I know it’s cliché, but I can’t help it… But I think this time of the year, we should all take a moment to count our blessings and list them. I probably should do this on a weekly basis to remind myself, especially as the winter sets in and with it comes my usual round of sun-deprived depression, but I always feel a little corny giving myself all this positive reinforcement like a page from Chicken Soup for the Soul. Yet here I go… Just like everyone else…
I am thankful for my parents. They provided a secure, comfortable upbringing in which I never had to worry about anything nor want for those things in life I needed to survive; I never went hungry nor went to school with clothes too old to fit properly. My parents each have coached my various soccer teams throughout the years. I always felt loved. And they raised two very self-reliant and financially responsible children. That’s an accomplishment they should pride themselves in.
In the same vein, I’m thankful that as an adult I can appreciate my parents as friends. I enjoy going to ball games, drinking beer, and hanging out with my dad. I enjoy seeing theatre and having philosophical discussions with my mom (because we agree on most things). I’ve had a rocky relationship with my parents in the past (mostly growing pains) and it feels really good to be able to accept them into my life in this new way. I appreciate this every day when people talk about the dysfunctional relationships they have with their own parents… and it makes me sad whenever I hear people say that they do not like spending time with their parents. My parents stood by me during the worst moments of my life, even when I stupidly rejected their help. They’ve taught me that blood is thicker than water.
I’m thankful for my grandparents on both sides. With the Emhoffs, I shared lots of memories of camping; with the Herrmanns, sleep overs, post-church trips to Friendly’s, and conversation. The holidays aren’t the same without any of them. Especially Christmas. I’m very fortunate to have had them in my life all the way into my young adulthood. I miss them immensely.
I’m thankful for my husband. Though our life together was short–much too short–it was magic. And magic happens so rarely in life. Because of him, I will never settle for anything less in a relationship. Because of him, I’m a much more self-reliant person than I ever could have been. I love him for everything he was and everything we were together. Unselfishly, unrelentingly. Forever.
I am thankful for every day that I wake up alive, breathing, ready to face the new day head-on. No matter how bad things get, it’s always better to be here on Earth (or Mars) than dead. Always.
I am thankful for friends old, new, and someday left to meet. I’m never lonely or without someone to talk to when I just want to relax. My bike club and my church have allowed me to encounter so many great people. I’ve learned so much from all of them.
I am thankful for my health. That I can ride my bike every day, and ski in the winter, both of which I may appreciate more than others having had a grandfather who had MS. I never take my mobility or my athletic endeavors for granted.
I am thankful for my job. Some people have none right now in this horrible economy. I’ve been lucky enough to have been promoted to a position within my company that I enjoy much more than my previous one, motivating me in new ways to keep plugging away in the corporate world. The money from this job gives me the ability to do those things I love to do–travel, ride my bike all over kingdom come, relish red wines, and attend multiple U2 shows this year.
And on the topic of U2 (you knew this was coming), I’m really grateful that Bono’s back surgery went well. I recently learned that the extent of his injury was so serious that he nearly lost the use of his legs. I’m grateful to the surgeon and physical therapist that brought him back to his usual, exuberantly energetic self. I feel bad, but yes, my thankfulness is in part due to my selfish desire to see him in concert (twice) this year. But, also, I think the world would have suffered a great loss if Bono ceased to be mobile. Though immobility may have left him more time to pursue all of his humanitarian and activist causes, I am thankful he didn’t have to make that choice or suffer the psychological implications of losing the ability to walk. Either way, Bono needs to keep going… I don’t think U2 is done with the world quite yet.
I’m thankful for all the dreamers in the world who keep dreaming. It’s your backs on which the fate of human civilization rests. Not to put any pressure on you or anything. But it’s true.
I’m thankful for the 60-70 sunny days per year we get in NEO Ohio. I know it’s not much, but I guess the ~300 days where we lack sun (or are under partly cloudy skies) make us love and appreciate and worship the sun all the more. (Is it kind of like the theory that we wouldn’t know joy if we did not also know sorrow??)
I’m thankful that my cats Nicki and Cleo are still alive to make me smile. Even though Cleo has diabetes and has made my life more difficult as I can’t come and go as I please anymore, I’d rather have her around awhile longer giving me that long-former-smoker’s screech of a “meow” when I’m not giving her enough attention. I’m glad Nicki still waves at me every day. They are my cat-kids, such that they are.
I’m thankful I’ve not had to deal with bed bugs since 2005, despite my frequent travels domestic and abroad. I have been paranoid that they returned a few times, but it has all been false alarms induced by the post-traumatic stress that bed bugs cause a person. Thank GOD. Now somebody please wipe out that entire race of insects, would you? So that maybe someday I can be thankful their scourge has been destroyed forever…
I’m thankful for music. Not only U2, but that joyful noise created by other bands and songs sung by choirs. And anything that makes a joyful noise. Without music, the world would be a quiet, less vivid place.
I’m thankful for good books, great sci-fi movies, and creative people.
I’m thankful for pumpkins and all things flavored pumpkin–lattes, pies, shakes, bread, beer.
I’m thankful for the color purple. My mom always said that if I kept buying things in purple, I’d get sick of the color. Over 30 years later, I’m listening to music blaring from my purple iPod while typing a blog entry on my “royal blue” (read: purple) netbook. I make calls from my “dusty lavender” Blackberry. I won’t even go into how much purple clothing I own….
And, lastly, I’m thankful for the occasional light of inspiration that flits into my brain. May I occasionally figure out what to do with the ideas that come from it.