Thursday, November 25, 2004

Things For Which I'm Thankful

Well, folks, here it is: the inevitable, predictable, Turkey-day blog. Creative it may not be, but heartfelt and sincere it certainly is. Thanksgiving is a great holiday. Thus far it has very few of the commercial trappings of Christmas and Easter. It's maintained a purity unrivaled by other holidays. I suppose eventually it will degenerate into a national day whereby familes get together to see who can stuff their face with the most food, then regurgitate it all over the TV while screaming at football games (some families already do this), but for the moment it remains by-and-large a day to sit at table with the people you love and contemplate your good fortunes. That's it. Eat a good meal, enjoy good company, and think about how good your life is. That's all it takes.

"Sure," you say, "That's all well and good if you have a nice life, but if your life sucks it's just another slap in the face." If you're a whiney pessimist I can see where you might get that view, but I can remember Thanksgivings when we had just come back from a family funeral and sat down to dinner grateful that we would have enough left-overs to hold us through til December, because we didn't have enough money to buy groceries until dad's next pay cheque. I remember years that had been one loss after another, ill health, deaths, mom in the hospital with a potentially terminal condition, and we always found things to be thankful for. I was taught by my parents at a very early age that no matter how bad you think you got it, someone else has always got it worse, so count your blessings and do whatever you can to help the poor slob out. That's Thanksgiving.

In keeping with that philosophy, this blog will not contain any of the crap that I've been complaining about for the last two months. This is the list of everything that's right with my life (and these are in no particular order):

1. family. I've got a great family. We are few in number (7 of us when the whole clan is assembled), but they're thoughtful, smart, funny, and they've got their priorities straight. No one goes hungry in this family if anyone else can help it.
2. friends--the family you choose. Again, small in number, but devoted, supportive, patient, and accepting. Thanks to my friends, I have family all over the world, and so I'm never far from love.
3. Roof over my head and food on my plate. Annoyed as I get about having to move back in with my folks, I'm dead grateful they were willing to take me. A lot of my friends aren't so lucky, and I live with the security that I will always have a place to come in from the cold and fill my belly whenever I need it.
4. Strong brain and strong body. I'm neither genius nor olympian, but by genes or by heaven I've been blessed with a brain that's capable of taking care of me, and a body strong enough to obey the brain's commands. I have excellent mental skills and the physical capability to implement them. As long as I can think creatively and rationally and stand on my own two feet, I can take care of myself w/o being a burden on anyone, and get myself out of most unfortunate situations.

And that's it. Everthing else i can live without. Sure, there are plenty of other things i like and am grateful for, but they're all fundamentally superfluous. I could say that i'm grateful for flowers and for rowing and good books and music and scented candles, but while those things are all nice, when it comes down to it they don't really matter. As long as i've got even one the four above, I can survive anything. Those are the things that really matter, and I'm lucky enough to have all of them--damn lucky.

So to fate, fortune, god, or nature, or who or whatever is responsible for the quality of my life: Thank you. Now I have a pie to eat.

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