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  • Writer's pictureJMac

Gratitude in three simple reflections:

My quality of life over the past few months has significantly improved by making a few minor adjustments, both in my thought processes and in my daily activities.

One big change in my line of thinking has been to make a huge emphasis on gratitude. Through a few small positive reflections every day, I've learned to stop being so hard on myself and to be so much more grateful and appreciative of who I am and what I have.

We live in a world where people and companies want to capitalize on your insecurities. Feeling not good enough, not proud of yourself, not happy about your lot in life, and jealous or spiteful towards others can all be helped or even fixed with one small antidote: gratitude.

Take a few moments every day and write down three things you're grateful for. Check out how easy it is:

#1 - I am grateful for having the opportunity to be social and to teach my kids how to be social.

As a kid there were two phases of socialization in my life.

The first one involved being dragged to parties by one parent, and being left to play with the other kids present while the parents got shitfaced. You really learn how to not be a picky sleeper when you couch, chair, and bed hop around your community at large.

Phase two involved being shuttled from a parent with all the friends, to a parent with none of the friends or ambition to do anything about it. I quickly learned the true meaning of "it's not what you know, it's who you know" and the outcome of the adult mentor in your life not knowing anyone.

Today, a friend of mine reached out to us because his daughter was having her fourth birthday party and everyone was bailing at the last minute due to the freezing rain and ice. My squad and I were invited to fill in, and we had a great time playing with kids, eating food, chatting, and watching football. Being able to foster positive interactions for your kids, and also to demonstrate healthy socializing are both a huge boon to a child's future.

#2 - I am grateful for how much my wife cares about the people and things that matter to her.

My wife always goes out of her way to ensure that I and her kids are clean, well-fed, cared for, and in a tidy home full of love. I do my part to keep the ship sailing, but she truly goes above and beyond with both words and gestures to truly make home a safe and happy place. Kids obviously don't notice this whatsoever, but I do and I am always grateful for it. I've met a lot of high maintenance people in my life, and am fortunate that she is as low maintenance as they come. She needs us to be well for herself to be complete. That's it, that's the list.

#3 - I take back all of my ranting and complaining about the internet, social media, and terrible people on it. I am grateful for having met and fostered connections with many wonderful people online, and the fantastic things we have accomplished together as a result

I am blessed more often than not to be 6'9" and close to 300 pounds. Really the only time that this hurts me is when I am buying clothes, or meeting new people.

Between the height, the mass, the beard, and the "from the wrong side of the tracks" resting gruff face, I totally get that I'm pretty intimidating and not someone people would generally seek out to meet.

I also have to face the double challenge of being so genuine that I can't be fake, and totally immune and clueless to the social customs of "blowing smoke up someone's ass to benefit yourself."

Fortunately, I've been given both the gift of finger blab and a complete and utter lack of shame in terms of putting myself out there. This has awesomely led to meeting, interacting with, and finding common ground and often friendship with so many people I wouldn't have otherwise met had we lived in a real life walking dead and there not been the opportunities created by social media.

I'm grateful that I've met a lot of people online who share the same values I do. To always lead by example, treat others with kindness, and to conduct myself with integrity and an eye towards the bigger picture.

It's so easy to get lost in the minutiae of everyday adult life. It's so much nicer to navigate the complexities of the world around us with solid people on both wings and watching my six. In 2000, I was grateful for using Napster to make mix cds and ICQ to debate the career trajectory of Keith Van Horn.

In 2020, I am grateful for using the internet to collaborate with others to share current opportunities and to create new ones for people big and small.

In 2000, we were limited by how far our feet could carry our clipboard, pen, and pledge sheet; and how long our knuckles could tolerate wood doors.

In 2020, we are only limited by our ability to hear both sides of an argument, give each other the benefit of the doubt, and come together for the sake of a better future for everyone. That's pretty awesome.

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