Monday, January 01, 2007

Thoughts for the New Year - Gratitude and Lists

This last year has been huge for me. Most recently, my first semester in grad. school introduced me to some amazing people doing dynamic work on issues relating to technology, freedom, liberty and society: Manuel Castells, Cory Doctorow, Mimi Ito, Danah Boyd.

While I was in San Francisco over break, I heard a powerful NPR piece on gratitude, which I was reminded of after reading Danah's blogpost on lists. The journalist spoke of a friend who died of AIDS, of his journal left behind. The deceased friend wrote of his gratitude for not vomiting, for flowers he saw at the park, for having the strength to get out of bed. The point wasn't the maudlin, tragic loss for a friend, but about those who live on after witnessing such grace, loss and gratitude. The journalist shared his annoyance when hearing people complain about men being from Mars, women being from somewhere else, other blah single-dating woes, traffic sucking.

What would it be like if people not only made lists of things they were grateful for, let alone funky amusing tidbits, but actually experienced true gratitude for a life lived in the present, in its immediate power. This is what some people experience when they are dying and have time to consider. It was a powerful piece of journalism and a message worth remembering.

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