Today has been a hard day follow a hard few months. Our work flow has slowed, meaning fewer tickets. The problem is the new number of problem tickets hasn't changed, meaning instead of maybe 10% of tickets being terrible to work through, now it's closer to 75%.
Incorrectly designed circuits. Badly done contracts. Customer requirements not documented or complete. People everywhere trying to circumvent process in order to get a quick win. My department tends to be the last port of call for the tickets, so we get to catch them and tell the non-technically minds sales and order managers that they needs to go start the whole thing again.
Day in, day out, for months. Arguments, emails, meetings, Teams chats, phone calls.
Today's my last day in for ten days straight though, and as my wife goes out for the evening with her best friend, I sit here at my laptop trying not to crack open the bourbon and pour until I can't pour no more, and I remember my gratitude exercises from therapy.
It's a well studied technique. Getting yourself to list reasons to be grateful, even if they're low hanging fruit that being able to breath, or for the gift of a warm bed at the end of a long day, can have a profound effect on your mental health. And you don't even need to spend a load of money on a special journal or therapy sessions on it. It's entirely free, and once you start, the momentum carries you forwards, before long leaving you with a nice sized list.
So, I'm grateful.
I'm grateful for that fact that I live in a country with mandatory paid time off, meaning I can in fact take the next ten days, which really works out to four days holiday thanks to weekends and bank holidays (I fully endorse this trick every year for those with similar legal rights). I grateful for the fact that these rights are currently enshrined in law, which means without fail I will get them.
I'm grateful for the fact I have a job at all, let alone one that pays me close to the median wage. Thanks to that, we've been able to have like crazy, get married, even buy a house. For two kids who grew up on the bread line, we're doing pretty well, all thanks to stable and steady employment.
I'm grateful for the food that I'm able to eat. I'm grateful for the clean and safe running water, for the various other drinks I have in my cupboards and fridge, and for the fact that I'm able to enjoy all of the above. I'm reminded that there are others who aren't. I'm reminded that I was one of them. I'm grateful for the luck and fortune that has bought me to where I am.
I'm grateful for the clothes on my back. For the fact that I'm able to buy clothes without worrying about the choice between eating and clothing. I remember the days of having to wear jeans with completely torn crotches, or shoes barely held together, for days or weeks before we were able to buy more.
I'm grateful for the high speed internet that enables me to communicate with others across the world, or watch TV and movies without constant buffering. I'm even grateful for the ability to waste tons of time on Reddit, although it's a thing I'd like to do less of.
I'm grateful for the health that I have, and for the endurance of my body that's dealt with so much. I'm grateful to still have the opportunities to do better for it, so it last longer and be stronger.
I'm grateful for the spring time, and the longer hours of daylight it brings. I'm grateful for the way the sun sets at this time of year, how the bright blue of the sky slowly gets darker from the top down, and how the moon and the stars look as it does. I wish I were more poetic about it, but alas, I'm too tired.
I'm grateful that I can just let that go without overthinking it.
I'm grateful for my dog, Ted, even as he's barking in the background as I write this. An ever present reminder that I'm loved, even if I don't believe it, and a reminder to not be serious all of the time.
I'm grateful for my friends, and my family, all of whom have watched me go through my dark spells, and yet found the strength to continue to love me and support me. I'm grateful for the opportunities to do the same for them.
I'm grateful for my wife. My beacon. My redeemer. The only one to complete me, and I her. An ever present fact of my life, one whom I pray never to take for granted.
And finally, I'm grateful for the opportunity to be grateful. For the strength to climb out of the swamp inside my head, to stop myself from getting blackout drunk and triggering off yet more Bad Times. I'm grateful for the wisdom to take the time to remind myself that work is not life, that the arguments and the struggles of the daily grind are inconsequential in the face of all of the above, and more. And I'm grateful to the decision I made an hour ago to do this, so that I didn't face the evening alone in the dark.
If you're sitting there in a tough spot, or just pissed off from a long day, try the same thing. If you want some guidance, aim for three things you're grateful for from your day, then three things you're grateful for in your life. Really think about each thing, and how it affects you. And then, allow the smile to get wider.
You deserve it.
Words - 977 Running total - 10,901 (21.8% , 899 words ahead of target)
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