Funny things, birthdays in the age of social media. It seems a day to stay offline and be with the people who are real in one’s daily life, yet one’s virtual profile is exploding with good wishes. So today I’m trying to do a bit of both. I’ve noticed in the last few months that people are taking a gratitude pledge, posting things for which they are thankful. It seems a bit of an exercise, a challenge from one person to another, and it’s made me curious about how difficult it is for people to acknowledge what is good in their lives.
I made the mental switch a while back to appreciate what I had more than lament what I didn’t. It sounds a bit sanctimonious when I write it down, but it’s made a big difference in how I approach each day. It’s as simple as knowing I am loved by my family and close friends. I’m grateful, of course, for witty, sparkling interchange with friends I mostly interact with online. And I’m always thrilled when I get to see those people IRL at annual conferences or when travelling otherwise. But with a few exceptions they’re generally not the ones I call if I want to have a howl about something sad or unjust. And that’s important to remember when trying to live in the present.
My pledge going forward into this new year is to continue to remember what’s important and what’s not, to acknowledge the good in everyday life, to nurture the relationships that sustain me, and to let go the ones that don’t. I’m grateful for everyone who took the time today to wish me a happy day. It does mean something, even if we’ve never met. I look forward to doing the same for you.