It's the bleak midwinter. Creative folks are dying left and right (see: David Bowie, C.D. Wright, Alan Rickman) and my thankfulness is a dry, dry cup. As in empty.
The sky is grey, the days damp. My body heavy, my mind slogged. Oh goodlord, enough already. Hello Zoloft, my dear friend.
But, yes, of course, we must turn to gratitude. When we feel it the least is when we need it the most. Because attention attracts gratitude and gratitude expands joy, it's time to slice through the ugly and get to the good.
This week, what gets me through:
I refer, of course, to Parenthood, the television show (and not —shudder — my own children, and the fact that I don't have children, and chose not to have children, and that I had the opportunity and support to make that decision is another thing to be thankful for. But I digress). I'm late to the party on this ensemble show that is really a dressed-up, contemporary soap opera. But gosh, it's been fun. Not completely mindless, it's been the ideal binge-watch on these dark, long nights.
I'm cutting back on sweets (so goes my resolution not to resolve). I'm not cutting sugar entirely, that would be crazy (see also: impossible, wonderful) but I'm backing off. And if you don't eat the entire bag in one sitting (while watching Parenthood), it's a nice treat.
Uggh. I have an adore-abhor relationship with self-improvement books. Like an ant to a picnic, I'm drawn in with vigor and focus. Yes, I will be a better person! Yes, I will be more creative, more happy, more efficient, more slim, more young, more old, more self-accepting . . . Well, you can see what happens. So much more is, well, less. And exhausting. (And so, we return, with gratitude and guilt, to Parenthood and kettle corn. Oh, how the hamster wheel turns).
Long-story-short, I'm reading Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (am I the only one who hasn't read Eat, Pray, Love?). It's a self-help book, which is to say it feels sort of insightful, sort of soothing, and sort of annoying. Still, there are some nuggets that speak to me, like this:
The older I get, the less impressed I become with originality. These days, I’m far more moved by authenticity. Attempts at originality can often feel forced and precious, but authenticity has quiet resonance that never fails to stir me.
Yes, that's where I am too. In mid-January, on chilly days and long nights, I'm scratching for gratitude and finding more than I imagined. My cup fills, if slowly.
And you? What are you thankful for today?
* p.s. I'm also thankful for digression, asides, parentheticals — and your patience.