Attitude of gratitude


Macy's Thanksgiving Parade 2009 - Pikachu

My friend Ginny and I had a long-standing Thanksgiving tradition in our 20s: Eat out and share what we’re not thankful for.

It always brought a laugh as we dined out at some of the finer hotel buffets as holiday orphans.

I guess we’ve grown up, since we don’t quite reach for the Gen X sarcasm as quickly. (She had an even older tradition with another friend: See the worst movie out there.)

She has a lot to be thankful for. I do, too.

And I am thankful for those people and things every day. I love my friends and my new career. I love my independence and my struggles to move forward.

I love L., and the unselfish way she loves me. Without a doubt, she has been my brightest surprise in my otherwise dull existence.

I work hard to overcome crazy stuff: self doubt, loneliness, indecision, bad patterns. I am grateful for every single bad thing that has happened to me or because of me, simply because it provides two bonuses: learning experience and fodder for writing.

And while I do not have the things I wanted in life by now — a wife and children to love and support — I also do not have the burdens that some of you carry, and have carried: severe health crises, crushing debt, marital problems and so forth. In so many words, I’m grateful not to be unlucky.

In 2009, I’m not thankful for my friends and former colleagues having had to go through what I went through in 2008, layoffs. I’m not thankful for my friend losing her husband violently and unexpectedly. Or the departure of neighbors to greener pastures.

Gratitude should beam from my face each time you see it. I should keep in mind a friend this year who had cancer, who was going to die, and yet beat cancer to a fine pulp. That friend is still here, and I am grateful.

Maybe you can’t be grateful. Maybe life has dealt you some terrible blows and hope is just another four-letter word. I ache for you.

Because my life, it’s good. It’s getting better. I appreciate it every day. It’s not there for you to envy, but to let you see your own foibles as learning experiences and fodder for writing, or venting, or boasting at the bar down the street.

Thankfully, 2009 has been good to me.

Photo by tyreseus / CC BY 2.0


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