I’m Grateful For:
1. Sweatpants and yoga capri pants~ These are the pants that make you feel alive by their sheer comfort. Even if you don’t do yoga, it’s okay to wear yoga pants (I’m almost sure). And the older you are, the less concerned you are about yoga and the more concerned you are about comfort. That’s the beauty of it.
2. Costco~ A guest hollered at me from inside my bathroom, “Hey Bronwyn, you’re out of toilet paper!” This unfortunate crisis occurred in the pre-Costco days and caught me off guard.
Thanks to Costco, I’m never caught off guard now. Costco gives me the opportunity to buy dozens of rolls of toilet paper in bulk, giving me the freedom to not think about toilet paper again for a month or two. Not one unfortunate person has hollered at me from inside my bathroom screaming for toilet paper. Some might have screamed for other reasons, but not for toilet paper. I have Costco now and I stock up. This is not the only reason I’m grateful for Costco. I love Costco’s bed sheets too. They have luxurious smoothness and make you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to put on your yoga pants and face the day.
3. Public Library~ You can download a book on your Kindle or Nook, but that deprives you of a trip to the library where you can wander the bookshelves stacked with hardback books written by authors who spent grueling hours and days and years to produce the works surrounding you. You can sit among the books and ponder the prodigious amounts of coffee guzzled, the cigarettes smoked, dry martinis downed and bouts of depression suffered in producing the literary masterpieces lining the shelves. Kindles and Nooks don’t offer this experience of refuge among the work of tortured authors. E-readers don’t provide you with your very own library card. Nor do they sign you up for free gardening classes held at the library the following Saturday.
4. Disneyland~ “If this weren’t Disneyland, I’d start cussing,” a man shouted when a Disney employee informed him the Pirates of the Caribbean ride had closed due to mechanical failure. He wanted to cuss but since he stood in the happiest place on earth, he couldn’t allow himself to tarnish the reputation. I’ve never heard anyone say, “If this weren’t the speedy checkout line at Walmart, I’d start cussing.” For one thing, Speedy Checkout does not claim to be the happiest place on earth. And it really is not that speedy, so cussing seems quite normal. I just read a book about a lady who never cussed in her life. Then she retired and moved to Mexico and began spewing four-letter words. Mexico doesn’t do things like America does and this caused her immense agitation prompting her newfound cussing. Street addresses, for example, are not in sequential order. The one restaurant in town is only open sporadically and when it is open, the staff will not make the bacon omelet she ordered even though it’s on the menu. They insist on fixing her a ham omelet. If this weren’t enough, she can’t find a store in Mexico that sells iceberg lettuce. I’m grateful for Disneyland because it’s a place where the focus is fun and happiness, so you don’t want to cuss even if you never cussed before in your life. But you want to scream. Not because you need toilet paper, but because you’re on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
5. Downton Abbey~How did I miss this PBS series for so long? I recall hearing about it sometime ago, but had little interest. I even thought it amazing that a tea company came out with Downton Abbey teas to accompany scones and shortbread. I wondered at the time, who buys Downton Abbey tea? The show can’t be that great to warrant its own tea. But with my upcoming trip to the British Isles, I wanted to get into the British mood and Downton Abbey came to my attention. Now I’m watching the DVD series on loan from the library. I finished Season One and I’m well-into Season Two and I really don’t want to do anything else other than watch this show. It’s not enough that I’m hooked on the story or that I’m getting into the British mood, but I’m looking up tours to the real Downton Abbey. I want to order the Downton Abbey teas. Let’s see…Butler’s Pantry Blend or Mrs. Patmore’s Pudding Tea?
6. Quaint non-Starbucks coffee houses (you’ll find these in Arizona’s High Country and in Washington state)~ These are delightful to visit because they have cozy window tables, some overlooking gardens in a courtyard or haphazardly in an alley. They are the kind of small coffee houses where you can sit for hours with your laptop or notebook and write, and where eavesdropping is unavoidable (and anyway, why would you want to?) While you savor your delicious coffee, write in your notebook, gaze out the window and dream, someone at the table next to you blurts into your thoughts, “Yes, it’s a wonderful little town near Paris.” You wonder, what town near Paris? You go back to dreaming and sipping your rich brew and you overhear, “We have nothing planned in June.” Someone else says, “Oh how boring.” Wait. You want to shout at them, “What town near Paris? Could you speak up? Did you say Bordeaux or Brioude?” But you realize they aren’t talking to you.
You can’t help but overhear the conversation continue, “Well, you must go to Austin. I hear the food scene there is something else.” You make a mental note to visit the food scene in Austin, if ever in Texas.
Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present, even if it’s an overheard conversation at a nearby table. Gratitude makes us appreciate the value of something and allows us the pleasure of celebrating the good things in life. Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions. A 2008 study by Alex Wood in the Journal of Research in Personality showed that gratitude can reduce the frequency and duration of episodes of depression.
And speaking of episodes…gotta get the teakettle ready. Part five of Downton Abbey’s Season Two awaits….