Psychology today defines gratitude as: an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to a consumer-oriented emphasis on what one wants or needs.
Psychology today also says: Gratitude is getting a great deal of attention as a facet of positive psychology: Studies show that we can deliberately cultivate gratitude, and can increase our well-being and happiness by doing so. In addition, grateful thinking—and especially expression of it to others—is associated with increased levels of energy, optimism, and empathy.
Now, let me back track a bit to New Years Eve. During my Christmas visit to Wisconsin, my boyfriend JJ borrowed my car. When I came back my battery light came on, but I didn’t think too much of it because my check engine light is always on even though nothing is wrong (apparently my car’s computer has a mind of its own). I was supposed to drive to see a friend on New Year’s Day in Gainesville as she and her husband were staying in Orlando- we were going to meet halfway and watch some Wisconsin football over lunch. So, JJ went to Sam’s club to gas up the car. Shortly after he leaves I get a phone call, and the car won’t start. I begrudgingly hopped in his truck and we go get the jumper cables from his work and go back to Sam’s Club to jump off the car. We get the car to the Circle K and gas it up, it dies again. We jump it off again and I barely make it to the house, having to turn my lights off to get the car safely in the driveway. Not the way we imagined starting off the New Year. Two unhappy campers. I cancelled my plans with my friend (luckily she was understanding) and I had taken Friday off so the car sat for the weekend and I somewhat enjoyed being trapped at home with the exception of a short trip to the grocery store in the truck. However in the back of my mind I was still worried about my car. JJ had to work Saturday and he got home about 3:00, called battery source and they closed at 4:00 and were not open on Sundays. Things did not seem to be going our way. Then he talked to his boss, who said he had a battery charger we could borrow and he would be coming into town tomorrow. Early Sunday morning we got our hands on the battery charger and the battery charged right up. Breathing a sigh of relief, both JJ and I were less stressed and ready for the week.
This brings us to Monday morning. I woke up feeling motivated and still feeling relieved that the car was good to go- looking forward to a day an easy day at the office and getting caught up on paperwork with only one appointment later in the evening. Stopped at the gas station, got myself a coffee, gave my most friendly good morning to the cashier and was happily on my way. And then, that’s right you guessed it, the car wouldn’t start. So I call JJ to come get me and then get on the phone with AAA. Fifteen minutes later I am still on hold and unsure of what to do. JJ suggests that he take me to my office and drop me off so I can come back in the company car (you have to be present when AAA comes to retrieve your car). So I leave my car.. and coffee.. front and center at the gas station. Completely deflated, I have my breakdown moment in the car, crying that all of my hard earned money I work so hard to save goes down the drain to crap like this. Another fifteen minutes later I am back at the gas station telling the AAA representative what has been happening with my car. He says it sounds like the alternator. He asks for my key and tells me he will get it to Honest Engines, the one man car shop I have been taking my car to for years. Then it was back to work, this time with my coffee in hand and as some like to say, the show must go on. I could not let this ruin my opportunity to do some major paperwork catch up. This is where gratitude comes in and being thankful on Thursday.
Firstly I am thankful for JJ. There is no other person I would rather be miserable with, be cranky to or cry on their shoulder. I always know no matter what he will be there for me and we will figure it out, together.
Second round of thanks goes to our incredible bosses. Both JJ and I are fortunate enough to have awesome supervisors. Todd not only brought us the battery charger during his weekend time, but allowed JJ to come get me without a question. My boss Jennifer was very understanding about the car trouble, allowed me to take the company car and took me to pick my car up later in the day.
Third set of thanks goes out to AAA. Although I was on hold for a little too long to get through to the regional center, once my call was made the Tallahassee representative was at the gas station within 5 minutes. I gave him my key and he said, “I’ll take it from here”.
Next up is Eric at Honest Engines. If you need work done on your car and want someone you can trust, I highly recommend Eric. I called him shortly after I got back to the office and told him my car was being towed to his shop and would arrive shortly. Not only did he have my car done before the end of the day, but it turned out that it was only the belt of the alternator that was missing and was a much cheaper fix than I was anticipating. It would have been very easy for him to lie and say I needed a new alternator altogether, as I suspect many of the corporate places would. But he didn’t. Because that’s not how he runs his business. I am very appreciative of his honest work and at this point would not put my car in anyone else’s hands.
Lastly, I am thankful that the fix was attainable, and the Camry lives on. Despite the fact that my car is getting old, I am not quite ready to give up on her yet. There were quite a few ups and downs throughout the day, but I had everything I needed to get through a hard situation and for that I am extremely grateful.