Examining September

Dancing
Yugoslavian folk dancing is a family tradition. We danced the afternoon away at my Aunt’s wedding.

What am I most grateful for this month? I am grateful for my extended family.  One of my aunts recently got married and celebrating this milestone with my parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles felt like a bubble bath and a glass of wine for my soul. 

What am I least grateful for this month? On the one hand, I am surprisingly accepting of the fact that my new job is part-time.  Thanks to C’s graduate student stipend, we can make ends meet — wihile also saving a little and having some fun, though we do live quite simply — with me only earning a part time salary, and I have welcomed the extra time that I have to read, cook, spend time with C, and write.  On top of that, I really love my job, and I would rather be earning fifty percent and loving what I do one hundred percent than the other way around.  On the other hand, I have been feeling guilty about only working part-time and also about not using my non-working hours more efficiently.  I am not grateful for these feelings of guilt and I would like to spend October thinking about what I need to do to remedy them.  In particular, I would like to think about how I can make my non-working hours more productive and satisfying.  Read more

Contemplating Attention, Cultivating Appreciation

Woman WritingI have an inkling that there is a direct correlation between attention and appreciation.  Increased attention to the stuff of life – books, conversations, scenery, foods, people, tasks, and so on – leads to an increased appreciation of what could otherwise be easily overlooked.  For an example, I find that annotating articles or books helps me pay closer attention to the ideas expressed in them, so that regardless of the extent to which I like or dislike the piece of writing, I am more able to understand and appreciate the point the author made.  The more I take notes, the more I pay attention, and the more attention I pay, the more I appreciate.  Read more