By Philip Gull
A pursued attitude of gratitude (1/5)
I haven’t turned up for 3 weeks, really. No topicals, no extra curriculars, a couple of 4/10 SMPs.
It’s weak, week after week.
Haven’t done my 6-minute diary.
Partly out of arrogance, partly out of apathy, partly of laziness.
Partly because a voice in my head says I “learned all about gratitude when I was ill” – forgetting gratitude is something you should continually foster.
There was a time when I couldn’t lift a 4-pint carton of milk out of the fridge. My parents had to buy multiple 2-pint cartons for the family. And when I recovered, and was well enough to lift a carton weighing just over 2kgs out of the fridge, and set in on the table, and afterwards put it back, I made it the daily beginning of my gratitude routine. I’d open the fridge, and pause as I lifted the 4-pint carton up, let the cool air wake me up, and reflect on how wonderful it was to be able to do something as mundane as make breakfast for myself again.
But in the last year or two, I’ve stopped doing it.
This morning, I did it again, and it clicked, and I felt guilty and jubilant all at once.
As Joe Fraser, who blessed us with a fantastic SCAB this weekend, would say:
“Every day it gets a little easier… But you gotta do it every day — that’s the hard part. But it does get easier.”
On Friday, I was 21 days behind several SCAers in my 6-minute diary.
And it showed in my work.
So every day this week, I’m going to find 63 things I’m grateful for. Make up for my missed 3-a-day.
Make topicals, write SMPs. Get really into Rwanda.
- I am grateful for Joe F and Josie’s SCABs on gratitude, which motivated me to write this.
- I am grateful for having the strength to lift a 4-pint carton of milk up from the fridge, and place it on the table.
- I am grateful for being able to put it back again, and having the strength to close the fridge.
- I am grateful for being able to walk again.
- I am grateful for being able to be there for those still suffering, and not being them.
- I am grateful for being able to feel gratitude.
- I am grateful to have hope for the future.
- I am grateful for believing I can improve myself, and my situation, and my character.
- I am grateful for the morning sunshine on the old sandstone churches and buildings I see on the 133 bus on my way to school every morning.
- I am grateful for the way the condensation on the windows slowly disappears between Elephant and Castle and Oval, and I can see out of the windows.
- I am grateful lots of people get off at Brixton station, so if I’m immersed in a book or a podcast I don’t miss my stop.
- I am grateful for the big old tree outside the cinema on my way to school.
- I am grateful for being able to walk round it in different directions, and gaze up at it.
- I am grateful for the school kids on the bus, because I can stay #downwiththeyouth and learn about fortnite skins.
- I am grateful for finding second-hand, slightly crumpled copies of the Metro on the seats on the upper deck, because they’re always slightly more interesting than new copies.
- I am grateful that I don’t know why this is.
- I am grateful to be born in an age where I will never be able to learn everything humanity has discovered, because we have discovered so much, now.
- I am grateful for poetry.
- I am grateful for Dante.
- I am grateful for David Abbott.
- I am grateful I get to go to school every morning.
- I am grateful my mum tried to keep all the poems I wrote when I was 11 or 12, and protected them when I tried to throw them all away in a moment of sharp adolescent embarrassment when I was 16.
- I am grateful for the grass outside of school.
- I am grateful for being able to look forward to spring coming, and eating my Tesco’s meal deal out on the grass.
- I am grateful for big Tesco. It looks after me.
- I am grateful for my family.
- I am grateful that my mum and dad love each other again.
- I am grateful they’ve found something they love to do together, again, which is travelling.
- I am grateful they are so different, and I can talk to them about things I could never talk to the other about.
- I am grateful I can talk to them about the same thing in different ways.
- I am grateful for the bookshelves I built and put up with my dad in the summer, 2015.
- I am grateful for being able to fill those bookshelves with my parents and sisters, and have something we all enjoy for all to see.
- I am grateful for my parents supporting my decision to study English at university.
- I am grateful for them ignoring gender stereotypes, or financial motivations.
- I am grateful they didn’t want me to study Maths or Engineering or Physics instead.
- I am grateful for second chances.
- I am really, really grateful for second chances. From my friends, and family and school and university.
- I am grateful for being in an environment where I can fuck up every day, and come in the next ready to fuck up, again.
- I am grateful for everyone in my life who has been patient with me, and looks past my flaws.
- I am grateful that I am in a place where I don’t have to suppress my personality.
- I am grateful that the only Excel spreadsheets I see are our PB ones and the ones I make myself.
- I am grateful my family can afford glasses, so I can read and see what I’m doing.
- I am grateful for being moved by art, by literature, by music.
- I am grateful I have loved.
- I am grateful I have been loved.
- I am grateful I am not in love.
- I am grateful I haven’t lost my set of keys to my flat all January because I currently live alone and if I did it would be a serious hassle.
- I am grateful that there are a couple of mentors who believed in me early on, and told me that even if my work was shit, I had the potential to make it not shit one day.
- I am grateful for all the mentors. I should use them more.
- I am grateful Max and Marcia haven’t ended me for forgetting to return the scissors for the 17th time.
- I am grateful left-handed scissors are a thing. They’re just a really nice thing to have in the world, and they usually come in funkier colours than garden variety right-handed scissors.
- I am grateful Rob’s girlfriend has come to visit him, because who deserves happiness more than Rob?
- I am grateful for the moon.
- I am grateful that I grew up in a place where I could see the stars every night, and how beautiful and remote they were.
- I am grateful the earth rotates so we get to see even more stars and constellations.
- I am grateful for that passage in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where the Pevensies see new constellations and wonder at them, because it is such a beautiful and believable and true response to coming to a new land in all its mystery and magic.
- I am grateful when I was ill and couldn’t read very much or very well, I could read the Narnia books for the 8th time.
- I am grateful for having time to wonder and ponder. I wish wonder and ponder rhymed.
- I am grateful for the flexibility in work schedule SCA provides us so I can go to big Tesco at 11.35 exactly and choose from a wide range of reduced food with the yellow stickers on.
- I am grateful for my lamp. I’ve had it for 5 years and it came with me to uni and I love it.
- I am grateful for the talent at SCA I’m fortunate enough to work alongside every day.
- I am grateful for Godspeed You! Black Emperor and their glorious music which I’ve listened to while I’ve written this SCAB.
- I am grateful I didn’t kill myself in 2013 when I quite wanted to.