Attitude of Gratitude: There’s a Lot to be Grateful for in my Life

A favorite lunch spot along Maine's rocky coast in Bar Harbor. Uninvited seagulls never fail to join us.

A favorite lunch spot along Maine’s rocky coast in Bar Harbor. Uninvited seagulls never fail to join us.

Faceboook is overflowing with gratitude challenges. People are challenging their friends, family, and colleagues to identify those things in their lives for which they’re grateful. My friend, Maura Halkiotis, challenged me to identify and post three things I’m grateful for each day for five days. I altered the challenge a bit: here’s my list – all 15 in one day, no particular order except for number 15 (no skipping ahead).

  1. Laughter. Listening to a child’s infectious giggle or an adult’s belly laugh stops me in my tracks and immediately puts a smile on my face.
  2. Coffee Shops. Working out of my home as a consultant has given me a great appreciation of coffee shops – even though I’ve ditched coffee for green tea. These satellite offices provide a place for me to meet with clients; allow me to be in a room with people when I’ve spent too much time alone; and, of course, there’s always a great cup of tea or snack awaiting.
  3. Friends and Family. There is nothing like sharing successes and setbacks with people I love and respect. I’m blessed to have family and friends who open their hearts and homes to my husband and me; and I’m especially grateful for those of you who share your children’s worlds with us.

    My preferred mode of travel takes me through the marshes of Cape Cod.

    My preferred mode of travel takes me through the marshes of Cape Cod.

  4. My Bike. My pink bike has taken me places I never imagined I’d travel. And, yes, I’m grateful each of those 30 gears to power me over hills and through trails.
  5. Water, Water Everywhere. Beaches, marshes, lakes are mesmerizing. I feel lucky every day to live in the beautiful State of Maine. The rocky coast is a stunning backdrop for a good life.
  6. Second Chances. We can all use a do-over every now and again.
  7. Living in a Country Where Disagreements / Debate Take Place. While our country certainly has its issues, there’s no place in the world I’d rather live. Disagreements can be debated publicly; political change takes place seamlessly; in spite of disagreements, there is a sense of compassion (most of the time) that transcends politics.
  8. Generosity and Philanthropy. Working in the nonprofit sector allowed me to see on a daily basis how dedicated people are to helping those in need. The generosity of people to share their time, talent, and financial resources is truly heart-warming.
  9. Public Spaces. Imagine a world without public beaches, parks, or museums. No thank you.
  10. Pioneers. I’m so grateful for those bold pioneers who turn a deaf ear to the naysayers and forge a new path.
  11. My Health. I’ve been researching the relationship(s) surrounding lifestyle and cancer for close to three years now. I’m grateful every day to be healthy, sometimes in spite of my choices, and sometimes because of my choices.
  12. Loud Music. Whether I’m cooking in my kitchen or driving my car, a loud blast of music can change the shape of the day.
  13. Artists. Creativity provided by artists – photographers, painters, singers, musicians, etc. – opens our eyes to new possibilities and perspectives.
  14. Social Media. The power and ease of connecting has never been greater since social media entered our world. Personal and professional lives collide, multi-generational conversations bloom, and the world is a better place for it.
  15. John Nelson. I saved the best for last. I’m grateful every minute of every day that John is in my life. Lucky me to have a husband who is my best cheerleader, sounding board, and friend.

This was a valuable exercise for me to complete. While it may sound a bit contrived, developing an attitude of gratitude can change the way you see the world AND the way the world sees you. So give it a shot: I encourage (or should I say challenge)  you to take a few minutes and think about those people / places / things that make you smile even when you’re trying your hardest to be cranky. Don’t let anyone else write your story; it’s yours to tell.

About Deb

Deb Nelson, principal of deb nelson consulting, is a creative storyteller. She designs and implements communication plans that leverage strategic partnerships and provide innovative solutions for her clients. You can find her on twitter at @nelliedeb.

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