I recently found a rustic LED sign that proclaims: Thankful. Thankfulness is part of my retired life now and has been for as long as I can remember—even back in elementary school.
Inc. magazine’s Jan.16, 2016 article entitled “Gratitude Physically Changes Your Brain, New Study Says” details “… [Y]ou could even think of your brain as having a sort of gratitude ‘muscle’ that can be exercised and strengthened... the more of an effort you make to feel gratitude one day, the more the feeling will come to you spontaneously in the future.”
The article, and others in Psychology Today or on sundry positivity sites, says that practicing thankfulness is as easy as naming three things to be thankful for. It’s similar to the findings explained in the The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. Gratitude can also give us an edge to win that proposal or job or live a fulfilled life.
So, I’m thankful this morning for the sunrise, the rescue kittens on the deck, and my cocker spaniel faithfully at my feet.
Back in 1999, I was thankful for the reporter position beside long time writer and resident big sister, Ruth Heide. I am still thankful for the friendship that has spanned more than 17 years. I am thankful for the opportunity to live a writer’s dream beginning there at the Courier in the old red bricked post office building. I am thankful for the many drives through the mountains to Salida, Lake City, and hidden lakes throughout the valley. I’m thankful for the times we laughed like Lucy and Ethel and reenacted the Long, Long Trailer. In that movie, Lucy’s character shoved every sort of shape and weight of Rocky Mountain Rocks inside and along the trailer home. Ruth stopped frequently when she heard, “Oh, there’s another rock!” One time her trusty car straddled deep ruts near Trinchera where we paused long enough to find a volcanic rock. We stopped many times to visit the Sand Dunes and marvel at the elk and deer all around.
I’m thankful for the snow this year and that we might enjoy a wetter season. I’m thankful for the commodities distribution that help so many seniors and the Emergency Food Banks who include protein in their shares. I’m thankful for family and friends. I’m thankful for the county workers who keep our roads clean, who help us understand the programs and the police who remind us to buckle up.
Like so many in this valley, I’m thankful for the air free of city pollutants, the sunrises that start days and the night that resets the brain and lets us regroup and meet the matters at hand. I’m thankful for a clean house and working appliances.
I’m thankful for the summers when Christian Community Service Projects again reaches out to area seniors who need that deck painted, or fence fixed, or yard raked. I’m thankful for the home health nurses and care providers.
I’m thankful for the memories, the happy ones, the sad ones, the people, the places, the cars, the roads, the pets and the fresh vegetables and ambiance in the restaurant where we eat our lunch.
I’m so thankful for all family and friends who’ve walked along side me throughout this journey. Thankful.
—Nelda Curtiss is a retired college professor who enjoys writing and fine arts. Contact her at [email protected]