Autumn brings with it a lot of mixed feelings because of the colder weather and fewer daylight hours. Fortunately, the Daylight Savings Time crowd has pushed the frontier of that idea so that we’ve got a lot more light for more days than we used to. I’m hoping they make DST permanent. But even with DST, the days get shorter and the nights get longer and that brings with it more time for ruminating about things.
Something I’ve been trying to achieve over the past several years is cultivating an attitude of gratitude. It takes being present to things in your life which bring you joy. One reason I do this is that I think it’s important to concentrate more on what I have than on what I don’t have, more on the good than the bad. It’s also a good thing to do for a lot of reasons. So when Thanksgiving rolls around, it’s not the only day on my calendar that reminds me to be thankful.
I’m not perfect (I know, another myth dispelled), and procrastination often takes its toll. I don’t always get around to the “Thank Yous” that should be done right away. Procrastination is a terrible foe. I try to remember that gratitude is something honored in the doing, not just the intention to do. Maybe someday, I’ll be able to be thankful that I’ve defeated procrastination and do everything on time and in order. (Well, we can dream, can’t we?)
I often have to remind myself that I do indeed have things to be thankful about. I marvel at those people who always seem able to smile despite adversity. Maybe they’re thinking about the good things they have and not the troubles they’re going through. That’s certainly the saner path. It sometimes takes work to force yourself to think about the things you’re grateful for because there are so many things we worry about.
I often stop, put the anxiety on hold (it ain’t easy), ignore the rain, and think about what I’m grateful for.
At the risk of being branded something or other, I’ll say there’s a strong spiritual facet to me. I’m not the proselytizing kind, though. I think everyone comes to his/her spiritual side in his/her own way. But, that spiritual arena, that idea of God and the Universe and Good – are things I’m immensely grateful for.
Likewise, I have immense gratitude for the people in my life. My best and closest friend, who has helped turn things around for me, is someone I am thankful for more than I can say. Others, like my family members who squabble sometimes (and give me ideas for characters and situations) and my friends (some of whom will finds pieces of themselves in my characters) are also in my thoughts when I give thanks.
Meeting super people like Karen Syed, hearing her encouraging words when I really needed a boost, and having her become a friend made me thankful that I overcame my fear of flying (at least for that trip) and went to Chicago for that first Love Is Murder conference I attended.
The publication of my book, Murder on Camac, (
) has certainly given me something more to be thankful for. It’s just the beginning but it’s a good start.
My inclusion in anthologies like Heat of the Moment and so many others were like hugs wrapping me in warmth and encouraging me in my writing.
) which came along at just the right time in my life has been a source of joy, frustration, happiness, and lots of hard work. It’s a labor of love which is difficult for some people to understand but it’s something that helped me in many ways. How can I not be thankful for that?
The list goes on. If I actually sat down and wrote up a detailed account of all the things I give thanks for, it would fill volumes. I’m sure that’s how it is for all of us.
One other thing to remember is the effect a “Thank You” has on someone else. You just never know how great you’ll make someone’s day, with those two words.
So, Happy Autumn, Happy Thanksgiving! And, Thank You for reading this!