Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Men's Health

Font Size
A
A
A

A Little Gratitude

But then I wrote ninety-one in the first week. continued...

But overall, this just didn't work. Letters came back unopened. My handwriting got worse with each repetition. I began to realize that thank-you notes, like their verbal counterparts, should not be broadcast indiscriminately like grass seed. I had made the mistake of treating the thank-you note as something easy and casual, vaguely tossed off, rather than something timely and considered. After week one, I started to make some choices, finding real moments from the day before.

Every morning I took three cards and set them down in front of me. I was back to my original formula. Now that I wasn't keeping a running list of every event on my Day-Timer, when I didn't force myself into a frenzy to cover every possibility, I found that I was in a sort of buyer's market each morning; I had plenty to pick from. I wrote my therapist, and a biologist I spoke to at a New Year's party about books he was reading, and my departmental assistant. I thanked my brother for the football he sent my son for Christmas, the one we played catch with until our fingers were dead from cold. I thanked people for parties, for lunches, for jars of jelly dropped on my porch over the holidays.

I've never been very good at this whole daily-reflection thing, but if I ever gave it a real shot, it was while I was scratching out these notes. Time passed differently. I began to look at the day as a series of opportunities for thankfulness rather than obligations to a calendar. The discipline of the writing gave me a morning ritual beyond a cup of coffee and the blathering of SportsCenter. I started, for the first time in years, to work on my handwriting. The morning didn't tear by the way it usually does. I found that I could sit there and reconstruct the prior day by thinking of the faces of the people I met, the tenor of the things they did, and the places in which I met them. With each day, I could remember more about each day that passed.

One day, toward the end of my experiment, I was called into my boss's office and pretty much told my time was up. They couldn't offer me the terms I had been working under any longer, and they wanted things to change, whether I wanted them to or not. As I sat there, my head filled with anger. I could think of three people I blamed for this. Then more. Jealous, petty, careless people, each of whom had declared, without saying as much, that they no longer wanted to watch my back. Thanks, I wanted to shout. Thanks a lot. But I knew by now that no one would hear. I wasn't being fired; I was being dared to quit.

Today on WebMD

Life Cycle of a Penis
Slideshow
Preacher Curl
Slideshow
 
testosterone molecule
Article
Xray of foot highlighting gout
Slideshow
 
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
Slideshow
Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Quiz
 
Man taking blood pressure
Slideshow
doctor holding syringe
Slideshow
 
Condom Quiz
Quiz
thumbnail_angry_couple_in_bed
Slideshow
 
man running
Quiz
woman holding hand to ear
Slideshow