Tuesday, February 7, 2012

End of January interlude

This seems like a good time to stop and think about what I'm doing, what with a few over 31 cards mailed.

On the practical side, a new, if relatively inexpensive, Shaeffer pen does better with the writing if nothing for my penmanship. The cards from Peter Pauper Press are far superior to the Hallmark cards with which I began this project. I still don't get why Hallmark would make cares that do not absorb ink from fountain pens.

Yep, I ordered both the pen and the cards from Amazon. Surely, you don't expect me to actually enter a store and speak to a clerk, do you?

I spent some time over dinner last week discussing several points regarding this project with a friend, She expressed surprise that I would have several self-imposed rules, especially since I often spend a lot of time working out ways to get around the rules.

For example, she thought the requirement that the gratitude be expressed for something current left me failing to express gratitude for the larger, and perhaps more important, things years past. She expressed interest in letting people know how important they have been in her life.

I see her point, and I think her intent is worthy. She should do it. However, the intent of this project is to find at least a single something every day for which to express gratitude, and that means, often, I'm looking into the little things that most of us, especially me, would simply take for granted.

She also thought the one card a day rule was restrictive, and I suppose it could be. I've broken it twice so far, both times in instances where a group of people were responsible for the act I was grateful for. However, I still think this restriction is beneficial. Without it, I'd be likely to write a lot of cards one day, and then have a long dry spell during which I'd be disinclined to to see those things for which I should be grateful.

It's not so much that I have to look for things in the world for which I am grateful, though there have been days, especially last year where the cynic in me might wonder about that. It's more a training exercise where slow and steady wins the race. It's the story of the Tortoise and the Hare applied to something that I now find sadly lacking in our world.

This is not to say that I find only one thing each day. Some days, there are several, and I use Evernote on my phone to keep a list of the people and their actions for which I am grateful lest I become forgetful. Yes, I could write the list in a paper notebook, and I almost started doing that, but the phone is with me most of the time.

Yesterday, I added three lines to the list, and now I'm up to seven items in waiting. This suggests that at some point, I'll have to bend my rule and write several cards. In that event, I believe that'll be a very good problem to have, and I look forward to taking care of that queue. For the moment, though, I'm going to hold to one a day just in case I run into a streak of bad luck.

I have noticed a certain and quite pleasant softening of my world in the past 31 days. Perhaps that is a natural course of events that would have occurred anyway. Perhaps it's in some manner a product of sending the cards. I might never know, but I am glad to see it happening regardless of the source. We could use more moments of gentler expression in this world, especially as the current slate of Republican presidential candidates go out of their way to express hatred and contempt for so many otherwise harmless people.

There is one matter that is beginning to bother me, and that is the imbalance of work and life. I've long worked to blend work and life because I, generally, see the two as variations on a theme. In part, then, that this project is sending a lot of notes to the work address does not surprise me. Think about it. We spend a lot of time with the people at work, enough time to rival what we spend with friends and family.

With that said, it is becoming evident to me that I need additional outlets that are not work related, not so much to alleviate any boredom that might arise with work, but more to add enrichment, to add other types of thinking and other manners of thinkers. Now, what this diversion might be remains a mystery. Take a class? If a class, what class? There're certainly enough political activities this season and this year to keep a fellow occupied. Whatever it is needs to be complimentary, and we'll get to it soon. Maybe I'll start back harassing fish.

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