Gratitude doesn’t have to be big, or loud, like a parade, or the cymbals crashing together at the end of a marching band number. It can be small and muted, like a library. or the quiet car on Amtrak (which I can never understand how anybody can manage, like quiet talking–REALLY?!). It can be imperceptible to others, even. It can be itty bitty, like the perimeter of an ant.
The theory behind gratitude is simple. It’s just making yourself aware of the good in your life. It not only helps to keep you in the present, it also helps to keep you clean. That is, not allowing yourself to let privilege take over, to become a slave to our “I want, must have, need to get” culture, to live in a way that celebrates what you do have and disregards what you don’t have.
In hyper focusing on what we want vs. what we have, we lose what’s right in front of our faces. You live in a “future” life instead of a “right now” life. That’s not to say that being ambitious or wanting to excel, or become more is bad. It’s good, but only if along the way to your ultimate goals, you make sure you’re not blinded from all the positives you experience on the daily. Because it’s that awareness that keeps us in the day, that means we’re living the game in real time, that ensures we’re understanding our fortunes are many if we’re looking for them.
Gratitude is a mindset. It’s easy to feel, but only if you keep it front and center, only if you remind yourself that it’s as healthy as a serving of spinach, only if you make it like brushing your teeth. It’s ours for the taking. And it’s as limitless as air. Stop for the minute after reading this and ask yourself, “What am I grateful for today?” Share if you want, or just keep it inside to fuel you for the day.
In the category of, so, this is interesting, it’s never too late, funny how something bad can turn into something good. I took Adderall today. For the first time. Even though I have had ADD since I was finger painting in round-as-an-exercise-ball, Mrs. Stecker’s Kindergarten class at Center School. Today was the first time I ever took medicine that addressed attention issues. And the only reason I took it wasn’t to address my attention issues. It was to address the preposterous exhaustion which the Covid I had two and half months ago, left behind.
So, while I was very, very lucky to receive Monoclonal Antibodies for my extreme case of Covid, I was pretty fucking sick and sorry, that’s the nicest way to say it that I can think of, and besides you know me, I would marry the word “fuck,” but I’m already married. I literally wondered how I would get to the bathroom, a few feet from my bed for the first three days of my pandemic pandemonium. After my M..A infusion, which I actually had to lay down for, on account of I didn’t have the energy to sit up, I felt better, like I could actually get to the bathroom! Hot damn! But I was still tired. Really tired. And so I stayed almost entirely in bed for the next 12 days. I only left my bed to go to my daughter’s college graduation (delayed two years because of Covid), or I’d have played Sleeping Beauty for another week, or so.
After the graduation, I dove back into work and working out, but I found I was still pretty tired, draaaaaaaaaaaagging myself around the world. And then I began to socialize and return to normal, old life (although it’s hard to even know what normal old life even is after the two bizarro years of Covid quarantine, right)?). but I was still tired, like go to bed early, take a nap, and want to take another nap and still feel I’d been to seven frat parties and had run thirteen marathons on top of four triathlons. I was tired when I woke up after sleeping 9 hours, tired when I did pilates, tired while I was doing work (although I noticed my brain was doing just fine, none of that long Covid brain fog). Name a thing I did and I can tell you I was tired doing it. In fact, last week, I found myself so freaking tired, I started to cry and realize that the fatigue I found myself in was just not in any way normal. So, I finally contacted my doctor and she tested me for Lyme, the results of which I’m waiting for, but her assessment was that she thinks it’s likely just the remnants of Covid. She does think it will go away and she doesn’t think it’s long Covid, but she does think it’s the trash the damn virus left in its wake. So, she said to help me feel better, i.e. more awake, that she thought I should try a low dose of Adderall.
I hadn’t even considered taking something that would wake me up, I was just trying to find more hours in the day to sleep, which of course, wasn’t even working. But considering the fact that I have ADD and the fact that this epic exhaustion is, well, exhausting, I agreed to give it a try.
In case you are wondering at this point why I never addressed my ADD, this is for you. Fair question. There was no ADD when I was a kid. There was “TALKS TOO MUCH,” and “DOESNT WORK TO HER POTENTiAL,” but no ADD. And so to make a long story short, I learned to understand the way my brain worked and figured out how to make it work for me. It wasn’t always easy, and I would have learned more when I was a kid had there been the knowledge about ADD that there is today, but I never felt the need to seek medical intervention when suddenly ADD and meds appeared on the scene like an explosion later in my life. By then I’d lived with it a long time and even when both of my kids were diagnosed when they were young and took Adderall, I was never tempted to give it a try. I knew how to focus. Maybe not just like everybody else, but I had my tools and tricks and tips and it didn’t feel like an issue for me. Also, while some people think ADD is a horrible malady, and until you figure it out, it can be a challenge, I do not because it comes with lots and lots of cool characteristics that I really value, like mega creativity and empathy and curiosity. Also, many of the people I’ve met and known who have it are extremely smart and are super interesting thinkers.
But today, the 20th of August, 2022, I took Adderall. And I not only needed no nap today, I got a whole bunch of stuff done. And I was AWAKE while I was doing it. Sweet baby Jesus. What have I been missing all these years? I am hoping my doctor is right and this is just a side effect that’s sticking around like one of those nasty flies who buzz around your room at night sometimes in the dead of summer because you’ve left the windows open and there’s a damn hole in one of your screens, but in treating it, I may have just found a new and more effective way of doing my day! Can you teach an old dog new tricks? I’m not sure, but you can give an old dog a new drug and watch her do tricks she never dreamed of. Gratitude, once again goes to the miracle of modern medicine. I’d probably be president if I’d had this stuff when I was little.
A little update on the new girl in town. We picked her up at the airport two weeks ago tomorrow and she walked into our lives like she picked US from a breeder, instead of the other way around.
There was no awkwardness or “where’s my mom and siblings” whining. She immediately burrowed into each of us. She is as playful and rowdy as a pack of two year old’s pre-nap. Her energy is like fireworks on the Fourth. Her infectious and dazzling personality is an addiction–you don’t want to be away from it for too long.
I didn’t know if I could do this–get another dog after I lost Riley. I wasn’t sure I could fully love another animal to the depths I loved him. I wasn’t sure there might not be guilt. I wasn’t sure I had the unlimited energy one needs to raise a tiny puppy. I was only sure of one thing–I really missed having a dog.
I needn’t have worried about any of it. Daisy is a little gift I somehow became the recipient of. Who knows how the stars lined up, how the God’s committee meeting went, how the luck of the draw zeroed in on me. But I got another dog and in 13 days time, I am overwhelmingly in love.
In the last two weeks there have been several times where I have felt so much rightness, so much, and i kind of hate this word, because it just sounds like the Hallmark channel ” joy.” I thought I might break out into song. Maybe I was a canine in another life. I don’t know, but I guess I feel the best when there is a dog I can love in my everyday world.
So, that’s my new dog story. Little Daisy is doing just great and as for me, I am on gratitude overload.