Originally Published June 6th, 2019
It’s your boy Tim—coming at you with another Mailman/Photographer philosophisation.
Can We Pet Your Dogs?
Ashley and I were walking the dogs recently when we came upon a family with two small children. The kids asked if they could pet the dogs with great enthusiasm. Charliehicks & Margot relished in the attention before pressing forward to smell where other dogs had urinated (dogs find joy in the simplest things). As we were leaving I overheard the mother say to the kids “now say thank you”. All the enthusiasm had gone and the kids looked on sheepishly. The mother reminded them, “you have to practice saying thank you”.
The World Beyond The Picket Fence
I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately that take place in foreign countries. It’s a reminder of how well we have it here in America. It seems ridiculous to even write this—but have you ever been fearful that a band of rebels might show up in town and start killing people? Drug cartels? Car bombings? How about something simple like clean drinking water? I was really kicking myself after watching Blood Diamond and thinking about all the stupid things I complain about when in fact—I have a whole lot to be thankful for. Did you know that if you make $34,000 a year—you’re in the wealthiest 1 percent of the entire world. The vast majority of the human race lives in some sort of poverty. Think about that next time you’re shopping on Amazon or having your groceries delivered to your car.
Remember, George: No Man Is A Failure Who Has Friends.
This is not a rant—it’s an internal dialog I’ve been having for several weeks. For years I’ve lived my life like George Bailey (It’s A Wonderful Life)—whining, moaning, and complaining. Only viewing life from a negative perspective and ignoring all the amazing things that I have. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. I am the guiltiest when it comes to this—I’m the shy little kid on the street who needs to learn to say thank you more.
You Need To Practice Saying Thank You
Practice—because being thankful is a skill we must develop. It’s so easy to overlook the blessings we have in life, in order to focus on the things we don’t have. It’s easier to shop for cameras and ignore the ones I have sitting in the closet. I could write a hundred examples but I’m guessing you’re thinking of something right now that you’re taking for granted. We all do—it’s a flaw in our nature. Practice. Make it a part of your morning ritual to be present and give thanks for something in your life. Be grateful that you can take a hot shower, drink freshly ground coffee, go to a job that pays your bills etc. etc.
Maybe you’re saying to yourself—”my life really is in the toilet”. Well, there has to be something you can be grateful for. Practice, find one thing. You’re alive—most human beings who have existed are dead.
It’s Hard To Be Mad When You’re Being Thankful
I have to change the way my brain works—otherwise I’m going to drive myself insane. Maybe it’s in my DNA to find things and be mad about them. Maybe it’s just years of negative self talk that has warped my perspective. But if I can’t be happy with my life now, how am I going to survive a struggle. Because rest assured, one day there will be struggle—there will be suffering. All life is suffering. Practicing gratitude is a way to build a buffer for when life really gets hard.
It Really Is A Wonderful Life
You can change your life by changing your thoughts—it’s a daily practice. Someone should make an app. It could be like snapchat or dualingo—you could have gratitude streaks!
“But you’re changing your thoughts, you’re being more positive, are you going to lose your hilarious cynical nature & sarcastic wit?”
No imaginary friend, I’m still going to be the same satirical doofus I’ve always been—in fact I plan on practicing that skill as well.
Practice Gratitude—you have a wonderful life.
-Your Boy Tim