Woody’s highly anticipated new book “STRAWBERRIES IN WINTERTIME: Essays on Life, Love, and Laughter” is NOW available! Order your signed copy HERE!
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Grateful for a Long Line at the Post Office
Abraham Lincoln said, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
In line at the post office the other day, I found myself behind two women who seemingly had their minds made up to be unhappy. Indeed, their conversation was little more than a long list of complaints.
“Why don’t they open another window? . . . I know, they’re always on break. . . . I hate tax season. . . . I don’t even want to talk about my taxes – no refund this year. . . . You won’t believe what my son’s teacher did . . . I don’t know why I bought these shoes – they hurt my feet.”
On and on it went, yet a surprising thing happened – instead of contagiously bringing my mood down, they lifted it. They inspired me to begin a mental list of simple gratitudes as an antidote to their poor attitudes.
Below is part of that list – not the easy biggies like family and health and a home, but small pleasures and gratitudes. I hope you may be inspired to come up with your own list. Here goes . . .
Having a topic for a column – as happened in line at the post office – fall into my lap.
Wildflowers blooming along the roadside.
Ventura County’s best-in-the-world strawberries in wintertime – and summertime, too. Also, dipped in chocolate.
Watching birds in flight, especially when they float on an updraft without moving their wings.
Finishing a really good book. In fact, being near the start or in the middle of a really good book.
Related topic: Libraries and librarians and bookstores. And newspapers.
Novocain when I have a cavity or need a root canal.
A foot massage. Actually, both feet being massaged.
Staring at the ocean, listening to the waves crash, watching surfers, seeing energetic dogs run playfully on the beach.
Seeing energetic kids on a playground.
Crawling into a bed freshly made with cleaned sheets.
Going to bed being so excited about tomorrow that I cannot wait to for morning to arrive.
Hearing an old song that transports me back in time to high school or college, to distant friends and places, even to a different me.
Terrific, caring, dedicated teachers. I might as well simply say: teachers.
Being smiled at.
The Channel Islands – viewing from afar and visiting in person.
Yosemite Valley. Especially Half Dome. Best of all, Yosemite Falls.
The feeling that comes after a good day of writing.
Reading something, anything, everything my author daughter writes.
A sincere compliment – giving one as well as receiving one.
Receiving a handwritten letter, note or card – and writing one.
A stately tree with patches of sunlight beaming through its full foliage.
Pizza. Especially New York City pizza. Best of all, when eating it with my son while visiting him in Manhattan.
A run. Especially along the Ventura beach bike path. Best of all, again, when in the company of my son when he’s visiting me back here.
Ventura County’s talented musicians and artists.
Ventura County’s growing collection of microbreweries that rivals anywhere.
Related to above: A pint. Sometimes a second pint.
A square, or three, of dark chocolate.
Traveling. Near or far, new places or to see familiar faces.
A welcome-home hug, whether having been gone just a couple hours or returning after months apart.
Visiting an impressive art museum – or a school on Art Nite.
Talking with – more accurately, listening to – someone who has a true passion about something. The less I know about the subject, the better because the more I then learn.
Something, anything, everything that makes me laugh. This includes laughing at myself.
A hot shower after being outside in the cold.
A long hot shower when traveling outside of drought-ridden California.
Friends. Good friends. A few great friends.
Man’s best friend. Tail-wagging dogs. Especially, of course, my goofy, loveable, gray-faced boxer Murray.
One closing gratitude: having endless reasons to make my mind up to be happy.
How about you?
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Woody Woodburn writes a weekly column for The Ventura County Star and can be contacted at WoodyWriter@gmail.com.
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