. I really enjoyed this post.

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  20. Well I had a randy post and it’s good for me to read this. I love gratitude but I balk at forcing it on myself. But your point is well taken. I like how you used the song. I appreciate your view on this.

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  21. I think this is the best thing about blogs – you can write what YOU want to write. I totally blog for therapy, all the time. It sounds like it’s been a good experience, reminding yourself that life’s been good to you, even though it also sucks sometimes. Go gratitude!

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  22. I think what I haven’t liked about gratefulness updates on fb (only place I’ve seen them daily) is that a lot of them felt pretty shallow, and I think “you have nothing to say, you’re just clogging up my feed”. But if they’re genuine they don’t bother me. Of course, you can write whatever you want as long as you get what you want out of it. If people don’t want to read it, then they don’t have to 😀

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  23. Good for you for staying true to yourself and where you found inspiration. I am struggling with finding my voice and what I should focus on in my writing. I get torn between what I want to write about and what I think readers want to read, but since we can only guess as to what readers want to read, it’s better to focus on what inspires us and what makes us happy. Good for you!!

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