I had my first session with a new therapist yesterday. Afterwards, I felt incredibly tired, as though I had traveled a thousand miles on foot, in the snow, uphill, while dragging something heavy. (Is that not what happened?)
My therapist said that studies have shown that people who make time to write down a list of things they’re grateful for at least once a week are 25 percent happier. (How do they measure these things? Who’s in the control group, and who’s in the test group? Is anyone from the study unemployed, or terminally ill, or recently divorced, or grieving the death of a loved one, or trying to salvage what’s left of their life and their home after a natural disaster, or living in poverty, or any of the other daily tragedies that can one hundred percent negatively impact one’s sense of happiness?) Anyway, I’m skeptical, but I’ll give it a try.
Things I’m grateful for today:
- All of the people who have reached out since I was laid off to show love and support: friends, family, colleagues. I know that I’m not alone, and it means a lot.
- My severance package. I’m unemployed, but I’m not facing immediate financial panic. A privilege I will never not be aware of and grateful for. I’m so fucking lucky.
- Time. It sucks being unemployed, and I hate unstructured time especially when it isn’t something I’ve chosen. But, I’m grateful I have time to look for my next opportunity, time to grieve the loss of a great job and a great team and work I enjoyed, time to reflect on what I’ve learned, time to rest.
- Books. I’ve read a lot in the past few weeks. My favorite was Lindy West’s new book, “The Witches Are Coming.” She’s so brilliant and funny. Her anger comforts and inspires me.
- Daily walks with my dog, Samson. I don’t ordinarily have time for this every day when I’m working, but I’ve made a habit of it while I’m unemployed and more than anything else it’s grounded me. It’s good bonding time for Sammy and I, and it helps me feel connected to the world and to my body.
- The ivy plant in my bathroom. It’s thriving in its little corner. I’ve counted three new leaves in the last week—a gentle reminder to be hopeful and committed to my own growth.