40 Aviation forWomen;May/June 2015
wrote, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is
thank you, it will be enough.”
One of my favorite Twitter hashtags is #firstworldproblems
where people bemoan a problem only a privileged person
would have. Some examples: The sun is causing glare on my
iPhone. The ATM didn’t give me all of my money face up. My
brand new car did not have a new car smell. I wanted a latte
but accidentally made a cappuccino. Recently I had my own
First World Problem. Having returned from grocery shop-
ping, I was having trouble fitting everything in my refrigera-
tor and muttered, “There’s too much food in my refrigerator.”
I actually made myself wince.
There’s an essay that makes the rounds of the Internet
every so often, part of which is, “If you have money in the
bank, money in your wallet, and a jar of loose change, you are
among the top 8 percent of the world’s wealthy.” I do have all
three, and when I look at my antique Mason jar of coins in my
kitchen, I pause to think how lucky I am to have money that I
don’t “have to” spend.
I can even be grateful for my bills. I read once, a while back,
that we should bless our bills as we pay them and be grateful for
them. The bills represent that someone, somewhere has faith in
our financial responsibility to pay them. So next time you’re
writing out checks or paying a bill online, be grateful for it.
Same attitude with dirty dishes. There’s a little poem about
being grateful for dirty dishes in your sink because it means
you have food to eat. The poem starts, “Thank God for dirty
dishes; they have a tale to tell. While other folks go hungry,
we’re doing very well...” I admit I do sometimes stop and contemplate that notion as I stare at a messy kitchen. No food, no
But before I nominate myself as the patron saint of gratitude, there are a few things that bug the heck out of me and I
really can’t think of any reason to be grateful.
For example: GOOB Tax. GOOB stands for Get Out Of Bed
and it’s the unplanned expenditures you make during the day
that left you no better and no worse than you were when you
got out of bed. In a freak accident, while applying my deodor-
ant one morning, the container slipped from my hand and fell
in the toilet. It was worse than that, though. The deodorant be-
came wedged in the outflow part of the toilet to the degree that
I had to call a plumber. Two hundred dollars later, the problem
was fixed. I could have flushed that money down the toilet for
the same effect.
I am near phobic when it comes to mice. When you live in
a 120-year-old building in Manhattan, an occasional mouse
finds its way in. Knock on wood, but I made it through this past
winter without any evidence of mice. I still turn the light on in
the room, wait a few seconds, and then enter. Friends tell me
I should get a cat, but another friend told me she woke up to a
dead mouse on her bed pillow—a lovely little “gift” from her cat.
If that happened to me, my body would elevate 10 feet in the air.
As long as we’re talking rodents, how about all the people
who are computer scammers? I regularly get telephone calls
from “Microsoft” telling me my computer has been hacked.
I have won the Irish Sweepstakes and Powerball and been
remembered in fabulously wealthy people’s wills so many
times I’ve lost count. Plus eBay and Amazon both stop me
from shopping unless I follow a certain link. There’s a slight
ray of gratitude sunshine here: When a friend or associate is
hacked and I get an e-mail since I’m in their address book,
it’s as if this person is saying hello to me. Sometimes I hear
from people I haven’t talked to in years, so it’s nice to have a
reminder of them.
Furthermore, I think life was better before phone trees. It
seems as if everyone’s menu has “recently changed” as I’m
asked to input my 16-digit account number “followed by the
pound sign.” Sometimes in frustration, I just keep pressing 0,
hoping to get a human being. “That is not a valid command,”
I’m always told. But they told me repeatedly my call was “
important” to them.
Next time the world is being rough with you and nothing
is going right, try this exercise. Be grateful, and say it aloud,
for everything. “I’m grateful for my floor, I’m grateful for my
toothbrush, I’m grateful for my sink…” And so it goes. It’s hard
to be sad or angry when you realize just how much we have
for which to be grateful. ✈
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Patricia Luebke, WAI 1954, is a New York City-based freelance
writer, editor, and marketing consultant.
I have an attitude of gratitude. Just last night, when I woke up dur- ing the night and listened to the wind howling outside, I was in-
credibly grateful that I was nestled in a warm, clean bed. Having spent
years trekking to laundromats, I never put a load of wash into my very own washing machine
without being truly grateful. I am mindful of the German theologian Meister Eckhart who
aN attItuDe of GratItuDe—
most of the tIme, aNyway