Thursday, December 31, 2009

as the year wraps up (or as the new one begins)

I have a daily practice of writing a list of things for which I'm grateful. This list routinely includes family and friends, my job, my home, and other things I consider essentials, and occasionally includes luxuries like NPR, compelling fiction, Christmas carols, and my mother's codcakes.

I also have a daily practice of listing the reasons why I should be given credit. And by "credit," I really mean little nods to myself. There's no actual credit (no gold stars, no pennies in the jar, no messages sent to Santa on my behalf), and normally, nobody sees it but me, so the reasons aren't generally colossal. They're usually things like completing a task I set myself to do, facing a challenge (like the pile of godforsaken Christmas cookies I walked away from yesterday), or taking a baby step forward in my thinking. Sometimes, however, I get credit just for getting out of bed! (This morning "being me" made the list.)

When I looked over my lists for the year, one of the things I'm continually grateful for is my job, and the money it brings me. And I looked at a number of the other things for which I'm grateful, and many of them could really use some of that money. So this morning, I sat down and gave money to my local NPR station (for Wait Wait Don't Tell Me), Chicago Public Radio (for This American Life) and the New York Public Library (for books).

I'll let you guess what will show up on my list of kudos tomorrow.

One of the things I intend to do today, on the last day of the year, is to create a list of 50 things for which I am grateful. They may be events from the past year (like meeting one of my new best friends), opportunities for next year (like meeting Mr. Right), and constants throughout my life (like my family). I encourage you to take a moment and do the same. And then, if there are things on your list that could use your support, give it! Volunteer at a shelter. Give your old clothes to Dress for Success. Or give money. Ira Glass said that if each podcast listener of This American Life gave only $5, we could cover the cost of the show. Five dollars!

(Since I'm truly grateful for what the show brings to my life, I gave $15.)

And at the very, very least, tell two people on your list that you're grateful they're in your life. It makes a difference.


  1. I'm grateful this year too for so many things (good health, being number one).
    Also for you Kate Sandberg who help me and encourage me to organize my life better. This holiday 4 cousins stayed with me...and there was little chaos. You'd helped me clean up my closets so linens were easy, and organize my bathroom...and everything went smoothly.
    They needed a bandaid..I went to the bathroom and they were all neatly there. I thanked you a thousand times this my heart.

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