Gratitude Challenge, Day 20

I’ve been asked this a few times, so let me get it out of the way early – yes, the gratitude challenge will be over tomorrow, but I have no plans to be finished with my blog. The gratitude challenge has just afforded me an easy way to continue getting my thoughts out with a general structure, but I intend to keep writing my blog, challenge or no. I’ll just need to be a bit more creative with my blog entries, as I was before the challenge.

Today has been a busy day; lots of therapy, talking, and general working out of things. But that is all done for the time being, and so I’ll get to the part people are interested in seeing. 🙂

First, I am grateful for a friend deciding to share her story today. I know she isn’t comfortable with compliments, but I don’t think she reads this, so I’ll say it was awesome – in the sense of inspiring a sense of awe, not the colloquial meaning – and sobering. We have had our rough times as friends, but I think hearing her tell her story did more to inform me about how to be a good friend to her than her explanations have. I know it takes a lot of courage to be able to sit in front of the other people here and tell your story, so I applaud her for that.

Second, i am grateful for the fact that the first piece of art for my new apartment has arrived. Well, the only piece, so far, but this piece is my major concession to my geek nature; it is a framed print of the cover to the comic miniseries Captain America: The Chosen #6 (which you can see here). I thought it was a really cool piece of art when I first saw it, and now I’m going to put it on my apartment wall. Hopefully, it will be joined by other art in the future – I am open to suggestions.

Finally, I am grateful for the process groups here. Group psychotherapy tends to be my favorite, but we also have a men’s group – which is similar, but is composed solely of the guys in the program. Today I got to talk about some of my worries and concerns about moving into a new place on my own, and also to validate the concerns of one of the other guys here, who is much younger but seems to have deep reserves of wisdom. It’s always nice to be able to connect on some level with other people here, and that was a good group.

For a positive experience in the last 24 hours, aside from getting to listen to my friend’s story – of which I had heard parts of before, but never this much – it was fun to get out to lunch with a group of people from the program. Some of them were new, and some were old hands like me, and we even had a couple staff – one of whom was new today – but it made for a table full of lively conversation, on topics from sports, both college and professional, to hair, hair color, and thinning hairlines. We ate at a place called Chuy’s which we have been to several times, but the food is always good, the service was fast and painless, and nothing got in the way of our conversation. It is times like that lunch that I really enjoy being at the step-down, because I feel like it is somehow more real, a more genuine encounter. Plus, the program picked up the tab, so that was nice.

Because of the large steak burrito I had for lunch, I spent a good 40 minutes at the pool after all my appointments and calls. That was relaxing; the sun wasn’t as oppressive as it was earlier, when the heat index went north of 115, and there was virtually nobody there, which let me swim in peace. In between some of my obligations today, I worked in a few minutes of breathing exercises, which relaxed me a bit for what my day was like. All in all, I think things went pretty well.

As for a gratitude message, I’ll be sending that out in a bit; these last few days are rough, but I think I’ll still have a few to send out even after the challenge is done. There are certainly more than 21 people I want to express my gratitude for, and I don’t think it is fair to leave some out just because the challenge is over.

In any case, tomorrow is Friday – the last day of the challenge, the first day of the weekend, and as always, another day. It’ll be one week from tomorrow than I lease my apartment and get furniture moved in. The countdown continues.

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