I don’t know how you respond to Thanksgiving, but I really like the holiday. And, unlike some of our other holidays, Thanksgiving is not just about the holiday but the meaning we attach to it.
Sure, we should be thankful all the time—a thankful heart is a merry heart—but, it seems, we almost universally take this opportunity to reflect on those things to be grateful for. We start by reminding ourselves of the obvious: family and friends, living in a First World nation, health, comforts, etc.
This year I decided to reflect on other things, the ones that don’t first come to mind. Here are some of those not-so-obvious things that I am thankful for. Maybe they’ll stimulate something similar in you.
1. That I don’t live on a Caribbean island in the hurricane corridor. Ouch! It hurts to imagine not wanting to live in Paradise. But when I saw the videos my friend (the first video journalist to cover some of the devastation) posted, I was appalled! Keep me away from Tortola or Barbuda!
2. Failures—well, at least some of them. The ingredients of success are refined in the crucible of efforts that didn’t succeed, and the lessons one learns from them. Sometimes, others’ failures are adequate; many times, though, personal experiences are much more valuable than the book learning we get from others’ experiences.
3. The opportunity to help people, sometimes with, sometimes without, financial compensation. At the end of the day, it’s the personal, not the financial, satisfaction, that is most important.
4. Mentors, who have taught me (among other things) both to see opportunity, and to seize opportunity.
5. A freak storm on the Shuswap. Yes, I nearly capsized the houseboat, and I probably wouldn’t be thankful if I’d lost her. But, in the end, the repair bill was manageable and I learned a lot about both the boat and the lake, and will be a better boat captain as a result.
6. That there are people around who are different from me. From them I expand my horizons, become more accepting of people, and avoid, or reverse, (some degree of) narrow-mindedness.
7. That I don’t live in a gun culture like those to our South. Yes, we do get murders, even mass murders here, too, but nothing like down there.
8. The internet. Many times I hate it, but for some things I love it: information at one’s fingertips, allowing me to live virtually those things I’d like to but can’t live in reality, maps, instant communication.
9. WhatsApp. Much better than SMS.
10. Music. I’m not much of a musician but I sure enjoy music, especially live music. Even karaoke.
11. Landscapes. For me, it’s the juxtaposition of mountains, lakes, waterfalls, vegetation, starkness, and colour. Put any three of them together on a photo, and I want to be there. And then add myself into the scene, to prove it.
12. Air miles. Fortunately, I get them with every credit card expenditure. They’ve allowed me to travel much more than I ever would have otherwise.
13. PhD and Darn Tough socks. They’ve transformed the comfort level of my footwear. And, speaking of wear, they take a very long time to wear out.
14. On a lighter note, at this time of year, that I’m not a turkey.
What not-so-obvious things would you put on your list? I’d like to hear about them on Facebook.