Friday, 30 March 2018


There's a Facebook meme on the go, in which every day for (say) 28 days you voice your gratitude for something in your life. As I'm probably not grateful enough for all the blessings that have fallen on me, I thought I'd borrow the meme right here.

So, some of the things I'm grateful for:
  • Being fit and healthy at the age of 71 (apart from slight hypertension and a trace of prostate cancer)
  • Having visited some beautiful cities and countries (Australia, the USA, Canada, Germany, Italy - with New Zealand coming up in January)
  • Having lived with a smart, amusing, supportive and independent-minded partner for the last 35 years
  • A windfall from my mum which helped us buy our present house
  • Having met so many interesting, quirky, unusual and surprising people
  • Having had so many enjoyable, challenging and worthwhile jobs
  • Living in a country that's relatively peaceful, democratic and prosperous (apart from the Troubles, that is)
  • The natural world, with all its astonishing plants, rivers, beaches, landscapes and wildlife
  • Everyone who has helped me out in a crisis and got me back on track
  • All the public services, from the NHS to education, welfare benefits, pensions and national parks
  • Always having enough money and never being on the breadline
  • Always having a home and never being homeless
  • The internet and all the wonderful people I've met through Facebook and blogging
  • Everyone who has opened my mind to new ideas and new viewpoints
  • Never having to worry about sharks, crocodiles or poisonous snakes
  • Rock music, books, films and art
  • Never being caught in an earthquake, a bushfire or a flood
  • Being able to read and write
  • The freedom not to follow a religion
  • Not being an angry, self-righteous bully like my (late) father
No doubt there are things I've missed out, things so obvious I take them for granted. But I like the idea of a regular roll-call of gratitude. It reminds me that the world isn't as horrible as I sometimes paint it.


  1. The secret of happiness is to ask yourself every day:
    1) What's good about my life?
    2) What needs to be done?
    3) How can I get this done and enjoy the process?

    If you just do the first step every day it makes a huge difference.

  2. You've had a fairly easy go of it Nick.
    I can't say the same. Not that I would trade lives, don't get me wrong .We are forced by our experiences.

    My gratitude lies more in the personal and where I can be of some use to others. And yes I medidate on these when I'm having a downish day.


  3. I did this exercise on my blog in the lead up to Thanksgiving a few years ago. I posted an extended discussion of one gratitude point every day. I feel that doing it that way forces a lot more reflection and stops triteness. I'm not saying you are trite, just that an extended period of reflection yields different results.

    You have indeed been very fortunate. I hope you use your privilege to the good of others

  4. A smart start with health, as the old adage, 'If you don't have your health, you don't have anything' is so true.

  5. Jean: Those are good questions. Getting things done and enjoying yourself in the process is quite an art.

    www: Yes, my life has been very privileged compared to some, as you keep pointing out! Though as you know I had a pretty shitty childhood, which has left me with a few persistent psychological problems. Psychologically you're probably in better shape than I am.

  6. Kylie: Reflecting on one particular gratitude point is probably a helpful exercise. I might try that. Not sure I've used my privilege for the benefit of others very much. I've worked for several charities - does that count?

    Bijoux: Health is very important, but so many people have incredibly unhealthy lifestyles. It's sad that my mum, who used to be full of energy and get-up-and-go, is now at the age of 95 reduced to such a frail and sedentary existence.

  7. A good list. I find that counting my blessings (as opposed to focusing on what wasn't so good) really helps me.

  8. Be grateful to be still breathing x

  9. You have much to be grateful for. I am grateful for a number of things too and I shall attempt a blog post one of these days. Right now I am in a kind of a writer's block and so it will have to wait. Even writing the weekly Friday blog for me is a bit of a chore.

  10. Agent: It does, doesn't it? It reminds you of all the things that have gone wonderfully right as opposed to the disappointments we tend to dwell on.

    John: Yes indeed. Maybe my mum is also grateful she's still breathing.

  11. Ramana: I get writer's block from time to time. I just keep mulling over ideas until something clicks and a new blog post takes shape. Somehow it always does sooner or later.

  12. I like your list.
    I used to do this type of list in my journal keeping days all through my teen years. I imagine it kept me from a lot of the teenaged angst we all seemed to go through. and you also have a sense of humour in abundance I think. it can often be so good for what ails us in this life.
    my last writing block lasted 2 years. xo

  13. Tammy: I think I'm still working through teenage angst at the age of 71! In fact I seem to have more angst than when I was a teenager. I'm just horrified at the way the world is going and what the future might hold. But at least I can be grateful for all the good things I still enjoy.

  14. I've been doing the gratitude thing for Lent and it never occurred to me to be grateful that I'm not in danger from crocodiles, poisonous snakes and sharks. I may have to add an extra day.

  15. Liz: I suppose I thought of that because I've been to Australia several times and I was aware that's what he locals have to watch out for. When we went bush walking with our friend, she was on the look-out for poisonous snakes, which we were happily oblivious to.

  16. I like your list. And it's a really good idea. It's so easy to focus on what we don't have, but once you start listing all of the good things there usually are lots of good things.

  17. Danielle: I was surprised myself at how many things I came up with! I was thinking maybe I'd manage half a dozen....

  18. Well said, and well listed. We should all count our blessings. One of my blessings is having managed to achieve the same age as you!

  19. Cro: Not too hard to reach 71 if you have a fairly healthy lifestyle. Now 81 is a different matter. I'll probably have succumbed to something ghastly by then.

  20. I think 70 is a bit of a watershed, at least the NHS thinks so, since they seem to cut off routine screening for most conditions then. Mind you, they do encourage you to get shingles and flu jabs as you get older.

  21. Jenny: I would have thought your seventies are precisely when you need routine screening for serious illnesses that are more common among the elderly. The only routine screening I've had is for kidney and liver function. But I also had shingles and flu jabs last year.