Katherine Dougherty: Puddles can't dampen my sense of gratitude

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Katherine Dougherty

Iam not the best puddle dodger around. Nor am I skilled at perceiving the true sogginess of the surrounding grass. But I do like to run, so lately, thanks to a new pair of running shoes, I have been extra vigilant as I stride down the sidewalk.

Yet, my efforts have proved futile, and I’ve logged, but enjoyed a number of soggy miles.

Regardless of some dampness, as I pull open the tongues, I realize how much I actually have enjoyed running in my still shiny, slightly odiferous shoes. I feel excited every day when I lace them up and head outside. I don’t know if that’s due to the plush cushioning or the little reflectors on the back or just having something new. Having been the owner of more than a few new pairs of kicks, I predict the novelty will rub off in a couple of weeks.

As it seems to with most things.

Almost everything I own was once new and thrilling, but as time has gone on, the gratitude I once felt toward them has diminished. Even some experiences and opportunities have lost their wow-factor with time.


Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy these objects and opportunities; however, I’ve mentally diminished their luster. I haven’t seized the opportunity to simply be grateful.

And if I’m lacking enduring gratitude with respect to nice things like new shoes, yummy food, and a warm house, it seems as though it would be that much more of a chore to be thankful for a bad test score, time crunches, or forgetfulness.

On some days this is accurate. I come home after a long day at school, do homework for hours, and struggle to highlight much positivity in my day before I slip into slumber. On other days, however, I remain attuned to each of the things there is to be grateful for throughout the entirety of the day: parents who make sure I’m up in the morning, a bad test score (what a great learning experience!), friends to sit with at lunch, involvement in after-school activities, a quiet place to work on homework, and a warm bed to sleep in. On those days, gratitude seems to feed off of gratitude. It becomes simply a way my mind interprets stimuli.

I wish every day could be like those days.

Thankfully, I have found that even on my most downtrodden days, if I can find one person to thank or write down one thing that I enjoyed, I can begin to see with a more positive perspective. Not only do I begin to feel better, but I consequently treat others with more kindness and encouragement too.

Few of us are Olympian puddle jumpers, but each of us has the ability to be a grateful human being and make the world a more positive place for those with whom we interact.

So, thank you, puddles, for dampening my new running shoes. You’ve taught me a lot.

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