Gratitude Journal Challenge

You may have seen the “Gratitude Challenge” that was recently making the rounds on Facebook.

I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal, documenting things I’ve been grateful for on a daily basis for about two years now.  It’s a valuable exercise and has definitely made me happier. I use the simple Gratitude Journal app so that all my entries are backed up in the cloud.

Recently, I was “nominated” to take up the Gratitude Challenge on Facebook – to list 5 things I was grateful for over 5 days.  I hate these kind of requests and vowed that I would ignore any.  That was until I was nominated by a friend’s fiance, Clare. I’d just asked Clare for help on an issue and I didn’t feel that I knew her well enough to ignore it, so here was my response:

Day 1Elephant with massive penis, on safari in Tanzania

Things I am grateful for:

1. oxygen
2. sex
3. contraception
4. drugs
5. alcohol

Join me Emily! You are now nominated to take up the Five Days of Five Things of Gratitude. Let us go forth, strong, courageously together!

Day 1 – Take 2

Okay – so profuse apologies to those who didn’t think I was taking The Gratitude Challenge seriously. I am most definitely taking it very seriously!

To get the most of this post, I recommend listening to the fabulous “Lucky Ones” song by Undrip while reading my gratitudes:

1. Being alive and not dead, and having lived for so long – too many die too young;Returning from the highest point on the Annapurna Sanctuary trek

2. My working brain (questionable I know), and not being a vegetable – like in intensive care or something where I can’t understand or do anything, or be trapped and paralysed like the dude in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly film (it’s awesome – check it out);

3. Being healthy – as far as I know I don’t have Ebola (let’s keep it that way);

4. Having working arms and legs, and being fit, (relatively….I threw up after trying to run 5km the other day, need to take it slowly 😉

5. Andrew (get the bucket) – you are the best thing that happened to me (even though you, piss me off and we argue), and I know you are sitting here, twenty centimetres away from me, but just in case you don’t hear my sweet voice when I tell you in person in the same room that “I love you so much babe”, and that you are my first my last my everything, theAndrew loves Annie, camping on the Inca Trail in Peruanswer to all my dreams, my sun, my moon, my guiding star, my kind of wonderful, that’s what you are Andrew, you’re all I’m living for, and I’ll keep your love for evermore bla bla bla, and I just want to post this on Facebook, so that everyone in the world can see this declaration of my love for you Andrew, and so that there can really not be any doubt, absolutely no doubt, that I love you, and because I know that you really do appreciate this public but obviously genuine outpouring of love XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX [I am really not a fan of couples who communicate on Facebook…]

Choo choo who’s next to hop aboard The Gratitude Train! Karmen it’s your lucky day!!!! Come join Emily and I on our beautiful journey! It’s going to be a good one – pack well!

Day 2

Choo choo – choo choo – it’s that beautiful time of day again – the Gratitude Train is coming!

Today I recommend listening to that timeless classic “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

Nain and Taid

1. Not being forced to spend 6-7 years of the best years of my life fighting in WWII (or WWI for that matter) and seeing my best mates being blown apart and having to live with rations for years later like my grandparents did.

2. Emotions like love, kindness, excitement, joy, sympathy, and happiness all the ones we use to experience this thing we call life! Some people get very depressed – that must be really difficult, let’s give thanks for the ability to laugh, and even for painful emotions like sadness and grief so that we can feel and appreciate the good times so much more, yeah people – bring it on!

3. The NHS and amazing doctors and nurses – if I’m sick I can go get some drugs, or have an operation and not worry about bribing anyone, or having to pay for it, (well unless I’m in England where we still pay for prescriptions I know), shout out to the modern day healing wizards Kim, Anne, Eilir, Laura, Tan, Geetika, Olivia, Catrin (I know you Bupa but is still good)!

4. Eyes – that work, woo hoo! I can now stalk all my gorgeous friends on FB in full colour!

5. The stunningly beautiful world we live in.

Who’s about to win a ticket to board the Gratitude Train next? Nia it’s your lucky day you fortunate thing! Join us on this beautiful voyage of thanks and appreciation – you won’t regret it sweet pea!

Day 3

Is that a star shining brightly I see? No that’s just the Gratitude Train glowing with appreciation in the night sky! What am I grateful for today?

Listen to the amazing Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) by Greenday while you are finding out

Turtle Swimming in the Galapagos, Ecuador

1. Being born as a human as opposed to a turtle who has a 95% chance of being eaten by a bird within the first hour of cracking through its egg, also because I don’t have to do a weird dance to get a boyfriend or sniff anyone’s butt like dogs do, and also because humans can go to a supermarket or a restaurant to buy food whereas if I was a pigeon I would have to find a fish in the sea! or if I was a lion, I would have to kill something – that would be stressful!

2. Being born in a peaceful society, not where bombs are being thrown like Gaza or having ISIS trying to destroy my society and mow down my family and friends in Iraq.

3. Ears that work so that I can listen to music and the sweet sounds of everyone and everything with which I share Planet Earth!

Pad Thai, food, London

4. Being born in the UK, one of the wealthiest and most stable countries in the world, where I can travel to almost anywhere without worrying about visas, and women legally have the freedom to go to school, wear a burkha if they choose, don’t have to worry about being raped by the police or kidnapped by Boko Haram or forced into a marriage.

5. Amazing food yum yum yum especially avocadoes, let’s give thanks for the avocado, and the chilli, also the chilli, and maybe the coffee bean, coffee is also very important!

Who’s next to board the Gratitude Train! Why Wendy?! What are you doing hanging about at the Station of Appreciation?! Hop aboard the Gratitude Train why don’t ya! You don’t have to pay for a ticket and it will take you places you never expected!

Day 4

Chugachuga chugachuga chugachuga choo choo!!!! The Gratitude Train is picking up speed today!

What song is on the sound system? Why! It’s that Disney Classic from the Lion King – the “Circle of Life”.

What am I grateful for today? Sunrise with friends in Bolivia

1. All the friends and family who are still alive, and all those who have gone before me.

2. Living in a cosmopolitan city where different religions, sexualities and cultures are celebrated rather than vilified; and racism or homophobism is not accepted – let’s love and respect one another people!

3. Photographs, music, art, film, good quality television (i.e. not Fox News or Jeremy Kyle), and the makers, the creators, the builders, the artists! like Seiji, Krista Rossow, Nick HintonSEOS Photography and the Internet and mobile technology that gives us access to so much of it – how did people do anything before email and mobiles? and of course, FACEBOOK – how could anyone live without FACEBOOK!

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch, South Africa

4. Shelter and usually a bed or mattress of some sort – shout out to bruvers from uver muvers – Munish and Geetika who have been keeping us from joining the homeless guys on Regents Canal.

5. Good quality wine – life’s too short for Blossom Hill chicos!!! Thank you for the vignerons and winemakers who work hard and take risks with the weather and the damned frost! You’re doing a good job people, especially those in the Barossa where the best red wine is still made – sorry Michael I’m yet to try Faisan Estate Wines yet! Muchas gracias to those vino magicians Adrian, April, Marty, Ingrid and who can forget the one and only Stevo!

Where is the Gratitude Train going to arrive next? OMG! It’s only the Happiest Place on Earth – The Walt Disney HQ in Hammersmith! And who’s that waiting for us at the station, waving their tickets, desperate to board the Gratitude Train??? Come join the partay Lettija, Mel, Emma, Kerry, and let’s not forget to roll the red carpet out for Princess D!

Day 5

Chugachuga chugachuga CHOO! CHOOOO!!!! The Gratitude Train is almost at the end of its journey people – it’s running out of steam!!!!

What shall be our Last Dance song? It’s going to be “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack, which incidentally, will also be the song that will be played at my funeral, (dramatic I know but let’s get it out there!).

So, for the last time! Here is what I am grateful for:

The Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet

1. Living in a society that tolerates freedom of religion, of beliefs, of expression; where different points of view exist, and where there are multiple sources of news, and not just the Daily Mail, and I can be a Muslim or a Jew or say I don’t like David Cameron without being arrested or kidnapped or killed.

2. Clean running water that comes out of a tap in our own homes – luxury dude!

3. My voice so that I can communicate easily and sing, sing like an angel into the night sky, like Neil Diamond! I love Neil Diamond! Sweet Caroline la la la la la la la la.

4. Being able to read and write and have access to books that have taught me so much, and have changed my life!

5. Good craft beer like Kernel, Partizan, Camden Brewery, Brew Dog, and my new favourite Hammerton N7 mmmmmm – looking forward to trying out some more with amigos Ian, Jack, Wendy – Kate will bring some up for you!

6. And finally, and genuinely – thank YOU, dear Facebook friend, for your time, for your support, and for reading my appreciations! Let’s face it! It’s been a long and time consuming journey for both of us! – I appreciate your time dear friend!

So, where’s the Gratitude Train going next? Steph and Nicola are waiting outside the NBC Universal HQ, excited that they will be the next passengers to board the Gratitude Train! But, uh-oh, what’s going on, “clackety clack, clackety clack”, oh no, I haven’t seen this before, it looks like the Gratitude Train is having a break down, we’ll have to call an engineer! Apologies, Steph and Nicola, I know how keen you both were to join us but you’re just going to have to wait for another Gratitude Train to pick you up! Hope you’re not too disappointed and it won’t spoil your weekend! Good luck getting the next one – good things come to those who wait ladies!

That’s all folks!

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