To say this has been an interesting year would be a MASSIVE understatement. I could dwell on plenty of negatives this year, but I choose to be grateful!
I am grateful for:
- My family. I am blessed with a great family, 3 wonderful sons each with a beautiful bride. They have blessed me with three amazing grand daughters and a grand son on the way. I am proud of each of my sons and who they have become!
- Traveling the world. I am blessed to have lived in many of the United States and in a number of different countries. Living in countries like Vietnam during the war, Korea and Iran makes me appreciate what we have here in the United States and assures me that I will never feel "entitled" to anything.
- A diverse education. I started kindergarten in Saigon during the Vietnam War and I was part of the last graduating class of Tehran American School in Iran in December 1978 during the over-through of the Shah (king/emperor). I am grateful that I went to Boise State University, not only for the education, but this is where I met my wife.
- That I am an American. Until you visit or live in a foreign country, I don't think you can truly appreciate this. I think that is why so many immigrants do so well after moving here since they realize the opportunities we have and make the most of them. I have friends in different countries hoping they could move here. I know "dreamers" that are here illegally always concerned they might be deported. I am glad that this is my home and am proud to be an American.
- My friends. My friends are not all like me, and for that I am grateful. They don't have the same political, religious, or sexual beliefs, but the ones that can discuss these differences without arguing are great friends indeed. I don't want Confirmation Bias, I appreciate my friends when they explain a different perspective. I may not always change my mind, but it does keep me humble and empathetic to their beliefs.
- My dog. Even though my dog is locked in a house all alone when I am not home and gets fed the exact same meal (dog food) every day, she greets me at the door when I come home with her tail wagging glad to see me. I wish more humans learned how to be grateful from a dog. I know I have.
- My lifestyle. I am grateful that I don't believe I will have better friends if I lived in a fancier house, drove better cars, or wore designer clothes. I am not driven by ego or greed. I may not have much, but what I have is paid for and for this I am grateful.
- Modern Medicine. Instead of being mad during this pandemic that we don't yet have a cure for Covid-19, I am grateful we are extremely close to having three different vaccines available. I am glad I can put on my glasses and instantly have improved vision. I am grateful for the advances in cancer research as my wife was CURED of Stage IV Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Instead of being negative that she later was diagnosed with Stage IV Carcinosarcoma (two simultaneous uterine cancers), I am blessed that she was able to live better and longer than projected thanks to her medical team and the medicines she took along her journey.
- Smart People. I enjoy good intellectual conversation (not arguments) with people way smarter than me. They force me to expand my knowledge which makes me a better person.
- Music. Like many of us, I have spent more time alone than ever this year. During those times, music has been my roommate. I have listened to and thought about the lyrics. I have reminisced about my past listening to songs from my youth. I listen to love songs I used to play for my wife. I listen to her favorite songs to remind me of her. Even though I haven't been to single live concert this year, I have listened to more music and that comforts me.
- Humor. When I get stressed, my release is humor. Many people may not care for my style of humor since my mind is straight and narrow and not very deep (aka in the gutter) but that is OK. I learned years ago during the Special Olympics World Winter Games here in Idaho in 2009 from Edward (Eddie) Barbanell (played Billy in the movie The Ringer) the importance of laughing with people not at them!
I am blessed to have gotten to know Eddie and am pleased to have written some of his speaches that he has given. My favorite one was "What is Normal Anyway" (the average of the extremes).
I am a firm believer in the saying "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!" (I admit this year, I might have added a bit of additives from the liquor store to my lemonade.)
Happy Thanksgiving and remember . . . Be Grateful!