So much to be grateful for in my world. Most of that ‘much’ is people. I feel I get helped, encouraged and supported all the time.
Since moving to Australia, that has only amplified (yes, I get helped more than all the time now). Despite being thousands of miles away from a lot of people, they continue to keep in touch with me. They continue to be my friends and family. I didn’t know what would happen when I emigrated, but I did think any tailing off of contact would be natural and possibly inevitable. I felt that would be okay: I moved away, after all – why should people carry on acknowledging my existence?
Anyway, they did. And still do. It’s not just keeping in touch, either. And it’s not just the people I moved away from. I have also experienced a huge amount of friendliness and love from Sydneysiders since arriving. Then there are the people all over the world – the ones who have moved away themselves! – whom I continue to appreciate and with whom I continue to have relationships (just experimenting with ‘whom’ there).
Email has been fabulous. Facebook is a dream for migrants. Letters – pen and paper ones – still earn their place. Phone calls are less frequent but they do happen. Without the time difference, I expect they’d happen even more.
So, friends and family still being my friends and family: brilliant.
People here helping me make new friends, becoming my friend themselves, telling me about places to eat, to hang out, to drive to, to spend the weekend: invaluable.
The point is, does everybody in my life know what they mean to me and why? Unlikely.
I’m not into putting Facebook statuses up thanking people for stuff. It’s extremely impersonal (yes, even if you tag them!). And it’s as much about self-promotion as anything else: look at me expressing gratitude, I’m so amazing. Also, many of my friends are real people I actually spend time with in person! We are not even Facebook friends as well: we are simply friends! It’s like living in the Dark Ages.
Thanks via the blog would be a similar thing (but even less effective: only about two people read it).
So, I have invented something. I have called it Acknowledgement August (only because I plan to do it anyway and it is nearly August).
Every day (that’s potentially unrealistic: every week? No, I have loads of wonderful people in my life: let’s say every day. No, I’m not particularly motivated to do things at the weekend. Oh, now it sounds as though I don’t care enough about these wonderful people to give up any of my weekend for them. Right, 31 days in August: I shall thank a minimum of 31 people in my life. Now I’ve just told you my invention in parentheses. Kind of stolen my own thunder).
Acknowledgement August involves contacting wonderful people in my life and thanking them for specific things they have done for me of late (good idea to make it recent: name something from years ago and they might think I’m creepy for still holding onto the memory. “You helped me! You must love me! I’ve never forgotten it! I love you!”).
I already know some of the people I’ll be bothering with my thanks. But I’ll refrain from naming them here and instead make a nice pen and paper list.
My reason for blogging about this is, of course, that it is something everyone can do (unless everyone else hates you and avoids helping you or enhancing your life in any way. Then you might want to try What’s Wrong With Me? August instead).
Here are some of the Aussie-based people I’ll be acknowledging and the reasons why. It might give you inspiration if you’re thinking of doing the same thing:
- The woman who messaged me after meeting me at a mutual friend’s party, asking if I’d like to meet up. She became my first real friend that I made on my own here
- The couple who invited me for dinner very early in my Australian life, whilst my husband was on the other side of the country for a few days
- Two of my Xtend Barre instructors for ensuring I keep returning to class day after day irrespective of whether or not I actually feel like it
- The staff at my favourite coffee shop for creating such a relaxing, welcoming atmosphere every single time
- The woman who has had – and continues to have - a huge impact on my work, ambition and hopes for my writing career.
I’ll be calling, writing, emailing, visiting and more in my quest to – hang on, is August Appreciation/Appreciation August better than Acknowledgement August? Yes, I think it is.
Okay, August Appreciation, let’s go! Obviously I’ll report back on this, let you know if it goes viral, starts trending or whatever. Having said that, I have pledged, many times, to tell you about my hula hooping exploits and that hasn’t happened yet, so don’t go holding your breath on this either. Your time would be much better spent acknowledging, no, appreciating, people in your world anyway.
By the way, I know the Wordpress comments system is a bit of a rigmarole, but please do let me know if you like the concept of August Appreciation, and especially if you plan to do some appreciating of your own this month too! I have a Facebook page (unimaginatively but reasonably called athousandtimestooshort) so you can always drop something on there if it’s easier. Thank you. Oh, and if I know you personally, and you don’t get an acknowledgement, there’s always 2015. Hang on in there (and maybe do more stuff for me).