It’s a cliché to write about gratitude this week, but I’m going to do it anyway. I wrote thank you notes this past weekend. For some reason, I was having a really hard time getting started. I finally got over my deep resistance, and then realized what it was–I was never going to do justice, with words, to the gratitude I felt. And the notes were primarily for physical things, not for the just-as-appreciated “showing up.” So here is a blog, in addition to the notes, to try to express my gratitude.

I had three great celebrations for my big 5-0 birthday last month. The first was in my still new home of Pueblo, at Bingo Burger, our Thursday night post-biking hangout, with the people I’ve been privileged to meet through biking. We had burgers and beer, ate delicious homemade cake, and most of all enjoyed the beautiful October evening in the company of friends. It truly doesn’t get much better than this. Thank you to everyone who came to help me celebrate. 

The next celebration was with family, including my parents (who came from Ohio to celebrate and spend a couple weekends with us in Pueblo), brother, uncle and aunt, brother- and sister-in-law, and niece and her boyfriend. We ate at Linger, one of my favorite restaurants in Denver (can you say duck buns??), which I know was a stretch for some of those in attendance. For the record, I appreciate it. We followed up with something everyone likes–my mom’s cake. Sigh.

Finally, we had a Sunday night party with our Denver friends. I was delighted to see so many people that we just don’t get to visit with as often now that we’ve moved to Pueblo. Thank you for getting babysitters, rearranging schedules, and doing what it took to spend time celebrating with me at the end of a busy weekend. I am grateful for your presence at the party and in my life.

Thanks also to those who sent messages, texts, posts. Your thoughtfulness was noted and appreciated.

I want to close with a few more general thoughts about gratitude. I have been inspired to add a gratitude practice to my days by several of the people who inspire me: Kanesha Baynard, Mary Jeanne Vincent, Leo Babauta, Brené Brown… (Science also seems to support this decision.)

I have been using this tool (referenced in this post) since the beginning of the year. I have to say that it works. I make my list before I go to bed. It is a great way to remember what really matters and calm down before sleeping (especially if you watched the evening news!) Certain patterns have emerged, but I also try to think creatively about things that I appreciated that I don’t experience every day. And while I still wouldn’t mind winning the lottery, I know that I’m doing more than fine.

Thanks for listening and thanks for remembering to be grateful.

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