I know because I was working at a bookstore in college when Oprah started flogging the idea of a gratitude journal.
|Also trying to ruin my life ca. 1998: Monica Lewinsky|
We were the only major bookshop --if you can call a barely limping B. Dalton wedged between a Sam Goody and some horrifying "Kountry" place that sold potpourri and gingham mammy dolls major-- in that small Virginia town.
As the only bookshop, we were thus the only outlet for the slavering hordes of middle-aged women who descended upon us without warning each time Oprah casually mentioned a book on air. Failure to have that afternoon's prescribed tome in sufficient quantity resulted in hair pulling, name calling and attempted rending of my $5.25-an-hour flesh.
I'm not even psychologically prepared to discuss the wrath of her book club.
I still wake up screaming.
That being said, Oprah was onto something, and recently I've felt drawn to commit my gratitude to writing.
Maybe it's the relief that when my brother died unexpectedly, there was nothing left unsaid. Maybe it's part of being a still-new expat, walking the wire of human experience without the net of close local relationships while having the 33-year streak of mostly dumb luck that is my life outlined in sharp relief against the background of a country where "dirt" is still a perfectly normal flooring option.
Maybe it's just a side effect of this new cocktail I've developed to add a splash of glamor to our biannual anti-parasite maintenance jubilee (it's basically a gin rickey with a deworming pill chaser.)
(speaking of 1998, how about some vintage Alanis realness?)With that in mind, I've started contacting old friends --some of whom I've not spoken with in years-- and thanking them for the difference they've made in my life. If I am a slightly less horrible person now than I was five or even fifteen years ago, it's in a great deal thanks to them.
I'm pretty sure some of them think I'm in a twelve-step program now and I'm making amends (that's a step, right? I'm not just inventing that from a handful of In Treatment episodes I saw when I had cholera?)
That's what sincerity'll get you.
What's your take on deliberate expressions of gratitude above and beyond the traditional thank-you note? I know being overly earnest isn't really the done thing now that carefully manicured cynicism is the new black. What's the best bit of gratitude anyone's shown you? Most importantly, seriously now, how dishy is Gabriel Byrne?