Blogger's Note: After months and months of lackluster to dismal writing, I needed to shake-up my non-routine. So I'm challenging myself to write and share a new blog post every day in June in hopes it will reinvigorate my writing process. Posts will vary in content, theme and length. The point is to write every day! You can read the story behind #junewriter here.
I've been thinking about gratitude a lot today.
I don't talk often about my day job, but here's the basics. I work at a museum dedicated to collecting and sharing folk art/material culture/art/etc. created by often underrepresented and forgotten people.
(How's that for being both specific and vague?)
I've worked here for almost six years. Today, we celebrated our 10th anniversary, and we spent a lot of the evening thinking and talking about being grateful. (Which accounts for why I'm sharing this post *just* under the wire to reach my daily goal.) While I'm often fixated on how stressed or frustrated I am about work (and who isn't) tonight it was wonderful to really sit and reflect on what having this job has meant to me.
I think back to six years ago today. I was unhappy with my work. I felt like I would never find a job that was right. I felt hopeless. And almost a year ago today, I heard about the job opening and felt like I had to apply. In college, I'd worked on a magazine created to celebrate the opening of this museum. When I interned at the local paper, I was sent to cover the opening for the front page the next morning. It felt like serendipity. I had to apply. Of course, at this time, communications jobs were more like a dime a hundred rather than a dime a dozen, even. I knew it was a long-shot, but I felt in my heart like this was the right place for me. Like I could understand its mission and be part of it and help it grow.
When I interviewed, I *knew* it was meant to be. It was like falling in love in one of the romance stories I write. This job and I were supposed to be together.
I've never felt happier than the day I received the job offer. I could barely keep myself together when the museum's director called to ask me to join the staff. I was frantic when I called my mom with the news. She actually screamed. It isn't often in life that everything just feels right and perfect, but that moment did.
Again, I can't pretend that every moment has been storybook. Like any love story, it's filled with ebbs and flows. But as I sat in a room with other people who believe in the power of art and preservation tonight, I really could pause and feel lucky. Because I am. No matter what happens tomorrow, I'll always know I played a small part in the history of something that mattered. I'm part of a museum that started with one object created by a person who probably never imagined her work would appear in a museum. And now it's a full museum on the rise with accolades and whatnot. At this moment in time, I get to tell the stories of people who lived and died, loved and lost, dreamed and persevered.
That's not bad for someone who thought she was a has-been at 26.
Of course, me being me, after a few glasses of wine, I proceeded to work the room thanking people. I thanked them for building our collection. For helping us study and preserve it. For helping us show and share it. For helping us exist. I sincerely hope they didn't think it was just the open bar talking. Because I meant it.
We, as people, want to belong and connect to each other. We want to make a difference. We want to be remembered. And I'm lucky to play a small part in the history of an organization dedicated to building connections and memories.
(And I hope this makes sense, and it isn't just the open bar talking. I also hope tomorrow's post is a little more focused.)
But in addition to being grateful, I'm thinking about how good it feels to tell other people when you feel thankful. In some ways, you're giving a small gift to someone else. You're sharing a part of yourself with someone. So many of us spend so much time feeling like we're in thankless work. By giving a little gratitude, we have the ability to make someone's day. Or to at least give them a moment of happiness. It's a beautiful thing.
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