Swipe right. That’s right. I’m swiping right. And not on some stranger in the ether.
I’m swiping right on gratitude, giving thanks, and living life to the fullest.
That’s right. You heard right.
Okay…enough with the rights already…you get it.
Since my mid to late fifties, it’s never far from my mind that even the healthiest amongst us are spiraling towards death…every day, all day, all on our way, to eventually meet our maker.
If these past few years of Covid have made me aware of anything, it’s how fragile life is. And more than that, it’s birthed a renewed vow to live my life as authentically and fully as possible with whatever time I have left, be it days, months, years, or decades.
Is there a catch, you may be thinking. Isn’t there always?
After all, I’m Kvetch in the City. Well, yes. Yes, there is one. For me at least.
Ahhh…so what stands in my way of this born anew revelation?
A four-letter word that does not rack up many points in Scrabble, however has a lot of power at times.
I’ve heard it referred to as False Evidence Appearing Real.
My mind constantly tries to repute that. For instance, I’m pretty sure fear is real and can be a healthy thing…for instance if I were standing on the train tracks and I heard an approaching train, I’d jump off the tracks. Speaking of train tracks, in NYC I always worry that I may be pushed onto them. Which I conclude is a very reasonable and very real fear, in NYC at least.
However, there are many times that fear is not real at all, and I know this because I see how my imaginary fears continue to hold me back. While there’s no real train a coming, there may as well be, due to my overworked imagination and some left-over childhood trauma to boot, that leaves me paralyzed at times and imagining the worst of things as opposed to the best.
My antidote of late has been keeping a daily gratitude journal. And while it may seem like a small act, I noticed it makes a big difference. Picking up the pen gets me out of my head and brings me closer to my heart. It feels good to notice how a good nights’ sleep feels, or a call from a friend, or watching a colorful feathered bird hopping around on my balcony, and what a grand thing it is to live in a comfortable, beautiful home. Paying attention to the small, everyday things in life that are so easy to take for granted opens my heart with compassion to the world around me and makes me forget about fear altogether. It brings me closer to what’s important to me, and what’s important in general. It reminds me that living fully doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Living fully present in the moment and finding the joy in that can be enough. Living from my heart and not from my head.
So, this Thanksgiving season, I’ve decided to swipe left to fear and yes to gratitude.
And one more thing, as Thanksgiving draws near. Thank you to all of you who read my column and give me your unsolicited joyful feedback. As I wrote back to one appreciative reader who gets a laugh from my column, writing the column helps keep me from jumping out the window. (I only live on the second floor, so don’t worry too much!) So, thank you!
In another of my journals, my drawing journal, on the first page I placed a quote from Meister Eckhart that reads, “If the only prayer you say in your entire life is “Thank you,” that would suffice.
Yup, you guessed it. I’m swiping right to that.