Janell Sihay

Gratitude Log #1

The most important manifesto I do everything in my power to live out is gratitude. The first time I thought about gratitude was in May of 2016. It was my birth month, and I thought about doing a photo project in an attempt to revive my Tumblr girl era. The idea was to post an entry on Instagram of what I was grateful for that day. I only got to about 10 days before I completely forgot about it. A year passed, and I found myself at a low point in my life. I had just graduated from college. I struggled to look for a job. I had no money. I was going through a breakup. Somehow, in all of that, I decided to try the gratitude photo project again, this time each day is a new entry of what I'm grateful for in my life, with some emphasis on the last four years since I thought that would be a perfect way to wrap up my college life. I was successful! That project was definitely one of my favorites.

The photo project made me realize that the things that make me truly happy are my relationships with other people: my family, friends, teachers, and classmates. Even though Chev and I were broken up at that time I still had an entry dedicated to him, and I posted it on his birthday hahaha. I also noticed that it was truly the simple little things that I remember: like Frank Ocean's Blonde album or the experience of studying alone in a coffee shop.

At the back of my mind, however, I have this voice telling me that I shouldn't have shared about it and posted it online because it might have rubbed off differently with other people. It might have seemed like I was out of touch with reality and I was trying to present this perfect life.

I don't know, I still haven't understood how to navigate that train of thought, but what I am sure of now is that from all resources on happiness, the common denominator is gratitude. Kurzgesagt has this great video about it. In fact, I bought their Gratitude Journal and had it shipped all the way to the Philippines (which took 3 months) as support for the wonderful content they are putting out. The most popular course at Yale, The Science of Well-Being by Dr Laurie Santos, also touches on gratitude and is available on Coursera for everyone to take.

Even though I have put my Instagram Gratitude Log on hold, I make sure to journal from time to time. Here's what I have been grateful for lately!

  1. I am grateful for my pet Mocha, brushing her wet snout on my forearms while I'm busy working. This is her way of getting my attention. I am grateful for my pet Sky, too, especially her health. She usually has something going on but as of lately, she's so energetic and playful.
  2. I am grateful I had a productive thesis meeting with my adviser yesterday. I presented the discussion part of my paper and he gave me valuable insights on what my results meant. I am now excited to finish my paper and get creative on how to effectively communicate it.
  3. I am grateful for my parent's health. Their biannual health checkup results were great. In fact, the dosages of some of their maintenance meds were reduced, if not completely removed. I am also grateful that my mom is showing significant progress in her physical therapy. She's now advised not to use a wheelchair!
  4. I am grateful for my siblings, who are supporting us financially and also understanding of my current situation. I haven't been paid for months and I'm getting ashamed I have little financial contribution to the household.
  5. I am grateful for late-night food trips with friends. We rarely go out anymore. But, it makes me proud that we're thriving in our own ways yet still going through life together.
  6. I am grateful for the reliable people who are helping us take care of my mom and grandmother, allowing us to work on jobs and advance our careers. This is truly a privilege that I do not take for granted.

What about you, what are you grateful for lately?