Giving thanks

There's something about saying you're 'thankful' that's always sounded quasi-religious to me. Sort of like saying that you're 'blessed'. It makes me think, Why on Earth would some deity give you all these nice things when so many others are suffering? Some people are arrogant enough to think they deserve it; others just don't think much about it all.

So when I say I'm thankful, I'm thinking about all the things that others have given me. Not tangible things (well... some tangible things), but love, support and friendship... the things that are the most valuable to me.

So here are some of the things I'm thankful for:
  • My family. I'm lucky that my parents, both retired now, live close by. I'm able to see them most every week. I have a great relationship with them both. And while I don't talk to my brother much since he lives a busy life as a musician in Los Angeles (playing guitar for Rita Wilson), he's probably the only person aside from my girlfriend to whom I will tell anything and everything. 
  • My extended family. A few weeks ago I went to Wisconsin and saw my grandmother (91 years old!) along with a load of aunts and cousins. I'm incredibly lucky to be part of such a loving family. 
  • Vanessa, my girlfriend. I feel like we don't just have a great relationship; we have the kind of relationship that very few people are lucky enough to have at all. We're patient with each other, honest, communicative, passionate, funny... we truly enjoy each others' company, and have a shared vision of what our life together can and will be. Not a day goes by that I don't feel madly in love and incredibly lucky.
  • My friends. Few people are lucky to have friends as loyal and selfless as mine. Many of my friends have stuck around for years and years, through thick and thin. 
  • My cat, Alexi. Before writing this I took a short nap, and he jumped in bed with me and curled up on my stomach, purring so much I could feel it in my toes. I adopted him from a street rescue a couple years ago. I was a bit apprehensive, not entirely sure I was making the right decisions. But I lucked out... he's the best little buddy I could ask for.
  • My job. Every so often I have to get up at 4:30 a.m. to train early-bird clients. My usual shift is afternoons and evenings, so those early mornings are especially rough. And it's those times when I reflect on just how much I really love what I do. My job is incredibly fun, challenging, and rewarding. I've seen people lose a hundred pounds and turn their lives around completely; I've seen elderly clients gain newfound mobility and independence. I've seen people overcome debilitating injuries. Knowing that I had a part in guiding them is incredibly humbling, and I'm grateful for all of them. If you have to get up at 4:30 in the morning, it might as well be for a totally awesome job.
  • My guitars. My music is my passion. I'm lucky that my work schedule allows me to pursue it, and that Vanessa is patient enough to have her own space while I practice for several hours a day.
  • My readers! I started this blog simply as a way to organize my own thoughts, but it's taken on a life of its own. It's spurred tons of interesting discussions and attracted plenty of smart people on all sides of the issues I discuss. 
 I remember a while back getting a spam phone call from some prayer hotline. It was some guy going on about how God and prayer would change my life. I was like, Fuck you dude! My life is awesome! My you should be the one changing your life. Seriously though... I'm so incredibly happy. I have a great life and I'm amazingly lucky. Is it perfect? Of course not. But there is very little to gripe about, nothing that a little perspective won't quickly wash away.

So happy Thanksgiving. And remember not to eat Tofurky, because vegetarianism is the devil.

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