Like a lot of folks at this time of year, I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude.
I have so much to be grateful for. Through little more than dumb luck and being in the right place at the right time, I’ve made a rewarding and lucrative career from what was a temporary job. As a result, I have material wealth beyond anything I could have hoped for as a young man.
I’m surrounded by precious loved ones. The most wonderful, loving, beautiful wife. Two amazing sons. A daughter-in-law. A grandson. Two siblings.
I never worry about food, shelter, or paying the bills. That wasn’t always so, and it isn’t so for much of the world today. I try never to forget that.
Beyond all that, just the miracle of life — knowing that nothing is promised, but that each day I have the health and strength to get out of bed and live a productive and happy life — is amazing. May I never take any of that for granted.
There has been much research showing that a regular practice of gratitude is beneficial to the practitioner and also to those around them. So I try to do this on a regular basis. I do a journal fairly consistently, and a theme I often come back to is noting the things I’m thankful for.
I’m not a religious man. I don’t believe in gods or fate or any grand plan. So to whom should I express my gratitude?
That’s the wonderful thing about gratefulness — there doesn’t have to be any deity or cosmic agent to thank. I have many people to thank for the life I enjoy. Besides the people closest to me, there are millions I will never meet who work every day to make life safe, comfortable, and happy for other humans like me.
Modern life as we know it would be impossible without the societal structures and institutions that allow us each to pursue our own vocations and avocations, and the collective fruits of our labor to increase the thriving and prosperity of all.
Just the act of acknowledging that none of us can sustain life as we know it alone is an invaluable gift.
What are you thankful for?