I have a little "daily quote" posted to the "wall" of my "office" at work (an open air cubicle pod). It is from an old "funny thoughts for women" daily calendar that a work friend of mine, Dana, gave me as a Secret Santa gift years ago. I dutifully ripped away each day's little piece of paper for a year (chuckling along the way) until December 29, 2009, when I happened upon the one that is still posted to my desk "wall" (and I am someone aggressively opposed to those "life imperative" posters that are so trendy right now, so you know it has to mean something to me):
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."
I didn't think the quote was particularly funny, but it was certainly poignant -- poignant enough that, nearly four years later, I still have it tacked to my "office" "wall" (and not necessarily because I'm a hoarder, though my coworkers may beg to differ). The quote is so simple and yet, says so much. It's applicable to every facet of life, and I find myself looking at it daily, reminding myself to either make a change or adjust my attitude.
With the daily grind weighing on us day in and day out, it is often easy to fall into a pattern of complaining and not appreciating the lives that we have and the people that have touched us. When bogged down with stress, the day-to-day can seem exhausting, and we often forget that we have the power to effect change - both in our own lives and in the lives of others. Whether things are going swimmingly or things could be going better, we have to remember to look around, to smell the roses, to be inspired - by others, by the world around us, and in particular by ourselves - and to appreciate the lives that we have, messy as they may be at times (after all, isn't there a certain beauty in chaos?).
If we don't have the power to change certain circumstances within our current situation, we certainly have the power to change our attitude about those circumstances. We have the power to be grateful. Proust said:
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Isn't that just the most fabulous imagery? As Thanksgiving is upon us and a Nor'easter is hitting the East Coast (as bad weather conveniently does so well during the holiday season), making travel to loved ones difficult, the time seems right to take a moment and give thanks to and for those around us who give us shelter from the storm, who make us happy and help our souls blossom.
I am grateful for family, for friends, for the kindness of strangers, and for the beauty of the world around us. For promo codes and Craigslist deals, for antique lamps and room diffusers. For Spotify, for sunsets, for slimming jeans and sleeping in. For ikats and iPhones and Tasti D-lite's Peanut Butter "ice cream." For color, color, everywhere. For sky, sun and smiles. For the warmth of summer and the bite of winter. For animals in general, for dogs in particular, and specifically for my parents' two big poodles and in-law's Norwich terrier, who greet me with the enthusiasm that only family dogs can. I am grateful for love, for lavender, for the lessons I have been taught. For Pinterest, for anticipation, and for putting pen to paper. For this kid who made me laugh today, for my brother-in-law for sending that link to me (and for everything else he does), for the joy that whatshouldwecallme inexplicably brings me, and for traveling the world one journey at a time. For the fact that every moment in New York reminds me of an episode of "Seinfeld" and that I really do feel like I'm friends with the friends on "Friends." For new friends and old friends and lifelong friends who are always there. For family here and there and near and far. For coworkers, who are their own type of family and who are there for us in good times and bad. For my husband, who has proven time and again that he's in this for better or for worse. For gold paint and miracles and throw pillows aplenty. For creativity and sympathy and, above all, for empathy. For the beauty in everything - for big things, for little things and for everything in between. For life as it is, messy as it is - though in some cases not.
As you think about your own Thanksgiving, who you will or won't be spending it with and what you are grateful for, I hope that it brings a smile to your face, that life's joys outweigh life's burdens. Proust said to "always try to keep a patch of sky above your life." Let's remember to be grateful. To say thanks. To be inspired. To wait out the storm(s) and always to look for the patch of sky that may be hiding at times. It's there -- sometimes we just have to change our attitude to find it.
Gratitude is the ultimate gift. And we can show our gratitude by doing something kind -- big or small -- for those around us, particularly for those who could use some shelter from the storm, whatever that storm may be. People don't always ask for help when they need it - and often they want to, but pride gets in the way. We can offer a helping hand and, together, weather any storm, keep a patch of sky visible, and, in the process, help one another's souls blossom.
We can also take the time to capture our gratitude in writing. And what better way to capture our thoughts than in a beautiful notebook? One that beckons to you to bear your soul as much or as little as you dare. My mom recently told me about these Fortuny notebooks, $55-$105, at Gumps - expensive but seriously gorgeouso (and an excellent holiday gift). I also found this fabulous Nepali paper silk brocade notebook, $25, on Etsy - that color is another thing I'm grateful for (there's only one available, and if you don't buy it, I will!). If simple and to the point is your style, you can't go wrong with a classic Moleskine black softcover or hardcover notebook, $12.95, from Moleskine. Whatever your outlet of choice, it's fun and gratifying to capture and share life's happiness. To be grateful to ourselves for "showing up" and being present each day (something they teach in yoga) and to be grateful to and for those charming gardeners around us who make our lives beautiful.
We can give new meaning to having a 'tude.
Thank you everyone! And Happy Thanksgiving!
I am a designer and financial professional with a background in comparative literature, business and design. I live in New York with my overworked lawyer husband and sweet, art-and-design-loving toddler son and spend much of my free time dreaming about how to enhance the aesthetics of our little world. I am endlessly inspired and always in search of something new. This is a blog about my search, my inspiration and things I just really, really like or want.
Blogs/Sites I Love
A Lovely Being
Cote de Texas
Little Green Notebook
Paper + Pearls
Sadie + Stella
SF Girl by Bay
The CHICago Life
The Pink Pagoda