The food on your plate and the water in your glass and the sound of your lover’s voice should make you feel more grateful than how happy you get when someone likes what you wrote on social media. That your next inhale will not be dedicated to the regime of some psychopathic dictator should provide you with enough gratitude to fill a football field.
Most of my writing is a note to self. This is the note I need to remind myself of most often. My default is to be ungrateful. So, note to self: If you’re ungrateful, it’s likely you’re keeping score for them, not for you.
Gratitude is not something we get from the metallic and cold radiance of a cell phone. Gratitude is something we get from the mushy, bulbous, organic world of nature. Gratitude isn’t something we feel under the influence of propaganda and advertising (although we’re lead to believe otherwise). A lover can’t advertise their love for you. An advertiser knows that it’s best to stand on the sidelines and shout hey I’m over here. A lover takes a more radical approach. A lover can’t help but get all up in your face and kiss you and do weird gestures with their body. And if you’re a propagandist, you’re probably shaking people’s hands more often than fondling them.
Food tastes better under the glow of a candle. A sunset is prettier in the high-def resolution of your eyeballs. Friendships thrive over board games and tea. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the analog world of paperbacks and tuna salads is a much better place to go searching for reasons to be grateful.
The truly grateful often feel uncomfortable. The truly grateful risk annoying all their friends and family about how spectacular it is to be alive. The truly ungrateful are uncomfortable because, as if the reason isn’t obvious enough, they’re right: it is spectacular to be alive.
To be grateful – truly grateful for the miracle of life – is to feel like a dam protecting a town from flooding, holding back millions of gallons of beauty from crashing over millions of innocent people.
In sum, be grateful you idiot.