Friday, March 18, 2011

An Attitude of Gratitude

A funny thing happened in class today. Several students were absent, so I cracked, "Uh-huh. Hungover today, too much partying on St. Patrick's Day."

After the expected chuckles, one student asked, "So what did you do to celebrate?"

I said, "Nothing. Stayed home. Graded papers."

She frowned. "Aw. You seem pretty chill and like you'd party every now and then."

I had to smile and shake my head. "No. Too old for that!"

She said, "Yeah, but you don't look or act old." (God bless her.)

Of course I laughed. "Well, tell that to this creaky old body. I just can't handle that stuff anymore."

We dropped it and I went on to start class, but then this same topic came up at today's AA meeting. We were discussing the 12th Tradition, and one of the older members spoke up to say that things are changing nowadays, and more people are willing to break the concept of "anonymity" as long as they're referring to just themselves (it is obviously a bad idea to name names of members, because they may need to remain anonymous for some reason--actually this is the reason I never identify anybody by name on this blog). He then told the story of how at work, he just can't move as quickly as he did when he was a young man. And, he continued, a coworker kept giving him heat about it. "You're so slow," she'd complain, jokingly, of course, but still what people really think is often "concealed" in a joke.

She kept at it, too, until finally he told her, "Honey, I used to abuse alcohol and shoot drugs, and I may move slowly--but I am just grateful to be alive."

That shut her right up.

And that is the lesson I took home from today's meeting. I may not be the carefree, happy, oblivious, don't-give-a-damn "fun" girl I used to be (and seldom was it really fun by the time I'd gotten to the last drink of the night anyway), but I'm still here. Nobody's life is perfect, but with an attitude of gratitude, it's still pretty doggone good.

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