When I started thinking of writing a book on my experience of practicing gratitude, I was looking for a title for that book. I work with an idea – a title, a character or an event as a launching pad when I write.
I thought of 365 Days of Gratitude as an obvious title and I chatted it through with a friend who has been with me on every step of this journey. She was not impressed. It was backward looking, and sounded as if I had completed my journey.
Had I really completed my journey? The year had been transformative. Why stop now?
Well, I hadn’t intended to stop, but I also hadn’t intended to continue my journey publicly. But, why not? I came back to our next meeting proud that I had made a new and, if I may say so, a rather “stretch” target. I had been reluctant throughout the year to commit to anything bigger than another 3-months. Each time I committed to another milestone, the ego would get all over the path telling me how boring, stupid and useless was this whole idea. I knew it would call forth my demons, but I bit the bullet and announced: “A Thousand Days of Gratitude”.
She thought it was a good idea. Good. Not great.
“Well,” I said, a little more defensive than a person grounded in gratitude should be, “Malcolm Gladwell says it takes ten thousand hours to master anything, but I felt the benefits of gratitude in the first few weeks. I don’t need ten thousand days of gratitude.”
“Don’t you?” She asked.
I wondered. The idea really sank in. Ten thousand days is nearly 30 years. Given the age I was, that would quite conceivably be the rest of my life. A lifetime of gratitude. Wow.
But what if I didn’t make it? I had taken milestones in manageable chunks so as not to fail in a public commitment. Thirty years was not guaranteed. But then again, neither is tomorrow. If I continued to write about gratitude for ten thousand days – and I physically didn’t reach that milestone – I would guarantee to write a real happy ending, to my own life.
I would learn to write what I had always wanted to put out into the world, as a writer.
It is morbid to think of creating a happy ending for one’s life, so instead, let’s consider Ten Thousand Days of Gratitude as a roadmap for an adventure into a happy life, built on grateful living.
So, welcome, friends, to the rest of my life. I hope you will journey with me, for at least awhile, and maybe find and take something to inspire your own journey of grateful living.