Gratitude is easy. In fact, it’s so easy, one wonders how a billion-dollar self-help industry can ruthlessly support itself by continually selling “secrets” to gratitude – from journals to meditation. Here, I’ll give the ultimate “secret” away for free: if you covet gratitude, enter a state of deprivation. That’s it, that’s all. Want to appreciate tiresome home-cooked meals? Fast for a few days. Want to adore the jogs your therapist firmly suggested? Break your leg and suffer through immobility for 6-8 weeks. And on and on. The examples are endless. The truth is undeniable. For those last remaining skeptics, the ones tempted to spend $19.95 on that new book Kendall Jenner blurbed with, “I must have bought 15 of these books and gave them out to people!!! I believe this book might have saved my life,” just stick ‘em in quarantine and they’ll swiftly fall in line.
But no, this letter has nothing to do with quarantine. I’m sitting at my desk like any other day, and like any other day, my mind is dancing to a tune I can’t control or well understand. Sure, there are times when the thoughts seem connected, when a tidy narrative forms. But just as often, I jump from A to M to C to Z for no apparent reason. So it was that while playing guitar at my desk, my mind wanted to think about something else. xxxxxxxxx was that next thought. This development induced celebration, because it is indeed more fun to think about xxxxxxxxx than musical notes.
Now, why do I remember xxxxxxxxx above so many other people? Furthermore, why are the memories so delightful? My answer: yelling and laughing. The aging process may well change me in a variety of ways, but I never want to live without high doses of yelling and laughing, of that I’m sure. And when I think of our relationship, it’s defined by those actions. Yelling as a greeting, as a debating method, as a means of everyday communication, and laughter always in close proximity.
An ugly cousin of gratitude is regret. Filled with appreciation, you think back glowingly to the way things were. This rosiness lasts for mere moments before giving way to longing about how it could have been different, better. If only… you knew then what you knew now, you gave all of yourself to that which is precious, you didn’t require deprivation for gratitude because it’s possible the deprivation is permanent.
Fortunately, none of this ugliness exists re: xxxxxxxxx. Regardless of what the future holds, I know both my experiencing and reflecting selves cherish the greatness of one xxxxxxxxx.