November 20, 2012 Is it Fear?

I think perhaps this thing I have about gratefulness is a result of fear.

I am afraid that one day, I’ll wake up and everything will have changed – or for that matter—nothing EXCEPT one key, monumentally important thing has changed – and not for the good. And then I’ll be looking back on the day before and wonder how was it that I didn’t know. How was it that I didn’t realize all that I had?

My thinking about gratitude goes back a long, long time—even before codifying it with the inauguration of my running watch’s alarm. I remember working really late at CBS/Fox – 10:00/11:00 pm — leaving the office to go down to the street (6th avenue and 48th ) where a car service waited to take me home. And I remember thinking that however tired I was and however much I was pissed that I was working so late and that no one appreciated me, I was really, really grateful that I had a job where I could call for a Town car to come pick me up! And I remember thinking that at some point, maybe I wouldn’t have a job like that and I would look back at these times and wonder why I didn’t appreciate them more.

So maybe a certain soupçon of anxiety is in the recipe for my gratitude. I never want to wake up and think to myself why didn’t I appreciate the job more, before I got too old/sick /bored to do it well. Or why wasn’t I more grateful for the friends that I have before they’re gone.

I don’t really think fear should be the motivating factor for anything, but yet… If fear of a heart attack makes you lose weight, not so bad. Kudos to fear. If trepidation makes one study even harder for an exam, not so shabby. And another point for fear. If my anxiety that I won’t fully appreciate all that I have until it’s gone, makes me kiss David extra hard each morning, hug each friend I see, use my cats as blankets as I watch television and suck the juice, pulp and all, out of each day, well then is it really fear? Or is it taking time to be grateful?


  1. I think being aware that things change is a tough one. When I was growing up, it never dawned on me that I wouldn’t have to wear a garter belt, or that Krushchev wouldn’t be running things, or that I wouldn’t have to learn how to walk on spike heels. Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote, a poem, “Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies” which is a great title because it speaks on at least two different levels. But I also think the childhood is the kingdom where you don’t really understand that things change. After all, summer seems endless! When you’re a kid, change? Not a concept. And it’s often not much easier when you get older.

  2. Maybe it’s not fear, so much, as an awareness that people and situations do change. Not everyone has that recognition. I think it’s something we earn through difficult times, when something once taken for granted does change. And afterward, we learn to appreciate what we still have, and to see those things more clearly as the gifts they are.

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