Image: Wyland

As 2011 comes to a close, I am so proud to wrap up a full year of Gratitude Friday, my weekly online gratitude journal. I have loved spending a few minutes each Friday reflecting on my gratitude highlights of the week. Some weeks it came more easily than others, but every week brought at least a few things that I could look back at and smile. I had hoped to inspire others to join in, as I truly believe that gratitude increases happiness, but sadly it seems that readers are much more enchanted by my sarcastic rants than by expressions of gratitude. So while I’ll continue to live my life with gratitude, I am going to close out this yearlong gratitude project, and keep thinking of interesting and effective ways to encourage others to spread the spirit of gratefulness.

For my final gratitude journal of 2011, here’s what I’ve got:

• I’m so grateful to have been committed to Gratitude Friday throughout the year! It helped me put a lot of things in perspective, and confirmed that gratitude indeed begets happiness.

• I am so thankful to have such a loving and supportive husband, and four incredible sons who make me proud in some way each day. We truly enjoy being together as a family, and while every moment isn’t necessarily blissful, I treasure the time we spend on our adventures and having our interesting family discussions. I can self-deprecate and beat myself up about nearly any of my life’s accomplishments, but I stand proud of the job I’ve done as Mom.

• The rest of my family is a tremendous source of gratitude as well. My sister, my brother, my dad and all the people they’ve brought into my life add immeasurably to the sense of love, optimism and silliness I have in my life. We are a cheerful bunch, and that’s a gift I would take any day over anything expensive wrapped in a fancy box! Being together to celebrate at Matt’s bar mitzvah (and our sibling after-party til 3 a.m.) was hands-down a top highlight of the year.

• One of my favorite quotes is: “To be rich in friends is to be poor in nothing” and I couldn’t agree more. From friends I see or talk to every day to people I haven’t seen in 35 years but have reconnected with online, my friends bring so much joy to my life. We cheer each other on, we bitch and rant to each other, we make each other laugh-at funny stuff and at ourselves, and we share life’s blessings and sorrows. What’s better than that?

• While I am known to kvetch about the creaky aches and pains (and perpetual sinus headaches) that come with being 45, I am deeply grateful to have had good health in 2011, and to have been able to lose a bunch of weight-even though the only person who noticed was the cashier at Balducci’s. So much for my pursuit of MILFdom.

• Domestic travel was a big part of 2011, and I was grateful to be able to travel safely, freely and in our own unique style. We appreciated having the opportunity and ability to experience different parts of the U.S.-but I always, always felt most grateful to come back to my beautiful homes.

Thank you for indulging me in sharing my gratitude journal over the past year. May you find big and small things to be grateful for every day in 2012.

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