Someone emailed me recently, requesting copy of a Thanksgiving column I written a few years ago. Here it is, with one addition … I am thankful for all of you who have loyally read my column(s) all of these years!
Okay, be honest. With Thanksgiving just a a couple of days away, how many of you have actually taken a minute to consider what you are thankful for? I know, that’s a silly question as you get ready for one of the most demanding holidays of the entire year. But right now may just be the perfect time to consider this whole Thanksgiving thing.
Gratitude seems to be something we older folks may recognize a little more often than members of the younger generation. We don’t take life for granted as we once did. We’ve also come to understand that life is never perfect. All the more reason to stop and appreciate what’s going well in your life right now.
With these thoughts in mind, I took a quick scan of extended family. The kids are all doing well. Each of them is facing his/her unique challenges, fully up to their necks in the business of living. And while I know that perhaps they aren’t having a perfectly easy time of it right now, I am reassured that they have the skills to navigate their lives. I think it’s all a parent can hope for … since we can’t make life a bed of roses for our children, much as we’d like to.
I’m thankful for my health. The body is cooperating, something I know others my age wrestle with. I do not take good health for granted. The reality is, it could go at any minute. (Oh, what a dreadful thought that is. Sorry!) But in the meantime, I appreciate being able to work in my garden, take lovely long walks, fully live my life and know I will do what I can to prolong this good health for as possible.
I seem to be able to accept the aging process pretty well. The matrix of lines on my face continues to surprise me. It’s interesting to consider that I could have fairly wrinkle-free skin … if all I did was walk around with absolutely no expression on my face! Instead, I choose to smile and laugh and know that wrinkles are just that, wrinkles and not a measure of my worth on the planet! The rest of my body is certainly showing the many signs of age. I guess I could be at the gym seven days a week but honestly? I’d be miserable. Instead, I “partner” with Mother Nature. She can do her thing and I’ll pay attention to my diet and exercise.
I am thankful for a wonderful circle of friends – fun loving, happy people who all seem to like to laugh. I am reminded about the impact such people have on our overall well being. Surround yourself with happy people and you are more likely to be happy yourself.
I also have to tell you that since we started living in our empty next, I’ve become especially thankful for our dog. It’s true. That beast greets me each and every time with a wagging tail and a smile on her furry muzzle. (Trust me, this dog smiles!) It feels as though her entire goal in life is to be purely pleasant and hang out with us. And get this, if the two of us break into laughter about something, that mutt hops up and starts wiggling her entire body, seemingly ready to share in the glee. Of course, this only makes us laugh even harder! Why wouldn’t I be grateful for her very unique contributions to my daily life?
Is my life perfect? Hardly. My 84 year old mother is facing some new challenges. I sense changes coming and she won’t be happy. Do I wish I lived closer to my kids? Regularly. Just like the rest of you, there are a few things that pull at my attention. But like many of you, I’ve learned that focusing on the good things in life brings me much greater pleasure, while fortifying me to handle the inevitable challenges life brings.
Take a few minutes just for yourself. Make a cup of tea, prop your feet up, and count your blessings. It will make this holiday more enjoyable. The reality is, it will make every day better too!