As most steel themselves for Thanksgiving’s obligatory routs and revels and are cudgeling their brains for reasons to feel gratitude, I am grateful.
So, herewith a call for everyone to temper gloom with lucidity. Things could be worse. And they often have been while nevertheless I was giving thanks.
In her new book “Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience,” Melanie Kirkpatrick traces the evolution of this celebration from the Pilgrims’ 1621 feast with members of the Wampanoag tribe. That aside…
I’m grateful for health
1. Despite my illness, I’m grateful for a second chance at life – to live it better and care for my body with more zeal than ever before.
2. Living in a safe and happy city
I understand a few places around the world safe to live in: Montreal, Canada; Ottawa, Canada; Valencia, Spain; Venice, Italy; Canada; the U.S. (“despite the political craziness”); Italy; and Japan! But I promise, Windhoek, Namibia, tops the list despite the high rates of gender-based violence.
3. Anxiety — For letting me know when something needs to change in my life.
4. Stillness — Even when I only feel it once in a while.
5. Having time to rest, by having “an actively inactive weekend.”
6. Strong values
The lessons I’ve learned from my parents live on: read voraciously, be curious, march to the beat of your own drum, get your hands dirty, and a whole lot of other values I hold dear.
7. A healthy family, or at the very least, one that’s “healthy enough!”
8. The chance to become healthier, through diet, exercise, and healthy routines.
9. Having the time, ability, and freedom to learn and try new things.
10. Having a “roof over my head.”
11. Clean drinking water.
12. Taking a warm, clean shower every day.
14. The smell and feeling of clean sheets.
15. My five senses, especially eyesight!
16. Access to decent healthcare.
17. Access to healthy food.
18. I’m alive! (If you’re reading this list, you obviously are too.)
19. That I’m learning to be my own best friend. It has taken a chronic illness for me to be open to being nice to myself without feeling selfish!
20. The time to sit down with my family to eat—and that I have a family, food, and time for each and every one of them in the first place (especially because I got discharged in time for Thanksgiving dinner!!!)
21. Having a loving, supportive, nurturing, and great people around me, and with whom we make a good team. That multiplies the joy in my life.
22. Loving friends, who have been supporting me through this tough year.
23. Awesome kids!!!!
24. Siblings especially one who never tires of listening to my problems.
25. Having people in my life who continually push me to become better no matter what – ill or not.
26. Living with an incredible cook!
27. Parents, who are loving and supportive, even when they don’t agree with my life choices.
28. Tinder, “for letting me meet new and interesting people!”
29. Whatsapp and all the social media platforms I’m a part of, for how it lets me stay closely connected with family and friends no matter how much distance is between us.
30. Resilience which lets me live my life as though it’s free of drama when I’m in the thick of it!
31. People in my life whom I have the opportunity to love in return.
32. Memories, of times with family members and loved ones, whether they’re still around or not.
33. The imagination of my kids. My Kids are my favorite people to hang out with, for this reason.
34. Good things happening to the people I love—like my daughter’s opportunity to have a week-long winter sports week as an exchange student in a fast-world country.
35. My cool and complex family heritage.
36. Trips with loved ones—ones in the past, those in my present and the ones in my future!
37. Small, everyday things I do with my loved ones, like window-shopping and going to the movies with my kids.
38. A supportive church. One reader: “As an Episcopal priest, I’ve served several different types of churches, but where I’m at now is a great church with so many sweet, motivated people.”.
39. The freedom to be myself!
Until recently, I’ve always had to play by other people’s expectations and rules. Now, I’m finding much more freedom to play by my expectations for myself. It feels good!!
40. Misty, rainy days
Rain in Namibia is gold!! If you don’t know why, please Google ; -) The subtle smell of warm rain in the air will hopefully relieve some of the severe drought we’ve been having.
41. Sunrises, sunsets, and sunshine.
42. Overcast days that help you slow down and feel conscientious.
43. Technology, for making life so much more convenient, and giving some of us a career, not to mention making it possible to spread knowledge that I can consume, for helping me connect with friends around the world, and for bringing me access to nearly everything everywhere in the palm of my hand.
44. The internet! (And “be alive in the dawn of the internet age!”).
45. All of the people who offer to take a picture of me when I’m on vacation or vise versa.
46. That there are people in the world who care! About the earth, animals, and human rights (of all kinds)! I love these people.
47. Causes I’m a part of—the list keeps growing.
48. Music—to relax, but that’s also the fabric of my heart, breath, and soul.
49. That each day and week, at least in some small way, is a new beginning.
50. “The beauty of nature,” that exists whether you’re in it or not.
51. Your imagination, that “takes me to places I’ve never been before.
52. All my life experiences so far—good and bad!
53. Upcoming meals, like “an awesome homemade roast beef sandwich waiting for me to eat at lunch.” Mmmmmmm.
54. The future—for the opportunities it holds, both for me and the people I love.
55. Birthdays! Ones I’ve had, and ones coming up!
56. Dark, sugar-free chocolate!
57. Having “the ability to make a mean grilled cheese sandwich.
58. Small gaps that give me the chance to slow down—like having the time to enjoy my smoothie in the morning.
59. That “Canada’s new Prime Minister is so handsome“.
60. Laughter! Especially in tough times.
61. To be blessed in so many big and small ways, as to be able to take all of the above for granted on a regular basis.
So what are you grateful for today?
Happy Thanksgiving, world!! 🙂