Since 1998 I have been writing in a ‘Gratitude Journal’ every night. I’ve had some gaps here and there, but for the better part of 15 years, I have taken a few minutes before bed each night to write down 3 things that I am grateful for that day. I’ve written about it before, I am sure, but today I felt like I needed to revisit some of the awesomeness that exists in the world.

You know what’s awesome? When you wake up before your alarm, but realize that you don’t hear birds singing, so you check the time and see that it’s 1am, and so that means that you still have HOURS of sleep left. That feeling when you snuzzle back under the covers with a smile on your face just kicks so much ass.

Or how about when you finally DO get up, and you wander into the kitchen where the pre-set coffee maker is already working away to help start your day. The smell pretty much rocks, but my god, that very first sip of coffee in the morning? So freaking awesome. And every so often, you make yourself that perfect cup of coffee – right temperature, right amount of milk/sugar, and the right strength of brew. That right there is enough to make your day.

Now add to that what happened to me this morning: I was walking my dog through town and, for the love of all that is holy, the bakery was making apple fritters. Jenn and I nearly floated down the street on the smell of warm apples, cinnamon, and oven-hot pastry. Ok, ok, so NOW my day is made, right? Not so fast there, chica. While I was reminiscing about the greatness of The Little Things in Life on my commute, it just got better and better. I love how even thinking about good things can change my mood. Things liiiiike…

Slurpee spoon-straws, the smell of cedar, the moment when you feel the sun warm your skin. Chocolate milkshakes with a side of hot french fries, hearing the phrase, “this one’s on me”, or “you’ve got the last one, and it’s 50% off”, or better yet, “great checkup – no cavities!”

Or how about when you run into the grocery store to buy Kinder Surprises and a canned ham (don’t ask), and the person in front of you in line lets you go ahead because you’ve only got two items. Oooh! oooh! Or how about when you get that super rad rock star parking spot right in front of the store?!

Christmas baking, bringing the best dish to the potluck, getting the last table with an umbrella on the patio, cold beer, and when the lights go out just before the band takes the stage. I also think nachos with ample cheese are extremely awesome.

Oh man, you what I really love? When I’m at a restaurant and I see the server bring my food out of the kitchen and make their way to my table. I also love being reminded that Monday is a holiday, or that today is pay day – I love it when I forget things like that! I love it when I get to work and my voicemail light isn’t blinking. I love people who adopt senior animals. I love getting into bed when the sheets have just been freshly washed (and not all of you can relate to this, but when you’ve just shaved your legs, the feeling is just that much better).

I think the summer heat is awesome, and walking into an air-conditioned store is awesome. Just buying an ice cream cone is awesome. The way you and your friend laugh when you get off a rollercoaster, someone offering you your favourite candy, watching your cat or dog get the serious Zoomies and act like a total twit as they run around as if they’ve just discovered that they could.

Pulling up to a parking meter that already has time on it (especially if it’s more time than you need, so that you get to pass it on to the next person who pulls up). Picking wild blackberries, all your ‘if I ever won the lotto’ fantasies, the smell of a neighbour’s BBQ, falling asleep in a hammock, and when your sports team wins…

Have you ever pat the belly of a cat whose been lying in the sun?

There are so many great little things in life that I tend to forget about. That’s what makes writing them down so great. I truly enjoy looking back over the years and seeing the things that made me smile that day. It’s comforting to know that there’s always something that I loved about every day for the past 15 years.

So, uh… I have to confess: I pull the end of the toilet paper roll out of the dispenser just a bit so that the next person doesn’t have to sit there and spin the dumb roll around and around looking for the end. I return my shopping cart to the kiosk, but I don’t click it in and get my quarter back. My mom taught me that one. She also taught me to be conscious of that empty parking spot near the front door of the doctor’s office. Thanks to her, I leave it for someone who may need it more. People who have canes, or casts, or any other temporary thing that causes them to have limited mobility, but not enough to get them that handicapped decal. Every so often, I anonymously pick up the tab for any person that I see eating alone. I try to remember to put a couple coins in the parking meter before I drive away, especially if it’s only got 2 or 3 minutes left on it… I admit it. I’m guilty.

It’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Go ahead, do something little for someone. Who knows, you may end up in someone’s Gratitude Journal tonight.

Happy Thursday, everyone!