What is gratitude, what is joy

4:50 PM, the hour spent rereading family history notes and pulling out clarification questions to ask my relatives. My back hurts, my shoulders hurt, my eyes feel strained, and there seems to be a small knobbly ball knocking around inside my skull. And now I have to go finish the laundry and then try to get in some exercise before dinner.

4:54 PM, removing laundry from the dryer and folding it. Bending to retrieve a shirt, straightening, folding the shirt, stacking it on top of the other folded items.

Voice in my head: “HEY!

“HEY! Guess what? You’re alive!

You get to be alive!

“You get to be alive, and for the next hour, you get to fold your clothes, and exercise your body! Isn’t that great?

“And guess what else? On top of that, you get to be healthy! And young! You’ve got hair! You get to see, and breathe, and wear warm clothes! You get shelter! You get sunshine and fresh air, and water to drink! You get music and a loving partner! You get food, and it’s yummy! You get family, and a cat!

“You get security! You get love! You get friendship and camaraderie and sex! You get to hear birds singing and sirens blaring! You get peace and freedom and choice, and you get free speech and variety and a spine that moves!

You get to be alive!

Me: “Oh my gosh, I do!”

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