Unfortunately, it’s kind of hard to be thankful right now. The country I love is falling apart. The lowest people have been given a green light to be hateful. Those caught in the middle are tearing at each others’ throats. Every day I get on Twitter and see more of our institutions crumbling. I feel powerless to stop it.
On a personal level, my business isn’t doing so hot. The ads I ran this past weekend were a GIANT BUST. I’m five days and 10,000 words behind on #nanowrimo on a project that I no longer love. Also, the aforementioned elections seeped into my personal relationships and caused some rocky times.
When everything hits the fan, it’s difficult to find the ray of sunshine amongst it all. But when I get to that point of pure disillusionment, that’s when I reach for my very favorite column by Carolyn Hax.
There’s something about being generous with your time, your love, your expertise, your money — whatever you’ve got to spare — that acts like anti-venom on the bitterness of not receiving. In a way, it puts you in the position of being the person you always wanted to have in your life: The one who recognized you were getting shorted, and who makes it up to you. You can make it up to those who got an even shorter end of the stick.
Sometimes, it’s difficult even to do this. It’s hard to give of myself when I’m pulled in fifteen thousand different directions. But at the same time, even a little bit can go a long way. Cross-posting that review for someone can help lessen the sting of my own dismal numbers. Recommending a lesser-known book to someone else makes up for the lack of sales on my own dashboard. Reminding someone on Twitter that they matter helps remind me that I matter too.
As well, I look at all the blessings I do have. I live close to my family and friends. I have a great guy who treats me like a princess. I can look to my right and see nine published novels sitting on my bookshelf that I wrote in the past two-and-a-half-years. I have a beautiful house that I own that is going up in value and allows me to generate income through AirBnB. I’ve got marketable skills that have landed me a few freelance jobs. I get to spend most of my life at a keyboard writing books, even if those books don’t make me a ton of money (or any, as it were).
It’s terrifying out there right now. It’s hard to find a bright spot in all the chaos. But despite everything, I still believe most people are inherently good. I still believe that most people choose love over hate. (Don’t come for me about this, it’s how I can get out of bed in the morning. Leave me to my fantasies.)
I still believe we can find things to be thankful for. Even if it’s just being thankful that we can be the sunshine in someone else’s life.