Some words about gratitude

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We’re well past the halfway mark now in NaNoWriMo 2016.  Unfortunately, I’m only just past the halfway in my own journey to 50,000 words.  Yes, it’s a challenging year this year and I’m starting to doubt that coveted certificate will be mine on 30 November. Then again, I’ve done some awesome last-weekend writes in the last couple of years, so you never know.

I’m quite pleased with what I’ve written, however, which is after all the ultimate reason why any of us take part in this madness.  This year, I’m working on a novel that will be called, “Once Upon a Time in Second Life.”  I wrote a passage about gratitude today and decided to share it here.

That evening, he opened up a message box to her with the question, “Good day?”

“Actually yes!” she replied.  “One of my co-workers paid me a lovely compliment.”  Co-worker, he thought.  It wasn’t important to her in the slightest that he know she had people working for her.  “It was such a nice surprise.  I wrote it down in my diary as soon as I got home.”

“You keep a diary?” he asked her.

“A gratitude diary.  I try to put down two to three things in there every day.”

“Does that help?”

“Help?  Help with what?”

“Umm… life?”

She laughed.  “Well I can’t say whether it helps or not with that.  It’s just something I’ve done for a while now.  It’s become part of who I am.  You should try it.  They do say it’s good for you.”

“Gratitude diary, eh?”

“Two to three things every day.  Think of them as pieces of psychological fruit or veg.”

“And only things that people say to me or do for me?”

“Or do to you,” she said with a laugh, which got a fist pump from Nick.  “Actually, sometimes I might record stuff that’s nothing to do with anybody, such as some lovely weather or a nice walk or a delicious meal or great book I just finished reading.”

“Who are you being grateful to when you write down stuff like that?” he asked.

“I dunno.  The author?  The chef?  The universe?”

“Who do I have to thank besides you for last night?”

“Well actually, that’s a good question.  You can thank Philip Rosedale for founding Second Life and Linden Lab staff for maintaining it and all kinds of people I’m sure for the internet infrastructure on which SL stands.  Then there’s the people who maintain your internet connection.  Then there’s Tim Berners-Lee for inventing the world wide web, without which you would probably never have found out about SL, let alone SL-INK magazine.  And you can thank Adobe for the PDF format we upload the magazine in to the ISSUU website.  You can thank the ISSUU website.  And you can thank Microsoft for the software we use to lay it all out in, and whilst you’re at that you might as well say a thank you to Bill Gates, because whatever people might say about Microsoft, they were a huge factor in the dominance of the PC which led to so much of the standardisation we today take for granted.  And no attempt at a comprehensive thank you should miss out Steve Jobs and Apple, because it was the Apple II that arguably resulted in the fast-tracking of the IBM PC, and it was the fast-tracking of the IBM PC that resulted in its open architecture, and it was the open architecture of the IBM PC that led to it becoming so easily copied and therefore the cheap and widespread computer of the masses that has ultimately redefined business and communication all over the world.”

“Should I thank the IBM people too, then?”

She laughed.  “That’s just off the top of my head thinking.  The point is that few things happen by accident.  We live in a world that’s been designed.  We have so much to be grateful for.  These days we do so little for ourselves: we don’t have to hunt for our food or chop wood to make fires to keep us warm.  We can move ourselves around without having to expand hardly any energy at all.  And there’s so much entertainment at our disposal the choice is almost overwhelming.  When so much is done for us, nothing feels like an accomplishment any more.  We lose the sense of pleasure that comes from achieving something.  We only notice when things go wrong for us.  Think about that.  If those are the only things we register then all that happens to us emotionally is we accumulate this massive store of grievance and disappointment and anger.  Is it any wonder so many people are so bitter about life?”  Only when they’re at death’s door – only when they know they have so little time left – do they raise their heads and look around them, and notice just how beautiful the world around them is.”

“By which time,” Cando said,”it’s too late.”

“By which time,” Curiosity confirmed, “it’s too late.”

“Okay.  You’ve convinced me.  I’ll start a gratitude diary.”

“What will be the first thing that you’ll write in it?” she asked him.

“It will be, ‘Curiosity convinced me to keep this gratitude diary’,” he replied.

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