I’ve been off work for a week now. As I type this, I’m sitting on my new deck. My Dad traveled down from Washington to help the Wife and I reconstruct a deck he built nearly 30 years ago. We had to take it down to dirt after almost three decades of wear, California sun, and untold gatherings.
I’m five days out from having turned 43.
As I put my kids to bed this evening, I was overcome with a feeling I hope you have in abundance:
Having an attitude of gratitude is a foundation in my life.
It hasn’t always been that way. It’s been an intentional focus over the past year-and-a-half or so.
If you look back over the seven years of the life of this blog, you are likely to read a very cynical man’s perspective on the world. “Cynical” is a kindness, by the way. There was a season in there where “Angry” is more apropos.
At some point, I tired of that perspective and started being more intentional with my actions, feelings, and plans. I started to read about leadership and self-development. I read non-fiction. I read the Bible in a year. I read religious and non-religious texts alike.
They all told me a similar tale.
It’s really hard to be angry when you’re grateful. When gratitude is a focus of your life, negative influences are, at a minimum, reduced. At the best, they’re eliminated altogether.
I found an amazing correlation in my life.
When I’m not angry, I’m a better husband. I’m a better daddy. I’m a better son/brother/friend.
I’m a better cop.
When the Powers That Be throw a curve at the front line staff or a new policy is handed down from The Mount, I don’t get wrapped around the axle about it. I’m grateful for my career. I have gratitude that I can assist my community. I appreciate the opportunity to have a positive impact on the people I interact with on a daily basis…those with a badge and those without.
Is an “Attitude of Gratitude” a bit of a platitude? Do I just like a lot of words that rhyme?
(That last one might be true.)
The former is accurate, though. I think platitudes or clichés, if you will, can offer something true if they resonate with you.
Gratitude resonates with me. It rings truer than any tone I’ve heard. Gratitude is the tuning fork for my soul. When I feel it, my whole body shudders with the joy of it and I am inclined to share it with others.
Today, you are that other.
For the past week, I’ve been inundated with birthday wishes, well-wishes, and the selfless kindness from the most important people in my life. I look around my backyard and see hard work from three of the best friends I’ve ever known: Dad, Chachi, and the Happy Medic.
They’ve inspired me to be more selfless as well. I’ve completed more projects around the house this past week than I have in the past year.
When you are feeling stressed…when the wolf is at the door and doesn’t seem to ever leave…I challenge you to find something for which you are grateful and focus on it. Make it your mantra.
That gratitude will permeate your life. It will drive the wolf away. It will bring an awareness to your life you may have never experienced before.