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Choosing Gratitude

Author: Joann Whitcher
February 24, 2021

Pretty much everyone I know is suffering from pandemic PTSD – especially here in the Northeast, where the snow and cold weather are keeping us indoors and even further isolated.

Every day feels like Groundhog Day; I get up, I have coffee, I practice yoga, I eat breakfast, I work, I go for a walk, I work, I eat dinner. The next day is the same. And the next day. Maybe on the weekend I will shake it up with a hike with a friend or food shopping. Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess’ famous line – delivered to perfection by Dame Maggie Smith – “What is a week-end?” resonates a little too strongly these days.

It’s easy to be grumpy. We are social animals, and not being able to cavort with friends and loved ones is a striking loss. I haven’t hugged my sister or my best friends in months. Actually, it’s getting close to a year.

Some of us have taken up a new hobby to replace the absence of social encounters. Instead of going to the gym, I walk every day, weather permitting. Even on the coldest days you can find me walking about my neighborhood, wearing double and triple layers and bearing an unfortunate resemblance to the Michelin Man. Maybe you’ve taken up reading, painting, cooking, or knitting. Or you learned a new language. One of our colleagues started letter writing.

It’s so easy to be grumpy. And we are all so bored – mainly with our significant others. Working from home, there are days and days when I don’t see anyone in 3D but my husband. Sometimes I start an argument just to have something different to do.

But I’m tired of being grumpy. I am choosing instead to be grateful.

Yes, it feels like winter will never end, and the pandemic is lingering on like a bad love affair, but I’m choosing to be grateful.

I live with my husband, so I am not alone. Is it so terrible to have a conversation about hockey or to listen to a critique of talking heads’ tie knots while I’m trying to listen to political news? There are worse things to have to contend with in a relationship.

I have a job in my chosen profession with wonderful colleagues and appreciative clients. Helping them achieve their corporate and marketing goals is extremely satisfying.

Our agency not only survived 2020, we thrived. And now, as we move through the first quarter, it appears that Bospar will experience unprecedented growth, in number of clients and staffers and in revenue, in 2021.

I have more than enough food in the pantry. I have shelter from the storm, even though the rug that needs replacing mocks me daily, and why is there always so much dust under the TV stand?

Still, my three children are all healthy and achieving success in their respective endeavors.

My family and friends are well.

I have family and friends.

And today, the original weather forecast showed rain all day. But the rain has come and gone, and the sun just burst through, so I am able to go for a walk today, while listening to one of my favorite podcasts.

So, maybe we don’t have world peace, and COVID-19 may stick around longer than hoped for.

Instead of channeling Shakespeare’s “Richard III” (“Now is the winter of our discontent,”) I am choosing to adopt Ralph Waldo Emerson’s outlook:

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

At least for today. I’ll see how tomorrow goes.