Gratitude Is Best When It Repeats

You don’t need a new thing to be grateful for each day. In fact, realizing it’s the same things that make you happy, over and over again, may be exactly what you need.

Every night, I write down three things I’m grateful for. I’ve been doing it for eight years.

At first, I tried hard to be creative. “What did I not write down yet? What’s something unique to be grateful for?”

Eventually, I got lazy. When I felt busy or tired, I quickly threw three things together. Especially on bad days, I kept coming back to the basics.

I felt bad about this for a while. “I’m not being as grateful as I should be. If I was more grateful, I’d find better things.” Then, I realized that was nonsense. The basics are the part that matters.

Gratitude is not a creativity exercise. It’s a gratitude exercise.

How reassuring if, time and again, you realize all you need is coffee, cheap groceries, and free music on Youtube.

If you need a new gratitude fix every day — if you chase ever bigger outcomes in hopes of putting them on that list — you’re doing it wrong. You’re turning gratitude into a game of ambition, and that’s the opposite of what it’s for.

I still try to be creative sometimes. Instead of picking coffee itself, I might be grateful that my coffee maker — which I’ve also had for eight years — hasn’t broken down. But whenever I catch myself writing down yet another pattern, another thing or idea I’ve used a thousand times, I smile.

A warm bed, free wifi, fresh air — these are the things that make life an honor to wake up to, not winning an Oscar or going to see the great pyramids. Those are just the gravy — and we all know fries taste just as great with ketchup.

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