On the first day of 2019, I re-started a gratitude journal. Each day, I make a note of 3 things I am grateful for. It helps me maintain perspective when things are tough. And January, well, it had some high-stress times. Keeping a gratitude journal in the midst of it all was calming, even if some days were simply, "internet, power, Netflix." They don't have to be big things, as long as they're true. And a recurring theme in mine was friends, family, and colleagues.
Smile and New School
I first learned about the concept of keeping a journal of things that are good, in general, from a high school advisor. It was junior year and I had just moved to a boarding school. "I've been to summer camp on my own for years!" I thought. "I'll be fine!" ... I've rarely been more homesick than those first couple of weeks, and most of my classmates had been through at least two school years together, if not five or more. So my advisor aka mom-away-from-home suggested I write down one thing each day that made me smile. Just smile. Baby steps. Soon enough, I made friends and loved my classes. Joined a theater program, sang songs on the way to assemblies. Had Harry Potter wizarding duels with my roommate: these often ended in fits of giggles, when our dorm parent took pity on the rest of our hallway and closed our door early during study hall (oh, senior year).
Friends and Clients and Photography
I have leaned on my friends hard in January, and I am grateful for them more than anything. I've solidified friendships with new people. Friends - and family, and classmates - have consistently reminded me they are there, and to take care of myself, to find the silver lining. Many of my clients become new friends, or old friends become new clients. I am incredibly grateful for both. Photography encompasses far more than taking photos (though it absolutely gives me a rush and thrill!) - it's about relationships, too, and connecting. By way of delivered photos, my clients have something to pass down, to connect with their children and grandchildren.
It can make a world of difference. The most popular item in my gratitude journal is my friends. I would be nowhere without them. And current and future clients have them to thank for all of my photos and client experience. Encouragement, ideas, downtime, laughter. People have made it onto a journal entry nearly every day - and the days that didn't were mainly because some days this month encompassed: "milk, internet, Netflix" or "heat, money for groceries, cheese" or "food, wine, me time, and Netflix." Okay, okay, so I have favorites! ;)
What would be in your gratitude journal today?