Well Thanksgiving is upon us in the USA once again. Because of today’s pressures, the holiday can become a significant chore. We want to be with friends and family but that sometimes means traffic jams, airline delays, bad weather, preparing/cleaning up a gigantic meal and and hanging out with that relative that you just don’t get along with.
But when we step back from all the festivities, what is it that we are to be thankful for? Money? A big house? Prestige? A new car? Well yes, those are things to be be thankful for if you have them.
But for me, it’s my 61st opportunity to enjoy family, friends, a good meal and the time to reflect on all the good things that have happened to me in my six decades on this planet. It turns out that I have so very much to be thankful for. And surprisingly, I’ve found it’s not only the good/happy things that I am thankful for.
My Thanksgiving List
So if you’ll please indulge me, here’s a list of 10 things that I’m thankful for that have nothing to do with material prosperity.
- Having two parents who loved and cared about me and instilled a strong work ethic. Many people don’t get the benefit of that kind of upbringing, and it’s because of them that I have lived a comfortable and happy life.
- Grandparents who listened to me, a young “rebel without a clue” without passing judgment while providing me with the benefit of their past experiences from a not so comfortable and more dangerous world.
- Finding and marrying my soulmate. This happens to only a few people on this earth and I can’t express how thankful I am to have found her. Forty plus years of being together has flown by so quickly that my only regret is that we likely won’t get another 40.
- This one will get your attention. A titanic motorcycle crash that nearly killed me. Yes, I am thankful for it because it taught me so much, including being thankful for the opportunity to be alive. It taught me that life is a gift and can go “poof” at any time. I now know that life will give you obstacles that can be overcome if you try hard enough. It taught me that there are people who care about other people and will help if they can.
- Having people in my life that made navigating the world’s challenges and obstacles so much easier. People like Brother Dominic who came to visit me every day in the hospital for more than 3 weeks just to chat, give me advice, encouragement, and solace when the times came. And to top it off, Brother Dominic wasn’t even the same religion as I am! I am thankful for people like him.
- I am thankful for having found a number of things that give me a reason for being. Like having the ability to travel and learn about the other people on this planet, and what their challenges and joys are.
- Being healthy and having a sound mind (some may question my sound mind, I think). My motorcycle crash showed me that the old saw, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything” is true. All of the things most of us take for granted aren’t a reality for some with physical or mental health problems. And, I am thankful for the people who help people with disabilities and help them find a way to overcome them. My wife Kim, who is a nurse is one of those people.
- Having a life that challenges me, makes me think, helps me understand, and hopefully do some good for others. Some may think that a life of calm waters is ideal, but from my vantage point, stormy seas give you new perspectives and the experience that helps you find your way through other difficulties that surely will arise. If you are relegated to calm waters, you quickly find yourself in the doldrums floating aimlessly without direction.
- Time. Time is so very important and we often just don’t make enough of it or share it enough. The pressures of raising a family, putting food on the table and navigating day to day life can compress time into tiny little packages with little meaning. I am thankful for the opportunity to stretch time a little and enjoy what amount I have left with family and friends.
- The ability to express myself on a great platform such as ADVRider. You all have taught me so much about life, community, and friendship that I feel whole.
So that’s my list of things to be thankful for. Thanksgiving to me isn’t about a festive meal, it’s about the other important things in my life that I often take for granted. I wish you and your family a very happy and “thankful” Thanksgiving. And for those of you not in the USA and not celebrating Thanksgiving on the same day, I wish and hope that you have the opportunity to have a Thanksgiving list similar to mine (less that motorcycle crash thingy).
Thanks for reading all of this. If you have something you’d like to share about being thankful, please feel free to do so in the comments below.