Top 9: Things I am Reluctantly Grateful For

I’ve been disgruntled of late. Despite my comforts and personal stability, I can’t stop feeling like I’m staring into the oblivion. I’m constantly anxious.

Terrified, really. Terrified or complacent.

I bounce back and forth between the two. Neither is good for me.

So, I will try something new in my life and go looking for an attitude of gratitude.

So today, I’m listing the Top 9 things I am reluctantly grateful for.

9. Ignorant Facebook Posts

Facebook has been my number one source of frustration for the last seven years.

I love the idea of Facebook. I like connecting with my friends and family. Most of them are thousands of miles away. I miss them and Facebook lets me pretend like I am still a part of their lives.

But, there is a seedy underbelly to any social media. The better the it does its job, the darker it gets.

Social networks let us spread ideas. But, not all ideas are worth sharing. Some of the crap I see on my wall is just plain stupid.

And, I’m thankful for that.

Every time I see something dumb enough to make my brain blister, I have to fight my own dark impulse to jump down someone’s throat and add more unnecessary hatred to the world.

Each time I can, I get a little stronger. I build my tolerance, my resistance to minor frustrations. I kill the little rages so the big rage can be focused.

Facebook is a minefield of emotional distractions and I get a small boost every time I successfully navigate it.

8. Frustratingly slow elevators

We have the world’s slowest elevator at work. It moves at the normal speed of an elevator, sure, but I don’t think it has any kind of logic board. It just moves up and down based in what I can only assume is an insane elevator’s idea of a joke.

I can’t rely on it to get me from floor to floor in a reasonable amount of time.

I usually account for the slow elevator by adding five minutes to any trip I need to make up or down the five flights of stairs. If the elevator is being cooperative, I usually end up arriving early.

It makes me look diligent.

On the other hand, since the elevator is annoying, so I am also inclined to take the stairs. I’m still a fatty, so I will only go up one flight of stairs, but I’ll usually go down the full building.

Way to give me exercise, elevator.

7. Condescending people

Believe it or not, I try very hard not to stomp all over everyone’s feelings. I’m not particularly good at it. I have a pretty good filter for the crap bouncing around inside my head, but even the best net still lets fish through.

But, every so often, I run into someone who doesn’t just enjoy making everyone around them feel like crap; they get off on it. I can see it in the way they roll their eyes and smile with smug satisfaction at their own awesomeness.

It pisses me off if I let it. I try not to. If I can stop the gut reaction from overpowering my brain, it amuses me.

Because I realize something.

People who actually know what they’re talking about, don’t feel the need to make the people around them feel like garbage.

Condescending assholes are sad, pathetic people.

And I don’t want to be one.

So, I’m glad there are condescending douche nozzles in my life because they are a constant reminder of what could happen if I let my insecurity rule me.

6. Poorly maintained roads

Snow… beautiful bane of my wintery existence. I love you when you pile up nicely in the yard. I hate you when you clog my streets.

Snow wasn’t too much of a problem in Missouri. Sure, it could come down crazy fast and make life hell, but usually only for a day or two.

After that, big trucks with these things called plows came and pushed it all off into a pile. A pile you could turn into a snow fort or go sledding down.

Not so much, Montana.

Sure, they have plows, but they don’t actually use them to push snow around. They just drive around in them smashing some ruts into the streets. At least most of the streets.

It sorta works. The snow gets packed down and isn’t the worst thing in the world to drive on.

But, then it starts to thaw and refreeze and thaw and refreeze some more.

Everything gets smooth and slick like the inside of a fast food grease trap. A simple commute becomes a life-or-death scenario.

Seems counterintuitive to be thankful for a murder commute, but I am. I am especially thankful for it on my way home.

It gives me a focus buffer from the things I worry about at work and the things I want to worry about at home.

Even if I’m fairly certain I will die when one of the dozens of idiots out there on the road slide into me at a million miles per hour.

5. Lines at the grocery store

It never fails. If I’m in a hurry, everyone in the freaking world is, too.

I try to shop at weird hours, either late in the evening or stupid early in the morning. I can’t quite manage to pull a 1:00 AM shopping trip anymore, but back when I could, it was my favorite time to go to the store.

You never have to wait in line at 1:00 in the morning.

But, there aren’t a ton of grocery options here in Helena. Well, there are, but only a couple are good. Which means the stores I like are always busy.

Worse, I seem to have a herd’s sense of timing. I can walk around a store gathering everything on my list and every time I pass the registers, they’ll be empty. Then, as soon as I go to check out… BOOM! Fifty bajillion people in line.

But, it’s okay.

I complain about waiting in line, but every time I get lucky and can skip ahead, I get home to find I missed something off my list.

If I have to take a minute or so to stand around looking goofy, I can double check the list.

It’s like a little reminder break before I load everything up on the conveyor belt. Even if I don’t miss something, it’s a nice reassurance.

4. The Self-righteous

I like to believe everyone is generally decent. I try to approach everyone I talk to like they’re just another person, doing their best.

Some people, even close friends, see the world through the opposite filter.

I get it; I suppose.

If you don’t actively look for the good in the world, all you see is the horror. It eats at you. Pretty soon, you start to think everyone is covered in the muck and mire.

But you don’t feel it. You aren’t an abomination. No one is.

So, you start to feel like you’re alone in a world full of evil morons. That’s how someone becomes a self-righteous douche bag, adding to the pain in the world.

I am afraid I could slide in that direction, and I am thankful for all the reminders.

3. Insane Politics

The political world is crazy.

Flat out bat shit.

Every day, something makes me wonder if someone spiked the water supply in DC. I’ve never served as an elected official, so I can only assume the pressure of public office eventually cracks the brain.

It isn’t about the partisan BS, either. I’m talking about the insane fringe, champions of issues I can’t even wrap my brain around.

If you’re at the right distance—not too far but not too close—government becomes a frustrating and intense spectator sport. I can imagine working in the state house is a bit like being in a high school play. You have several huge, boisterous personalities brought together for an extended period. Communication isn’t always easy. Emotions run rampant. Sooner or later, everyone is either contemplating murder or going around the bend in the other direction.

It isn’t a job I think I could have. I respect the men and women who do it. The stress must be extraordinary.

Even for me, filtered back as I am, it gets intense.

And that’s why I’m thankful for those moments of crazy. These whacky moments which can only arise from exhaustion and stress to the point of being giddy.

The give everyone a breather, a needed laugh, and a reminder we’re all human and all have a goal.

Those crazy moments are a pressure valve on the tension around the real work. We all need them.

2. Personal Agendas

I spend most of my job working with groups. We have group goals and ideas. I do my best to be a team player and keep my own ego and desires in check. Everyone else does, too. But, a personal agenda is like an appendix. Everyone has one unless it’s been surgically removed.

This could be a bad thing. Drama emerges from simple conflict. Even something as foolish as who gets to be green on the chart can cause issues. I called it a long time ago. You can’t take it from me.

I don’t believe people are as selfish as this makes them seem. I think people generally try to do what is best and their version of what’s best and my version of what’s best and this other person’s version of what’s best don’t always mesh.

It can drive you insane if you let it.

Or, it can remind you everyone really is trying. They feel the same resentment, the same exasperation.

It is a group project. Everyone has skin in the game.

I like being reminded the people around me care, too.

1. Blind Conviction

I respect and admire people of faith and resolve.

Conviction is probably the trait I find most admirable in others. Partially because I don’t have it myself.

I naturally see the opposition to everything. It is hard for me to ever plant my feet firmly on the ground for something as tenuous as iron-shod confidence.

I’ve never had that level of trust in an idea. Especially without any proof or reasons to back it up.

That takes serious fortitude.

Because I tend to throw stones at everything, I am willing to take a golf club to any notion, any tradition, or any idea. To hell with the consequences.

I do not understand the significance. I don’t understand cultural importance.

I get vexed and annoyed when someone digs in their heels, even in the face of my overwhelming evidence, logical and reasonable arguments, and petty pleading.

Some people can’t be budged. Respect.

And, I’m thankful for it. The human race probably would have murdered itself into extinction through random experimentation a long time ago if everyone thought the way I do.

We need people of resolve to hold the chaos in check.

Author’s Note

I’m going to be trying more things like this list in the future, but I’m also going to keep doing the hopefully entertaining lists, too.

So don’t be surprised when you see a list of my Top 9 Favorite fart jokes pop up.

It could happen.