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Why Writing a Gratitude List has Meant so Much to Me

At the beginning of the month, I started my first gratitude list.  People have told me to do this before, but I have never committed to it. Before November officially started, I decided I wanted to finally try making a list of things I am grateful for. I wrote out the numbers for each day of November and made it my goal to write one thing from each day that I am grateful for. Yes, November is not over, but it is about to be Thanksgiving, and I wanted to reflect and share about my personal experience keeping this list so far, especially since this time of year I feel is an important time to reflect and think about gratitude.

Making a gratitude list seems so simple, yet in ways, it has been really profound for me. I guess I never realized how the simplest things could be part of the list. Once I realized there were really no rules or guidelines to it, it became a fun activity. I have put all different things on the list. It has ranged from videos of my cat that were sent to me, to literally writing “that first sip of coffee feeling.” I am starting to really see that there is always something to be grateful for, and I am realizing that a lot of the time it really is the small stuff that is the most meaningful. I am so grateful for the big things, such as family, friends, etc., but the small things are special too: laughing with a friend in class, meeting nice people in my classes, having a random canceled class by a professor, my favorite coffee, my bed. I feel special when I think of all the little happy things.

I have to remember the little things and to enjoy them. Part of it is from this list, but maybe part of it is also from the pandemic. There were so many unknowns for two years, and I did not realize all of the small wins that were present everyday. It is helping me to stay grounded when I push myself to write one great thing even when I might be having a tough day. I am aware of the small but meaningful parts of my day. I am excited to continue the list even after November is finished. I want to continue this practice of gratitude because it has made me see each day differently and has taught me a lot. It may seem like a small thing to create a gratitude list, but it has been incredibly meaningful for me.

The truth is, and it may seem corny, but I love feeling grateful. I love giving more attention to the small and happy parts of my day. I love looking back on the list to remember what I have already written. I like the self-reflection that comes with and goes beyond the list. Even on tough days, I know there is bound to be something good that happens, and I just have to be open to seeing it. Gratitude is important, and I hope everyone gets to experience some of it this holiday season in whatever form that may be. One last note, finding something positive in each day does not mean that there are no stressful moments. I have lots of stressful moments. However, looking for gratitude gives me the chance to not only see the negatives but to also see the positives. I have found that it is all about balance, but I am happy to say that this gratitude list has brought me happiness, and I am grateful for that.

Mary James

Gettysburg '23

Gettysburg College '23 WGS Major Education and English Minor Coffee Connoisseur