Hello again everyone! I apologize that it has been so long since I last posted anything here. Just so you know my intent is not to post once every 6 weeks. I would prefer to post something at a minimum of once per week. So I have been negligent. The good news is that I have been working on new ideas that will improve my blogging in the future.
So it is Thanksgiving Day now and I guess it is time to write about what I am thankful for. It feels almost cliché to do this on Thanksgiving, but since I neglected to put this out there a month or more ago and I do not want to wait any longer here goes.
One of my blogger friends posted about the things she was grateful for in early September. I liked what she wrote, and since I think expressing gratitude is a worthwhile endeavor I decided at that time that I would write a similar post. The issue I have had since, in trying to write a post on gratitude, is that it is such a daunting task. When you really sit down and think about what there is to be thankful for in this world the list is quite long. So for starters, I am thankful for that – that there is so much to be thankful for in this world.
In some ways I feel like a NASCAR driver who just won a race. Immediately after getting out of their car, after just completing a 500 mile race, some member of the press puts a microphone in front of them and asks them about the race. The first thing they do, every time, is express gratitude but at the beginning of their list they always rattle off a long list of their sponsors – giving thanks to those sponsors for the financial support that allows them to race with good equipment. I don’t know how they do it! These cars always have somewhere between 5 and 10 sponsors and the driver is always able to remember all of them on the spot – I guess it helps that they can always look at the big sponsor decals on their car if they need help 🙂 Anyway, my point here is that I am not sure how to express my thanks without running the risk of leaving someone or something out. And so right from the start I offer this disclaimer – I know I am going to leave things out. This is a huge topic. I could probably keep a whole separate blog going that is just focused on giving thanks. What I will do is start with the basics and then offer a few recent happenings in my life that I am thankful for.
My Thankfulness List
1) I have a great wife that I love very much and she loves me. I am thankful for that and also thankful that she and I both work on communication. We have both learned from experience that you have to talk about things – even the uncomfortable topics – and doing so makes our relationship stronger. I share things with her that no one else hears. She is my friend, lover, and confidant. As you would hope in a marriage, she knows me better than anyone. She is also a great mother and I am thankful for that as well.
2) My kids. I have a daughter and a step-son. Both are ten years old. I am so glad to have both of them in my life. It is awesome to both help them discover things about the world but also to rediscover the world through their eyes. I learn new things about the world and about myself, thanks to them, all the time.
3) My parents. The older I get the more I admire my parents for the fact that they provided me and my brother with a safe and nurturing environment in which to grow (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually). My thankfulness toward them became even more acute when I became a parent myself and was hit with the realization that damn this being a parent thing is not always so easy. But it is worth it – see #2 above! I am also thankful that I can still talk to them and ask for their advice when I need it.
4) My brother and his wife. There is that viral Facebook status about how your cousins are your first friends and that they understand you better than anyone because they grew up with you. I think this is much more true of siblings. My brother and I grew up together under the same roof. We had most of the same experiences even though those experiences probably affected us differently. From the ages of 7 to 12 (My brothers ages of 4 to 9) it seems like the two of us fought every day (another reason I admire my parents). But when the fight was over we always settled back into being best friends again. My brother is still one of my best friends even though I have never told him that. He is still one of the few people I can talk to about the deep questions of life and I am thankful for that. I am also grateful, that in his wife he has found a great life partner. I like the relationship that they have and am glad she fits in so well with our family.
5) My in-laws. I am grateful for my wife’s parents. They are great people who take an interest in our family. I can see the pride in their eyes when they talk to our kids about school, sports, etc. I am thankful that they treat my daughter (their step-grandchild) just like all of their other grandchildren even though she has not been in their lives as long as the other grandchildren and they probably see her a little less. And I am thankful for my sister-in-law, her husband, and their six kids (my nieces and nephews). It is always great when we are able to get our families together.
6) My aunts, uncles, and cousins. My dad is an only child so all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins are from my mom’s side of the family. We have always lived on the east coast and they have always lived out west and beyond (currently Colorado, Hawaii, and Oregon) so I have never really been able to spend a lot of time with any of them (in fact I have actually never even met one of my cousins). Even so, I feel a very close bond to them and even though we go many years without actually seeing each other face to face, with some of them it always seems like we pick right back where we left off the last time we met.
7) My large network of friends and colleagues. Because of what I do for a living I have friends all over the United States. In fact, because I travel as much as I do, it is safe to say that I have many more friends that live far away than I have friends at home. I am thankful to everyone I call a friend. This year, I am especially thankful for all my new cyber-friends.
8) I am thankful that just within the past few months I have begun to develop a network of bloggers, authors, and other friends that are focused on creativity, positive thought, positive change, inspirational thought, etc. One main lesson that I have learned through them this year is not to fear failure. Failure is an opportunity to learn and not something that should be avoided. An even better way of putting it is that you should learn from your failures but you should not let them define you. To be honest, I already knew this. I probably could not have survived my divorce without having this attitude, but I had never put this philosophy into words until this year and it really helps to do that. It applies to everything in life, from the small mistakes to the big ones. They are really not mistakes, just opportunities for learning.
9) I am also thankful to the network in #8 for helping me see the positive in the world. It is too easy to get wrapped up in what is not right with the world, and in doing so, to forget what is good and right with the world. Deepak Chopra emphasizes this point well in this great, simple quote that I just discovered yesterday, “Everything that is right, still exists.”
10) I am grateful for the technology that makes blogging and social networking possible. The internet, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, etc.. At first Facebook for me was a way to catch up with family and old friends from the past. It still is great for that, but I am now also making new friends via Facebook and other social media and I am thankful for the opportunity we have in our high-tech world today for expanding our friendships in this way.
11) And here is the big one. I am thankful that when I give thanks I am giving thanks not only to specific people, things, events, etc. but that I am giving thanks to a higher power. I am thankful that I understand my relationship with that higher power better every day. I am thankful for all religions and religious/spiritual belief systems and the positive, compassionate, thankful messages that they convey.
12) Finally, I am thankful for Adam Sandler’s Thanksgiving Song. I am thankful for humor and what it brings to life, and hey, if you made it this far into this post then you deserve the opportunity to laugh as well 🙂
Thank you for reading and for following my blog!