Some things are not made to last

My husband’s grandfather owned a machine shop, and my grandfather worked in one. That means machine shops were really common once upon a time. Now, the only thing to say is

What’s a machine shop?

It used to be that machines and things required a special made part when they would wear out. So recent and so forever ago, there used to be all sorts of daily-use things that would break. When they broke, they would get fixed. Often the thing that broke was a part. A part of the machine, a piece of the mechanism, needed to be replaced.

It sounds almost medieval now, because we have so standardized everything and mass produced it. To create a new part or retool an old one doesn’t happen nowadays. We buy a new one.

I am pretty sure back then, parts were made to last. I bet part of the reason machine shops were required is because things were older and had been around a long time, were expected to be around and were expected to be maintained.

This idea, like the machines needing to be maintained, is not new to me. I have heard stories about my grandfather—my dad’s dad—all my life. I am thinking about it now because I am thinking I have a worn out part in my personal mechanism.

I’m thinking about my impulse toward gratitude. I have a HUGE scroll of things that frustrate me. I am sick to my teeth of being frustrated. I am tired past bearing of waking up in the middle of the night to think “And another thing…!”

Books and entire industries are dedicated to the idea of gratitude as a happiness lifestyle. “They” say we should keep gratitude journals and in other myriad ways express gratitude. It makes our life work better.

It was my granddad we were talking about–the one who worked on machines. I work with systems and machines too. I see that my gratitude flywheel is not functioning. It needs to be replaced.

I am frustrated again (see how quick I get there?!). Why can’t I just have a durable part, a strong and load-bearing gratitude flywheel? One that doesn’t wear out.

It doesn’t work like that I guess. This one, this part, it wears out on a regular basis. It’s the sort of thing that requires constant refreshing. Some things, like that hammer chisel in Chris’s grandfather’s toolchest, will last for decades and centuries. Other parts have to be replaced every day.

I suppose it is not a part, not a flywheel. It’s more like the oil. I have to keep this heart of mine greased with gratitude or it seizes up.

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