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Changes in Gratitude & Changes in Attitude…

By Lori Welch Brown

Changes in Gratitude & Changes in Attitude…

…Nothing remains quite the same.

Gratitude has been part of my daily practice for quite some time, but this year required adding a whole new level.  My list of things to be grateful for changed from things like family, friends, and wellness to medical professionals, fashionable masks, Grubhub, and Netflix.  All the doctors, nurses, and healthcare personnel who went above and beyond this year are true heroes, and I am grateful to those who rose to this unprecedented occasion.

The news has been gut wrenching, and combined with a heated election and the overlay of COVID-19, the weight of the world has never felt heavier on our collective shoulders.  At least in my lifetime except for 9/11, and several gruesome mass murderers that I can’t bear to recall.  And yet, the human spirit finds ways to shine its light through the rubble.  I am always amazed at the brave, courageous people who step forward, roll up their sleeves, and lead us through the darkness.  I am humbled by them, and eternally grateful.   

I’ve seen it in my own family and friends.  My niece, a young nurse, volunteered to leave her home base in Florida to assist the COVID efforts in New York for several months. A friend has hosted weekly fundraisers for the past few months raising thousands for local charities.  I watched several neighbors leave each morning to work in hospitals and ERs during peak outbreaks.  Several friends delivered meals to hospital units which in turn supported local restaurants.    

At every turn, there have been reasons to be grateful, but some days have been easier than others to find them.  A mindset change was needed in many cases.  Many people, including myself, have had days and weeks where we struggled with finding our footing and/or reasons to be thankful.  I watched as one of my friends struggled through some of his darkest hours.  All I could do was what I was doing for myself, remind him that there were blessings everywhere.  We just had to look harder for them and maybe wait for others that have yet to show up.  I had days where I was most grateful for Schitt’s Creek and an abundance of dark chocolate in my pantry.  In all seriousness, if you have hot water, food in your pantry, and a roof over your head, it’s a good start.

As we bear down on the last couple of months of this crazy year, I’m reminded of Jimmy Buffet’s song Changes in Latitudes:

These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes,

Nothing remains quite the same.

Through all of islands and all of the highlands,

If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.

We are all reminded of places we’ve been.  Italy, Austin, Greece, New Orleans!

Visions of good times that brought us so much pleasure

And make us all want to go back again.  Anywhere, but my living room!

Good times and riches and son of a b#tch*s,

We’ve seen more than we can recall.  So many SOBs!  Especially in line at Costco. 

But, we will be back again soon.  Especially for TP!

I’m embracing changes in “gratitude” and changes in attitude. I know I’ll need both to get through the winter months.  Nothing remains quite the same.  Ever.  Thank God.  This year has been about change at every corner, and we have found new things to add to our gratitude lists. I’ve adjusted my attitude so much this year, I likely need to replace my attitude meter.  And, if I don’t make it to “Margaritaville” any time soon, I may go insane.

I definitely need to change my attitude around food.  The comfort food and over-indulging behaviors provided immediate gratification, but are not a good long-term strategy.  I realized that in October when I was feeling especially sluggish after spending the month of September in birthday celebration mode.  All the cake, carbs, and Chardonnay definitely caught up with me.  Time for a recalibration.  Feeling well physically and mentally is paramount, and making decisions based on wellness needs to be a priority.  Remind me of that today around 5:00 pm, okay?  It’s a little scary heading into the holiday season when you’re already feeling a health deficit and waistline increase of about 40 percent.  At this rate, I’ll be able to sub for Mrs. Claus if Christmas isn’t cancelled.

2020, you’ve tested us, but we with our changes in gratitude and attitude, we are gonna be okay. We still have plenty to be grateful for, and although I can’t hug my dad, I remain hopeful that people smarter than me will make it possible one day soon. In the meantime, I remain thankful for all the blessings life has to offer, and hopefully, this election being in our rearview mirrors.  Time to move forward and get this year behind us before I run out of attitudes.

Happy Thanksgiving from my OTC family to yours.

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