30 Days of Gratitude: Day 1

See the final results of my 30 Days of Gratitude challenge here: 30 Days of Gratitude: Final Reflections.

A lot of motivational posts online say to become happier you need to list things you’re happy for every day. I feel like most people scoff at it – how could something so basic make any difference? I’m going to try it out for 30 days, and see if it makes a difference.

What I will do:

  • Every morning, spend the car ride to work (30-45 minutes) coming up with 5 things I am thankful for. It doesn’t matter how big or small they are.
  • Every time I have a negative thought, nip it in the bud and think of something I am thankful for. Tell myself, “Yes, I am angry/sad/whatever about <negative thought>, and that is ok. But I am thankful for <something else>.”
  • When I get into work, write the 5 things I came up with in the car in this blog.

So, here goes:

  1. My part-time job. I have a part-time web development side gig. I have the best boss in the world there – he gives clear assignments, regularly thanks me for my work, and even gives me credit to the higher ups, even when it would be so easy for him not to because I am remote. He’s written me so many letters of recommendation, and provided so many references. Not to mention, the gig pays very well! I even get a $1/h a raise every year by default. I’ve been jealous of my friend’s windfalls, but this part-time gig is a big windfall for me. I got it by pure dumb luck (a friend didn’t want the job). It’s an extra ~$20k a year – and over the past 5 years, that means an extra $100k that I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten if I didn’t happen to be in the right place at the right time.
  2. Breakfast at my job. I work at a big tech company in the SF Bay Area, so I get free breakfast. Some of my coworkers complain about it, but I love to get a cup of steel cut oatmeal every morning. It keeps me energized and I don’t have to spend the 30 minutes cooking the oats myself! It’s also allowed me to become healthier, because I wouldn’t bother to make breakfast for myself… but it’s easy for me to make healthy choices when they’re right in front of me.
  3. My smart coworkers. I really admire some engineers on my team. They’re SUPER SMART. I don’t know what they’re saying half the time, and they honestly scare me a bit, but I feel very lucky to be able to look at their code and learn from them. The code at my old job was so bad that I often had to correct other peoples code – but at this job, other people correct my code! It’s a real privilege to get to learn from them.
  4. Great job market for engineers. My roommate is currently looking for an engineering job – and all she has to do is submit her profile to a website, and employers offer her interviews. I remember before I became an engineer, I had to send out HUNDREDS of resumes just to get ONE interview. Granted, this was in 2009, but I still feel like engineers have it so easy in the Bay Area. After I quit my old job, I was able to get 20+ interviews with no effort. Even though I’m not looking for a new job right now, I’m very lucky to know that if I become unhappy with my current job, I can easily get another one.
  5. I get to live with a family friend. I’ve been living with them for a year now. It means I’ve been able to save $20k in rent (with a roommate) or $40k in rent (with a studio). It also means that I’ve gotten to live in a nice house, instead of a dingy apartment! It’s also in a great location, close to all the major freeways and downtown.
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