I used to occasionally lapse into gloom about all the things in life that went wrong. I wasn’t qualified to do it on the part of other people, but I could look at my own history and pick out the mouldy bits. The problem is that once I started looking, I kept on looking.
I’ll bet you’ve done this too…wasn’t it a pain?
My solution to it turned out to be a list. Actually two lists – the List Of Desires and the Untouchable List. I’ve written about these on this column before. The one is sometimes known as the Bucket List and the other has a ruder name….
The List Of Desires gets a look-in every so often to see if a Window Of Glorious Opportunity has opened. So far, no, but a Small Service Hatch Of Possibility swings ajar every now and then and I get to do small things. These are inordinately pleasing in their rarity.
The Untouchable List gets an annual review, but for a very much shorter time. Look at it too long and I brood, but I must look at it briefly to remind myself of topics to avoid and people to shun. A quick peep and then snap the catch back closed.
Now, what am I grateful for? Well, I’ve met people who maintain a list as well, but it is an unholy combination of my two – adapted to their lives. They have a record of everyone who they consider has done them wrong and upon whom revenge may be taken. Whether it will happen or not, the existence of the list is disturbing in the extreme. You cannot know of it without wondering whether your name is on it somewhere.
The gratitude is realising that I’ve been able to put happiness and distress into two separate boxes and that they both have close-fitting lids. I can decide whether to open them or leave them shut.