The Glad Game

when i was young i loved hayley mills and especially the movie “pollyanna” (disney’s version of the 1913 book by eleanor h. porter).  in spite of the death of her parents and being shipped off to live with her cranky spinster aunt, pollyanna was able to maintain an attitude of optimism, turning not-so-good things (getting crutches for christmas) into good things (not needing to use them) and ultimately won over the whole town, even her cranky spinster aunt. when i was young i didn’t appreciate the nuances of the story, such as the fact that it’s easy to “play” glad when things are really going pretty well, but much more difficult when there are major crises to deal with, such as her critical injuries after falling out of the tree. jurriaan kamp, a columnist with the huffington post, wrote a good piece about whether or not pollyanna was really an optimist.

in any event, with all of the hype over the past several years about gratitude – having an attitude of gratitude, keeping a gratitude journal, stopping during the day to list 3 things for which you feel grateful – got me thinking that it’s really just this century’s way of playing the glad game. gratitude has been commodified and is now, for me, a somewhat annoying buzzword, the fad of the hour. though i realize it is purely a semantic choice, i have decided to embrace the glad game this year and see how my outlook changes.

it is difficult to stay sane in the midst of all of the horrific, ignorant, disappointing, inhumane news that is foisted upon us at every turn. while i think it’s important to be somewhat knowledgeable about what is going on in the world, the more i hear the worse i feel, beyond the point of feeling inspired to take action. i feel smothered, inundated, inert. since the commodification of “gratitude” has diminished its impact for me, i have decided to play the glad game this year and see how my outlook changes.

in my own small little world there is a good amount to be glad about, and i suppose that is the whole idea of the game. my goal will be to focus on the positive, be mindful of those things which are difficult without letting them squash me, and embrace moments both “good” and “bad”, as this life would not exist without them both.

here goes. day one of the glad game.


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