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A Look Back: An Exercise in Gratitude
July 1, 2023

This week, I happened upon a Gratitude Journal from 2016. A time capsule. I flipped through it enjoying the memories, amused by a few subjects of gratitude that have slipped off my radar and the serial listings that are still with me. My initial entry was on New Year’s Day 2016, and I remained spottily faithful through the end of April. Well, I skipped February completely, but it looks like I was off doing stuff for which I’d be grateful later. 

Consistent Mentions

  • Date night
  • Kids’ happiness
  • Yoga
  • Coffee in bed
  • Downton Abbey
  • Healthy eating
  • Flexibility of my schedule
  • Travel
  • Good night’s rest
  • Sunshine
  • My patio
  • Bella (One of my Granddogs) 


Recently, I told someone we had been getting together with the same group of friends, for a game night, faithfully, once a month, for four years! Um, I was grateful for this in 2016! That’s at least seven years.

I’m surprised at how many notations are about things I just don’t think about anymore: Jamaica, fairies, and lots of hippie spiritual stuff.

I was writing much more back then. Submitting query letters, meeting with authors and beta readers, and pitching magazine articles. I was receiving rejection letters for which I was trying to be grateful. I was super engaged and excited.

Sad Realities

Gratitudes number two and three on January 1, 2016, were, “Special Thanksmas with all the kids,” followed by “Kids enjoy time together.” 

Those entries made me sad. I can’t remember the last time all seven of our kids were under the same roof. Or the last Thanksmas we spent together. 

And there was a gratitude for the girl’s trip to Denver Daughter’s house with my two stepdaughters and my daughter-in-law that I had hoped would be an annual event that turned out to be a one-hit wonder. It was on this trip that we went to an animal shelter, all the girls encouraging Denver Daughter as she met Bella whom she later adopted. 

Somehow gathering together as a complete group has become increasingly complicated. Covid seemed to be the final nail. I just miss those times. 

My great nieces and nephews were mentioned multiple times. We’d had a sleepover and I was celebrating my relationship with them. They are not little kids anymore. Soon, I’ll be attending their graduations and weddings.

My Favorite Entry

A not in a gratitude journal.
So much hopeful energy here.

Today, I’m grateful for finding this journal. I’m grateful for an opportunity to be reminded of things for which I was grateful seven years ago, capturing the tenor of the time. I’m grateful for the opportunity to feel the prick of melancholy over things I miss and the reminder of how much they truly mean to me. And I’m grateful to pick up anew on a fresh page with a fresh start, noting gratitude.

A fresh start in a found journal.
I love a fresh start!

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  1. This is so moving! I’m grateful for you and the wisdom you share!

  2. Loved reading your memories.
    I experience similar feelings when my phone creates slideshows from years gone by. These memories can trigger such joy but also sadness for changes throughout the years. I am grateful to have these reminders of so many sweet memories and am encouraged to continue to make more memories to treasure?


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Debi Dixon

Debi Dixon

The Universe is guiding me on an incredible adventure: my Plan B. I write here to share bits of my Odyssey, hopefully to inspire, encourage, or extend the virtual hand of friendship.

When I quit teaching in 2014, I could never have imagined the growth I would experience through travel, writing, reading, therapy, and introspection.

I believe human connection and compassion will go a long way toward our healing, and the best way to connect and feel compassion for one another is through the sharing of our stories.

Thank you for joining me here. I appreciate you and may we grow together.

Inspirational Quote

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”
~Joseph Campbell

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