20 Days of Thanks

Almost 15 years ago, Oprah urged her viewers to begin a journal of gratitude, in which writers would document at least five things they were thankful for each day. At the time, I was a teenage journal-enthusiast. Oprah, the challenge was on.

My life was fairly simple in those days. I was thankful for a smile from a cute boy passing me in the hallway. I treasured the A on my Geometry test. I was ecstatic to be cast in the next production at school. It wasn’t always easy to find the required five great things about the day (after all, I was a moody teenage girl in the 90s), but the discipline taught me just how important it was to uncover the diamonds in our sometimes seemingly coal-ridden lives.

At some point over the next 15 (or so) years of my life, I stopped writing down my moments of gratitude. No offense, journal, I just got busy. Then a year ago, I realized I needed to reboot that “attitude of gratitude”. Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

At that moment, I was having the time of my life working in television. However fortunate I knew I was to work with an amazing group of talented people, what I didn’t recognize was just how negative I had become. Maybe it was the 60+-hour work weeks, maybe it was just the stamp of adulthood. Regardless, it started to bother me.

It was a morning last November that I woke up suddenly sick to death of my whiny, cynical attitude, and decided it needed to change. Recalling how much I enjoyed my tv-inspired journal of gratitude from long ago, I laid in bed, counting the days until Thanksgiving — the ultimate holiday of thanks — and realized there were exactly 20 days to go. I began to wonder, “how difficult would it be to create a modern-age gratitude journal?” And thus “20 Days of Thanks” began to unfold…

Here’s what it looked like…
It’s not news that we live in the modern age of technology and that we are endlessly connected to one another via our phones and computers. My iPhone is one such source of constant connection. Utilizing our exploding social network paths, I decided to start snapping pictures on my phone of things, situations, people, etc., that brought me great joy and gratitude. I then uploaded them to my Facebook page for 20 days with a quick caption like the entry below.

Voila. A project was born. Some days I had just one entry, most days I had more than one. It became a lovely little 20-day addiction.

Here’s where you come in…
Now, a week away its first anniversary, I’d like to challenge more people to participate. Snap a photo each day. Add a caption of why it brings you gratitude. Share your 20 Days of Thanks project with your friends and family. Post it on your Twitter, your Facebook or your computer at home. Or keep it to yourself. Whatever you do, take five minutes each day leading up to Thanksgiving to reflect on the wonderful things that make our lives exciting and unique — however big or small.

What do you have to lose? At the very least, you’ll earn some brownie points with Karma, the “Big Guy”, Oprah, that chick you’ve been eyeing, or whatever drives you to promote a holiday that represents more than a stuffed bird.

Wishing you a thankful, gratitude-filled season, tech-savvy-style.

**If you’re interested in participating in the Facebook community, 20 Days of Thanks, click here and press Like!**