I know, I know. We’ve all heard about the importance of being grateful. So I’m not going to blather on about its individual and collective benefits. Instead, I’m just going to make a short list of some of the things I’m grateful for. Warning: I’m new to this gratitude thing. I may mess it up on occasion. I feel like I’m standing at the edge of the pool whose water temperature I find less than ideal, but know once I get in, I’ll enjoy it.
Also, sorry, I should just add: I’m going to leave out the obvious: my children, my partner, my parents. These are worth mentioning, and indeed I just did that, as well as pointing out they’re the things for which I feel the deepest gratitude. I’m going to try to focus on some of the less obvious, one might argue even frivolous ones (though I’d argue otherwise).So, OK, enough procrastination: I am grateful
That I was able to get a CoVid vaccine
That my dog Daisy is my constant empathetic companion
For F. Scott Fitzgerald’s sentences and Toni Morrison’s words
For the community of friends I’ve somehow managed to accrue and keep in my life
For the privilege of having my plays produced and published
For the privilege of working with so many big-brained, large-hearted talented people who elevated those plays to enable that to happen
For the sound of a bat hitting a baseball and a fastball hitting a catcher’s mitt. Anytime, but especially in early spring
For living close to museums that allow me to see Van Gogh and T Rexs up close
For meals with friends
For the chance during this pandemic to learn how to savor those meals with friends even more deeply
For Side Two of Abbey Road
For pretty much anything Monty Python ever cooked up
For the woman who told me I had dropped my Metrocard on the Subway last week
For getting to play guitar with my friend Rob
For the warm and happy memories of friends and family that are, in Paul McCartney’s words, “Longer than the road the stretches far ahead”
For Yo Yo Ma playing Bach
For being alive at a time when I can listen to great music at will
For a perfectly, or even competently, grilled cheese burger (I know, I know)
For the fact that most people are generally good
For the fact I’ve been forgiven
For the fact that I can forgive
For British panel shows
For the fact I once got to play Hamlet, Mercutio, and many others and be alive in Shakespeare’s world for a brief time
For New York pizza
For New York bagels
For, let’s face it, most carbs
For the chance to write on this blog
For what my mistakes have taught me, despite the occasional need for them to repeat their lessons
For how my depression has helped me learn empathy
For a Ribeye steak, rare, sprinkled with Kosher salt (I know, I know)
For birthday cakes
For the first warm day after winter
For the fact that there are fat more great works of art and literature than I’ll ever be able to read in my life
For the fact that I still cry every time I watch “It’s A Wonderful Life”
For the feeling of being in bed at night as the rain pelts my window
For the fact that I have shelter and food and clothes
For Tom Waits’ “Martha”
For having great teachers, in and out of class
For the 1998 Yankees
For getting to watch Mariano Rivera pitch in my lifetime
For days when I write well-ish
For days when I can’t write at all and get to watch TV instead
For “Arrested Development,” the show and the concept
For living near the ocean
For those rare few of you who made it to the end of this list
OK, that’ll do for now. Of course, your mileage may vary. Be well, and if nothing else today, be grateful this list wasn’t longer.
Follow me, hell, STALK me on twitter and Instagram @jackcanfora
Please check out my online theater company: http://www.newnormalrep.org
41 thoughts on “Dear Lord, Not Another Post On This Blog About Gratitude”
For someone new to gratitude, you have made an amazing start! Thanks for sharing!
I love this list – makes me feel warm and fuzzy for the things that I am grateful for. I once heard Brene Brown (sociologist, Univ of Houston) liken gratefulness practice as something you have to do regularly just like yoga. She said she loves the idea of yoga had a whole closet of yoga clothes but since she never gets them out and does yoga, it doesn’t make her a yoga practitioner. Just like with gratitude – we can love the idea of gratitude but we have to practice it.
Two from your list really hit home for me – the sound of a ball hitting a bat. I could hear it the instant I read that and gave me a new appreciation. And Yo Yo Ma playing Bach – reminded me I needed to hear that again soon. So, I’m grateful for you and that you posted this!
Gosh, it made me feel fuzzy too! Bit random but I love yoga! Ahaha!
Gratitude is so important. I think of it like a muscle; you have to keep training it!
Have a wonderful day 🙂
That’s so kind of you. Glad you liked it!
Hello, you knew this was coming……thank you. Thank you for being a normal person in this City (and you know where you are). Thank you for your List. You know, you don’t have to qualify anything in the first sentence. You can lead with “Thank You” and go from there. The energy is different. Try it.
This is lovely, Jack. It made me smile, and brought a much-needed moment of serenity. Keep on enjoying those simple pleasures (and your obvious kick-ass taste in music). Wishing you well, friend. 🕊
I’m grateful that you didn’t write a cheesy blog on gratefulness. I rather like your reasons for being grateful and am inspired to find my own (uncheesy) reasons!
I keep a journal and write four to six things I’m grateful for that day before I go to sleep. They can be totally lame, doesn’t matter. But I do it every night. I was so skeptical when someone suggested I do it but it’s made a huge difference in my life.
I do something similar as well :))
That’s wonderful to hear!
Hetty – Someone recommended the same to me, and although I don’t always do it, when I do it really helps. It’s amazing to me how, even after a tough day, remembering the things that were good shifts my perspective.
Hahaha, sure made me laugh, and I’m grateful for my laughter! You are hilarious!
You’re very kind!
I made it to the end. Great list!!!
Thank you so much, Robin!
Once upon a time, I tried writing a one-man play about an aging man who had lost his will to live. He would start the show by taking a lethal cocktail of drugs and the whole thing was about his growing intoxication as he talked about the difficulties of aging and it involved nudity for much of the show. As he got close to death he would discover he still had things to be grateful for. Finally, he’d call 911 and pass out as it was being answered.
I was going to do it for the Hollywood Fringe. Put aside the money. Had a theater lined up and was writing and rehearsing madly. Even did the opening for the acting class I was in and they liked it. Then COVID struck, the Fringe was gone and that was that.
I have since decided that I do not know how to write a decent extended monologue. Further discovered that this particular topic appears to be of limited interest. Probably a dead end for me.
Anyone who has succeeded in writing a play and not given up in despair and frustration gets my respect. Something to be truly and honestly grateful for.
Thanks so much. It’s more a matter for me of patiently writing a lot of bad stuff until something palatable comes along.
You’re so kind!
Gorgeous thank you so much 🙂
I love your list-how genuine and quirky it is. I think you may have inspired me to start my own. And I totally agree with you about Arrested Development.
Brilliant, brilliant show. And thanks for your kind words!
And I gotta add that though it’s sad that Jessica Walters (?) aka Lucille Bluth passed this week…she died in her sleep. It’s like we never hear that happening anymore, and it’s all any of us would hope for.
Beautiful! Thank you!
Gosh! What a delicious piece of writing. Now I am grateful! 😆💯🙏
Looks like quite a few of us got to the end of the piece! After a year in lockdown in the UK this week, I wasn’t feeling very grateful, but I think I might now try to write a list like yours, Jack. At the minute, I like your steak and salt, and I might add to it certain sentences by John Updike and watching the English cricketer Ben Stokes (at the moment, he’s hitting the ball MILES against India).
So true. He inspired me to write and share my list of gratitude on my blog. I called it ‘Hashtag Gratitude Challenge’. 😁
You can’t mess up gratitude. Thank you for sharing!
You can’t ever be grateful for limited things. It is always a huge list!
Jack – what a lovely list. As I was reading, this line really hit me: “For how my depression has helped me learn empathy”– although I haven’t struggled with depression (at least not at a diagnosed/clinical level), I was just moved by how you described something that can be so, so hard in terms of this “benefit” of empathy. I think for all of us, that’s a redemptive way to view our experiences of suffering.
Made me smile!😊
I love this list! Some were favorites of mine, like side 2 of Abbey Road. Others I found something similar to relate to, as in my 2008 Phillies. Thanks for an inspiring list!
You’ve done well. It is important to remember to be grateful for the little things, especially on the days when we have the energy to do so. Because on the days when nothing ‘big’ happens, it is these beautiful little gems that can help us. Peace to you, dear friend, and I hope your gratitude journey continues just as well as it started here. 💛