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30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 16

Three good things

I made great progress on this (school) term’s final project, today. The project is made up of a series of scripts, written in Python. I completed the first after working through a few iterations. For the most part, I knew the overall approach and methodology. The times I tripped was on formatting details and syntax.

While coding, I had the window open to let in both the sunlight and a very nice Fall breeze. There were some kids playing at the park across the street and, though the noise wasn’t unpleasant, it was distracting. Thankfully the noise-cancelling headphones worked well, blocking out the noise while allowing me to keep the window open, and keep focus.

Though not intended, I slept in this morning. It was refreshing to get in a good amount of sleep, with the best quality sleep coming over the last few morning hours. Refreshing, and much needed.


This prompt will repeat several times throughout this challenge.

The “30 Days of Gratitude challenge” prompts are from Screen/Life Balance and author Catherine Price.

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30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 15

Do a scan of your body, making a note of any areas that feel tight or tense.

My neck. Specifically, where my neck mets my shoulders. My jaw. Specifically where my jaw hinges are connected to the rest of my skull.

Sometimes I think it’s psychological but, my head. It feels like there is a lot of pressure built up inside. Not in a way that signals an oncoming headache. It’s more like feeling that the inside of my head is like the inside of a pressure cooker, with the pressure building up at certain times during the day.

And I notice that the pressure builds when I get more anxious, or get harder on myself, forcing myself to feel guilty and bad about myself or something I’m doing (or not doing). That’s why I think it’s psychological. Though it could be physical. Most likely, it’s both.


The “30 Days of Gratitude challenge” prompts are from Screen/Life Balance and author Catherine Price.

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30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 14

Think back on a time when someone thanked you.

When I think back on times when I was thanked for something, the incidents that stand out the most are when I was thanked for “being there”, “being a good listener”, and “helping” when they needed it most.

These stand out to me because they usually come after an unselfish act. And that’s something I’m working on increasing: doing more unselfish things.


The “30 Days of Gratitude challenge” prompts are from Screen/Life Balance and author Catherine Price.

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30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 13

Take a mindful walk around the neighborhood.

I’m sorry to report that I did not do this, today. I let my day get away from me, at first getting wrapped up in work and then procrastinating on all of the other tasks that I wanted to complete this afternoon. It wasn’t the best of days.

I do plan to do this exercise tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it, not just to enjoy the walk but, it will also give me a chance to participate in the Project: Utata Thursday Walk #708.


The “30 Days of Gratitude challenge” prompts are from Screen/Life Balance and author Catherine Price.

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30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 12

What’s an aspect of your body or personality that you’re grateful for?

I have always been grateful for my height. I am 6 feet tall. Almost exactly, though to be exact we can add 1/4 inch to that.

It was probably my sophomore year of high school when I reached my peak height. I remember a lot of people would remark something along the lines of “you’re tall for an Asian”, which (I didn’t understand why at the time) felt like both a compliment and an insult.

I still appreciate being “tall” to this day, even though I feel like 6 feet isn’t “tall” anymore. I see a lot of taller people, male and female (and yes, even Asians) everywhere. I think I appreciate it most when amongst a group or people, where my height allows me to see over everyone.


The “30 Days of Gratitude challenge” prompts are from Screen/Life Balance and author Catherine Price.

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30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 11

Notice a moment when you feel content or happy.

I naturally (without an alarm) woke up a little before 6 AM. I had the day off from work so, there was no need to set an alarm. Though, my wife’s alarm was setup to go off at 6:45 AM. Still, there was no reason for me to wake up early.

It could have been habit, me waking up so early. It’s been fairly regular over the past few weeks, getting up early for the gym or to attend conference calls.

This morning, it didn’t bother me. In fact, I enjoyed the early morning. It was quiet, peaceful, calm. I remember feeling happy, well-rested, and ready for the day.


The “30 Days of Gratitude challenge” prompts are from Screen/Life Balance and author Catherine Price.

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30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 10

Write down three things in your daily life that you are grateful for.

My cat is the best. She’s a constant companion who just wants the simple things: to be around us, to eat good food (mostly anything that we’re eating), to nap in the sunlight as it comes through various places in the house, and the occasional outside time to explore and “check on things”. She doesn’t scratch up furniture, make messes, and is friendly to any of our visitors.

Our house, not only am I grateful that we can afford it but, I’m grateful that we are slowly making it a more permanent home. Throughout our marriage we have moved around the 2-3 year mark and and we’re both tired of doing this. I appreciate more and more each day, being able to establish and enjoy roots.

Blogs, newsletters, and social media posts from friends, which though no substitute for in-person, face to face time, still allows me to keep up with events and thoughts that they have (at least the ones that they post publicly).


This prompt will repeat several times throughout this challenge.

The “30 Days of Gratitude challenge” prompts are from Screen/Life Balance and author Catherine Price.

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30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 9

Three good things

Write down three things that went well in your day and (this is important!) why they went well. 
  1. The flat white, from Starbucks, was excellent. I sipped it during the early morning drive to Calaveras Big Trees State Park, where we would spend the better part of the day hiking. The coffee was a great start to the day.
  2. The 7 1/2 hike was not only scenic and relaxing but, helped me get in some much needed exercise. It felt good to be active while soaking in some nature. The sequoia trees were awe-inspiring.
  3. Better night vision while driving home. My new glasses, complete with prescription and better coatings, made a difference. I noticed that things were much clearer that that lights (from cars, signs, etc.) weren’t glaring and blurry.

This prompt will repeat several times throughout this challenge.

The “30 Days of Gratitude challenge” prompts are from Screen/Life Balance and author Catherine Price.

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30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 8

Set aside several quiet minutes for yourself.

Today, set aside time to do something that you find nourishing, such as meditating, taking a walk, or having a cup of tea. Whatever it is, please leave your phone behind—we want this experience to be distraction-free.

The Screen / Life Balance team

I looked forward to this challenge, thinking it would be much like yesterday’s “music bath”. I chose to sit out on my patio and read a little, while letting my cat out to soak up some sun. And though I do this pretty regularly (the cat always wants some outside time), this was the first that I left my phone inside.

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30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 7

Take a “music bath”

It’s less weird than it sounds. Find a comfortable spot, pick out a favorite song or piece of music, turn off the lights, close your eyes, and listen.

Screen / Life Balance team

This was nice. I fully enjoyed this exercise.

At first, I considered listening to an album, via CD and CD player, in my office (where my only CD player is located) but, then realized that it would be difficult for me to ward off distractions. My office is a place where I’m used to multi-tasking and it’s a “tempting” environment for me, where I would easily get distracted.

So, I dug out the iPod Classic. After charging and syncing it (so it had my latest music), I took it out to my front porch.

No phone (or other device) to distract me, I listened to Sharon Van Etten‘s album, “Remind Me Tomorrow”. While it played, I people watched, appreciated being outside and breathing the fresh air, and was grateful for my time to just sit still.

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30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 6

Today, start the process of writing a gratitude letter.

For this prompt, the Screen / Life Balance team asks that you create a list of “one to three people who have made a major positive difference in your life and whom you’ve never fully thanked”. Then include a few lines on why you are grateful and would like to thank them.

I’m not (yet) comfortable with posting specific names, or why I’m grateful to them, but here are some of the reasons why I am thankful to the ones I have in mind:

  • Giving me a chance when I didn’t need, ask for, nor deserve it.
  • Providing honest feedback and support.
  • Helping me understand that life is not supposed to follow a linear path.
  • Showing me that I’m happier simply liking the things that I like, without worrying about others’ opinions.
  • Saving my life.
  • Buying me my first legal alcoholic drink while we were both at an event that we didn’t want to be at.
  • Being “the extrovert” when I go into full introvert mode.

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30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 5

Today, pay attention to something you don’t normally put any thought into.

This morning, I focused on a group of activities: my morning routine. It’s a little embarrassing to type it out, admitting that I don’t put much thought into it. I don’t, more so over the past year working remotely.

I go into autopilot, doing the bare minimum knowing that I won’t be interacting with people (in person) unless I leave my house. Conference and video calls are easy to work around. So I dress and groom to a point where I made an effort but, I know I’ll be hanging around the house.

I have wanted to break this cycle many times. There are a lot of tips out there on how dressing for how you want to feel (and present yourself to others), and they’re true. I feel and work better when I do put in more effort.

Moving forward, I will make more time in the mornings to set a better tone for the day. This includes adding some exercise, taking time to prepare and eat breakfast, properly groom, and dress at a better level.

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30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 4

Today, write down a list of activities that make you happy.

Activities that make me happy, that I do on a regular basis:

  • Make and eat a good breakfast (my favorite meal of the day).
  • Reading and viewing photojournalism blogs
  • Listening to music
  • Helping others

Three activities that make me happy, that I plan to do this week:

  • Photowalks
  • Playing video games
  • Reading (fiction)

Other activities that make me happy, that I will try to incorporate more in my life:

  • Photography
  • Road trips
  • Hiking
  • Spending time with friends
  • Writing/blogging
  • Cooking

Note: This exercise showed me that I need to do some “discovery” work to find (and do) more activities that make me happy. It was difficult for me to come up with what I did.


These we the instructions for the exercise, from Screen/Life Balance:

Once you’ve finished your list, put a checkmark next to the activities that you do on a regular basis. How could you incorporate some of the others more frequently into your daily life? What are three activities from the list that you could make a plan to do this week? (Once you choose them, put them on your calendar!)

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30 Days of Gratitude

30 Days of Gratitude: Day 3

THREE GOOD THINGS

Write down three things that went well in your day and (this is important!) why they went well. 
  1. This morning’s breakfast scramble came out very well, scrambling a few eggs with red bell pepper, green onion, Canadian bacon, and spinach. Topped with some sriracha and I was very happy. I didn’t feel rushed, and wasn’t trying to do multiple things at the same time. I followed my routine for this, chopping the veggies, sautéing them and the Canadian bacon, adding the spinach, and then adding the eggs. Just focused on completing the one task.
  2. I made substantial progress in The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. Rather that sit and try to play through as much as I could in one sitting, I tried to play in increments. I gave myself goals to reach and actions to take when I succeeded, like “after I beat this boss, I’m going to clean up the kitchen”. This built in some natural breaks where I could take my mind off of the game, releasing some of the intensity, and still accomplishing some “chores” throughout the morning.
  3. I ate one of the best Honeycrisp apples that I have ever had, today. It was so good; juicy and tart, with just a touch of being sweet. It makes a big difference when I can go to the store (Sprouts) and choose my own produce, rather than order grocery delivery and depend on someone else’s judgement.

The “30 Days of Gratitude challenge” prompts are from Screen/Life Balance and author Catherine Price.