It’s Thanksgiving Week here in the U. S. and on this island in the Pacific Northwest, it’s cool and crisp, with sparkly sun and incredibly blue skies. I’m thinking that the weather is just one thing I am thankful for, one of many things, in this exact moment in time, that I love.
The thing I most like about this holiday is that it excludes no one. Because we all have things to be thankful for, right?
A couple of Novembers ago, people were starting 30-day gratitude challenges, that is, they named one thing they were thankful for every day through the thirty days of the month.
It’s a cool idea and I may try it one of these months (I definitely don’t have to wait until next November). The thing about these kinds of exercises is that they make you dig below the surface and recognize things about yourself that you weren’t consciously aware of.
It got me thinking. I wonder if I could name 99 things I appreciate, 99 things I am grateful for. 99 things I love.
I set the timer for 10 minutes (because I am obsessively goal-oriented) and started, telling myself that I would just write off the top of my head, until the buzzer went off.
The 99 Things
This exercise can help you in all kinds of ways. You get a sense of what’s important in life, where your priorities lie and what brings you joy.
I keep this list on the wall by my computer screen. When I need a break from from writing, it reminds me of all the things in life I take for granted.
So, in a way, it’s a gratitude list, too.
99 Things I Love
- Feeding peanuts to squirrels
- Watching 1930s screwball comedies
- The smell of a bold roast coffee brewing
- Writing my life stories
- Learning how to juggle
- Teaching something new, to anyone
- Going on a day car trip with Bob, with no business involved
- Painting with watercolors
- Black licorice
- New car smell
- Taking a walk on a foggy fall day
- Snow globes
- Writing thick, gloppy letters with a fountain pen
- A first grader’s missing-tooth grin
- Reading early 20th Century classics
- The smell of new-cut firewood
- Making paper snowflakes
- Hiking in the woods behind our house
- Any song by Ella Fitzgerald
- Seeing photos of our daughter in her first off-off Broadway play
- Making my husband laugh
- Making anybody laugh
- Red-sky sunsets
- The smell of lilies
- Making popping noises with that bubble wrap stuff
- Lap time with Sir Chester the cat
- Seeing my breath on a cold day
- Homemade veggie pizza
- Discussing political candidates and issues
- Exercising to the Pavarotti & Friends for Bosnia Concert CD
- The Manhattan skyline
- Walking the beach on a stormy day
- Judy Collins’s version of “Send in the Clowns”
- Slightly tart wild blackberry pie
- Canadian spelling
- Old Hitchcock movies
- Flannel pajamas
- Canada geese flying low over the water
- The sound of rain on the roof
- The smell of a cedar tree
- Veggie spring rolls with red chili sauce
- Encouraging new writers
- Watching improv comedy
- Turning down the sound on old movies and making up new lines of dialogue
- Laughing until I cry
- Getting caught in a rainstorm without an umbrella
- Those scented marking pens
- Double tall, slightly dry, nonfat cappuccinos
- Getting the letter “Q” in a Scrabble game
- Chocolates with a caramel center
- Central Park in the spring
- Browsing in one of NYC’s antique book shops
- A loud thunderstorm
- Penguins—real or drawn
- The sound of a baby’s laugh
- Writing longhand in journals
- Reading poetry out loud
- World maps
- Smiling at a child in a grocery store
- Reading a memoir—any memoir
- The smell of a fresh-baked molasses cookie
- Buying the biggest Christmas tree on the lot
- A crackling fire
- Art produced by 5-year-olds
- Hot Tamales (the candy)
- Reading obituaries and wondering what they left out
- Watching a documentary on the making of a movie
- Spotting a bald eagle
- Sunlight on stained glass windows
- Going through my old high school yearbooks
- The taste of a good artichoke
- Scented candles
- Sending handwritten letters
- A double shot of espresso
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art—any exhibit, anytime
- Backyard birds waking me up
- Baby raccoons
- The smell of asphalt after a summer rain
- Snow falling on cedars (not the book—actual snow falling on cedars)
- Going down playground slides
- Scottish bagpipes
- Walking on an icy puddle to hear the cracking sound
- The lonely sound of a ferry’s foghorn
- Eavesdropping to catch interesting lines of dialogue
- A star-filled night in sub-Saharan Mali
- Notecards with Impressionist art
- The Washington (DC) National Zoo
- The cartoons in The New Yorker magazine
- Old clocks
- A chilled vodka martini with a lemon twist
- Making snow angels
- The song “Danny Boy”
- Tree houses
- Blowing bubbles
- Sounds of a children’s choir
- The smell of a homemade cinnamon roll
Do you think a list this size would be hard to create?
Are any of these on your list, too?
Any that aren’t on my list?
I challenge you to create your own list. Better yet, create it and share it in a blog post.
Last Thanksgiving, a few of my readers blogged theirs and it was fun to read them—and find similarities and the things we had in common.
Want to try it? If you do, leave a link to your post, so we can visit, read and comment.