Gratitude in Remembrance (#263)

09.11.18

For my American readers, today is a day we all know too well. I was too young to remember any of the images but what I do remember is my parents. My mom, in tears desperately trying to reach my dad. Teachers at school, stunned. My heart goes out to those impacted by today and I have gratitude for the first responders who gave their lives.

We can use gratitude in so many different ways and we feel it for so many different reasons. But today, I just want to say thank you.

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Spotify Discover Weekly
  2. Home made anything
  3. The fan keeping me cool
  4. The green trees in western Mass
  5. The view from my balcony
  6. Hot tea in the morning
  7. Time to read
  8. Shared silence
  9. Getting things done
  10. Tubing in the winter
  11. Singing in the car
  12. Safe travels
  13. Good health
  14. Peanut butter sandwiches
  15. Good parking and no traffic
  16. Getting rides to school in the morning from my mom
  17. Bike rides with my family
  18. Learning new things
  19. Games in gym class
  20. Chocolate desserts
  21. Being busy
  22. Staff meeting
  23. Life map timelines
  24. My Kennedy peer mentors
  25. This very moment

As always, check out my first blog, 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

Featured image from the Liverpool Dock

No Expectations (#9)

Today was perfect. It was the first full day with my Uncle in LA and we did so much. Packing so much into one day has left me exhausted but grateful above all else.

Coming into this trip I had no idea what to expect. I thought this vacation was going to go one way and it has gone in a very different direction. I’m so happy with how my time has been spent here and none of it was planned this way.

To me, this emphasizes the need to live in the present. Let go of expectations of the future and the rigidity involved in making plans. Let life happen and go with the flow. Be grateful for each moment along the way and it won’t matter if your day is planned to the second or you just have an idea of what you’d like to do. Take a deep breath, and make the most of every moment.

This was the best way to start my 2018 and I hope you were able to do the same.

01.01.18

Today I’m grateful for…

  1. Morning mediation
  2. Organic fruit and healthy food
  3. Funny stories and uncontrollable laughter
  4. Hidden restaurants and delicious food
  5. Unexpected hikes
  6. Family of all kinds
  7. The feeling after you brush your teeth
  8. Peanut butter
  9. Nights on the balcony watching the sun go down
  10. Drunk texts from my brother
  11. People who share their gratitude with me!
  12. Sunday mornings in bed
  13. The feeling after a finished to-do list
  14. Home-made Pizza
  15. The warmth of the sun on my skin and the beautiful weather in LA
  16. The stars and how they connect us all
  17. Five Guys Burgers
  18. Nature and the great outdoors
  19. People with kind and gentle hearts
  20. Neck pillows for flights across the country
  21. Sharing pictures and experiences
  22. Harry Potter Movie Marathons
  23. Any kind of dessert
  24. People who give good hugs
  25. The promise of a new year and new opportunities

First Steps (#7)

As I start my time out here in LA, I am so incredibly grateful just to be here. The sun is warm and my body feels new energy with each breath. As much as I love being home and everything about Massachusetts, change is both important and necessary. I had an honest conversation with my mom before I left and we talked about stepping outside my comfort zone. There haven’t been many moments in my life where I have branched out because most times I live cautiously with a guarded heart. Yesterday, I made the conscious choice this was something I needed. I am trying to embrace this feeling of freedom and I hope to act on it again and again as I move forward in life.

I’m excited to share more stories and pictures from my time here! Also figuring out what time and when to post the blog while I’m here so thank you for your patience. 

12.30.17

Today I’m grateful for…

  1. West Coast Smashburger
  2. Extra legroom on long flights
  3. Friendly faces and new connections
  4. Increasing independence
  5. Meaningful dreams
  6. Good music and new playlists
  7. A warm sun (sorry Massachusetts)
  8. A good stretch in the morning to start my day
  9. New adventures and new experiences
  10. My Family but especially my Uncle for so many reasons
  11. Conversations that go beyond small talk
  12. The Good / Better / Best for a day
  13. A beautiful sky with the promise of more
  14. Anytime I can brag about TB12 and my Patriots
  15. People in LA who don’t mind when I ask for help or direction
  16. Puppies of all kinds
  17. Safe flights. Taking off and landing will always stress me out
  18. Having the opportunity to learn about different religions and beliefs
  19. Not having social media anymore, it is freeing
  20. Being able to grow a beard, my face is always warm and it’s great
  21. Music by Tash Sultana (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVDJ8O3lPBA)
  22. An ocean breeze
  23. Our National and State Parks, nature is important
  24. A good pair of sweatpants
  25. Inspiration in all forms

Time To Make Time (#6)

What’s something you always wish you had more time for? We only have 24 hours in a day and far too often, it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. With another 3 hours in a day, who knows!? We might be able to pursue interests and hobby’s, become professionals doing what we love. Unfortunately, that 24 hours thing seems pretty set in stone. That leaves us with only one option, you have to make time.

Tomorrow is a mystery and continually saying we’ll make time for that trip abroad “one day” just won’t cut it. Set a goal, identify the steps, and like I said yesterday, don’t give up.

Whether this means you have to wake up earlier, manage your time better, or let something go, your bucket list isn’t going to accomplish itself. So I’ll ask again, what’s something you want to make time for in the new year? Why not start tomorrow?

12.29.17

Today I’m grateful for…

  1. Clearing my head at the gym
  2. Dancing in the rain
  3. New adventures
  4. What patience brings
  5. Warm clothes from the dryer
  6. My discover weekly on Spotify
  7. My family and their constant encouragement
  8. My favorite RA floor partner, Stenie Simon
  9. My fellow SOCs, past, present, and future
  10. My very comfy mattress pad
  11. Living in Shea Durgin
  12. Dr. Kevin Curry and everything about Cambodia
  13. A good pair of goggles that doesn’t let water seep in when you dive in
  14. Blue Gatorade because it’s obviously the best flavor, even though blue isn’t a flavor…
  15. New personal records
  16. People who encourage your ‘best self’
  17. Homemade food
  18. Piano lessons when I was younger. It helps me appreciate real musicians that much more
  19. When you lucid dream
  20. Warm days and cold nights
  21. That day I snuck into the movies with my friends, only to find out we went to the wrong movie
  22. Soccer tournaments with my team
  23. Honest people
  24. Travel and everything you learn along the way
  25. My process

Tomorrow I’m traveling to Los Angeles to stay with my Uncle! I’m excited to share pictures and stories while I’m there.

Don’t Ever Give Up (#5)

Resiliency.

Perseverance.

Endurance.

People have a tendency to give in when things get hard. You question yourself, your direction, and your purpose when the answer has always been right in front of you. Faith. Faith is unique to every individual you come across. Whether you believe in God, The Universe, or a giant spaghetti monster in the sky, do not lose hope and do not falter. You hold these beliefs for a reason. You’ve made it this far, for a reason. It’s hard to trust the unknown. It’s hard to put faith in tomorrow when today may have seemingly failed you. That’s up to you to decide. Gratitude allows us to find the value in each day. Gratitude can be the fuel you need to keep going when you’re going through hell.

Don’t ever give up. (motivational video link)

It’s easy to make excuses. It’s easy to say this is too hard and too much work. You stand in the face of opposition and it feels like your entire world is closing in on you. The self-doubt you hear in your head spreads like a virus to the point of indecision. Paralyzed with fear, it’s easier just to give up and call it quits. You can make yourself feel better by resorting back to old habits and feeling comfortable again. Let me say it loud enough for the people in the back.

DON’T GIVE UP.

12.28.17

Today I’m grateful for…

  1. My cat Ned
  2. Unpopped bubble wrap
  3. Songs that make you think
  4. A moment of peace to meditate
  5. The support I get from my friends
  6. Autosave when my laptop crashes
  7. A good lazy river
  8. Not only feeling heard but understood as well
  9. Peanut Butter Sandwiches
  10. Walks in my local state park
  11. Memories on Cape Cod
  12. 10 Deep Breaths
  13. Both years of working Orientation at BSU (shoutout to my secret OL x2)
  14. Warped Tour Music
  15. All 67,106 yards and 493 touchdowns Tom Brady has thrown in his career (postseason included)
  16. The fact that I no longer sleepwalk around my house in the night
  17. The smell of burgers on the grill in the summer
  18. Foam rollers and good stretches
  19. My fam
  20. Discovering new places
  21. Laying on the quad and sitting on the Boyden steps
  22. When your airplane finally lands safely because flying stresses me out
  23. An empty email inbox
  24. Signs from the Universe
  25. My process and being exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Just The List (#4)

I love writing and it’s something that truly helps me process but I think I’m still learning about how I want to use this blog. I want to keep true to my pledge and will continue to share my gratitude list to hopefully inspire your own, but today I don’t have as much to say.

I know every day has the opportunity to be a new and great adventure. What we choose to pursue, the paths we choose to take, it all matters. Jelly Beans may not seem like the perfect metaphor for time but this is one of my favorite videos. Spend your time meaningfully and be grateful when you can. Think about all the great adventures you’ve already been on and all the adventures still to come. That’s certainly something to be thankful for.

12.27.17

Today I’m grateful for…

  1. Popcorn and movie nights
  2. RHA Wednesdays
  3. Noise cancelling headphones
  4. Smiling until your face hurts
  5. Cheesy Mozzarella Sticks
  6. Hikes in Washington
  7. Drinking games
  8. Moments of learning
  9. Mambo Number 5
  10. Leadership education
  11. Waking up for the sunrise
  12. How far I’ve come. My process and my growth.
  13. Live music
  14. A clean apartment
  15. Working with my Peer Mentors
  16. Spending time with my family
  17. NPR Tiny Desk music
  18. Hanging out with my cat
  19. Good vibes
  20. Being an RA at BSU, it was the first step to getting involved and changing my life
  21. Boston Celtics Basketball
  22. Fluffy pancakes and fat omelettes
  23. Having my dad coach all my different teams growing up.
  24. Getting a sweet parking space
  25. The here and now

The Truth About Growing Up (#3)

How could I have ever known the vegetables my parents and I fought over eating at the dinner table most nights, were good for me? I am grateful I get to think back fondly on family bike rides, road trips, and museum visits from my childhood. Tonight I sat down with my brother and my dad to play a game of Monopoly for the first time in a while. We’ve been playing Monopoly together for as long as I can remember but now I appreciate it for different reasons. I was going to write a metaphor about how Monopoly relates to life but that felt too expected. Instead, I wanted to share a story about growing up and why it’s important to be grateful.

The Good Old Days

Littered throughout my house are baby pictures of my twin sister and myself. I’ll admit, some of our earliest pictures it is difficult to tell us apart. Now, it is important to understand the two of us could not be more different. I may be a whole two minutes older, but she is far more mature. She works in accounting, I work in higher education. She lives in the city, I live on a college campus near farms and hippies. Hopefully you get my point.

Before I turned 10 years old, I got to be the ring bearer in my Uncle’s wedding. My sister, not surprisingly enough, the flower girl. I was pumped to have a role, I got to stand up front and ultimately get my moment of fame. As the Rabbi asked for the rings I moved to step forward when suddenly my dad grabbed my shoulder. What was he doing?!? This was my moment! I had mentally rehearsed this over and over only to be thwarted by my own father in front of friends and family. Unfortunately, no one told me I was not carrying or responsible for the real rings. This devastated pre-10 Jacob and I cried and I cried and I cried. Without saying a word, my sister walked up to me after I had calmed down a bit and gave me a hug. She whispered, “It’s okay Jacob, my flowers weren’t real either”.

My sister and I haven’t always been close but I know for reasons like this, she loves me. As much as people wish they could relive their childhood, go back to the past, the present moment is where we’re supposed to be. I never realized how hard my parents worked to take three kids to Disney, or the purpose of my sister telling me her flowers were fake. I’m grateful for those moments now, more so than I was then.

Yes, growing up is hard and life is short. Time seems to be flying by and life waits for no one. As we experience life, we may not be able to recognize or be thankful for our current surroundings. Living in the present moment helps but isn’t always something we’re able to do. It’s important to recognize our own growth and be grateful for our experiences. One of my favorite shows of all time says it best.

“I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them.”

I think we can, Andy Bernard. I think with gratitude, every day, every moment, can be something we appreciate and value if we do so intentionally. You’re allowed to have bad days but there’s still something to be learned. Try it for yourselves, treat every day like it is the best day of your life and finding 5 things to be grateful for at the end of it, won’t be a challenge. I’m only 23 and have my whole life to continue learning and growing. I know to be patient with my process and use gratitude to keep me grounded in the here and now. We just have to take it one day at a time.

12.26.17

I’m grateful for…

  1. Wedding Cake
  2. Space heaters in the winter
  3. Family game nights
  4. Liverpool being in the top 4 after Christmas
  5. Macaroni and Cheese
  6. The sound of playing cards when well shuffled
  7. Sleeping in
  8. My friend Bryan Gammon, (aka blindchild check him out on SoundCloud)
  9. Trick or treating around the neighborhood
  10. Slow dancing
  11. The summer sun
  12. Catching up with old friends
  13. My family and the places we’ve been
  14. My high school theater arts teacher, Mr. Harrington, for helping me step outside my comfort zone
  15. Football in the yard with my brother
  16. The Harry Potter series, both the books and the movies
  17. Anything by Frank Ocean
  18. Ice cream novelties
  19. Hand written notes and letters
  20. The feeling after 10 deep breaths
  21. This blog
  22. Modern day technology and medicine
  23. A full tank of gas in the car
  24. Cheesy nachos on game day
  25. Yesterday. Today. And Tomorrow.

I hope you live every day fearlessly with however much vigor and spirit you can muster. Do it with patience and gratitude.