While I believe Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays we have going in the United States, I also firmly believe in the statement, “Thanksgiving is good—but thanks “living” is even better.” So with gratitude on my mind, this week I’ve been dwelling on how very much I have to be grateful for—and it inspired me to take the time to write out my top ten. Hopefully, by sharing my list you will be inspired to do the same. Oh, and self-servingly, it is also a great opportunity for me to announce the publication of my latest book, You Get To Make It Up—a SMART Living 365 Guide to Creating a Happy & Meaningful Life.
Of course I also realize that some of my readers don’t live in the U.S. so Thanksgiving isn’t on their calendar. But from what I’ve read, a number of other countries celebrate something similar…. Canada observes their gratitude day on the 2nd Monday of October. And it appears they started celebrating Thanksgiving Day long before the U.S. picked up the idea. Plus China, South Korea and Vietnam all commemorate a special gratitude day every autumn tied to the moon cycle. While it’s not called “Thanksgiving” the idea is very similar. Germany, Japan, The Netherlands, Brazil, and the U.K. also have special days of gratitude and harvest each year. But when you really think about it, remembering how important it is to pause and be grateful is likely a universal idea, regardless of whether it’s an official holiday or not.
So what about my list? While this list does not contain everything I’m grateful for—these items came immediately to mind when I started to write.
- My new book. While I’m grateful for all the books I have published, it always feels particularly rewarding to finish a book and present it to the world. I began working on this book in 2018 so it was a long time coming. Fortunately, now that it is out and available—I’m completely thrilled with the look and messages it contains. While I will be delighted if or when others read it and enjoy it—a big part of my gratitude comes from just being able to create something I consider to be of value.
- My husband/partner/teacher/best friend—Thom. I realize that not everyone is in a relationship right now, but that should never stop us from celebrating and being thankful for anyone we have ever loved in our life. Thom and I have spent nearly 43 years together and like I’ve said repeatedly—it continues to deepen and sweeten as time goes by.
- This year has contained a couple of “interesting” health experiences for both Thom and me. Fortunately, we seemed to have navigated them well and now are back to doing better and better. What those experiences clarifies is how precious good health is, and why it is something to be grateful for every single day. Never, ever, ever take your health for granted!
- Loving my home and community. When Thom and I were younger we moved every couple of years. (One of the benefits and/or drawbacks of being in the real estate business!) But nine years ago we bought our current home and we’re still here. Every time we are tempted to move anywhere else, all we have to do is make a list of all the great qualities our home and community holds for us. I’ve always believed that if you are not mostly happy where you live—then figure out a way to move where you will be. Life is too short to live anywhere that doesn’t bring you peace and contentment.
- Good friends/family to talk to and share life. I for one know it takes intention and effort to connect with friends and loved ones on a regular basis. Good relationships seldom happen by accident. This year I made a special effort and was rewarded in many ways. When things are going perfectly in our lives, it might not seem as necessary. But when a challenge occurs, it is our connections that will often support us and see us through to the other side.
- Travel and Adventures. I know I am extremely fortunately that Thom loves to travel and try new things (almost) as much as I do! This last year we took a 30-day road trip up the Pacific Coast to British Columbia and back. We also spent a month in the mountains and a month and a half at the beach. Between those and several visits to Baja, MX it was a very good year. And oh yeah, I already have a big trip to Spain and Portugal planned for 2020! I’m so very grateful to have the resources, the time and the good health to do this!
- My dog Kloe. While coming up with this list, my constant companion Kloe is laying in her bed staring at me. Sure her eyes droop now and then, but she nearly always monitors every move I make. She isn’t a cuddly dog—more like a cat—but every day she insists on walking me and will guilt me if I slack on exercise. She is always happy when I come home and instantly forgives me for just about anything when necessary. Her unconditional love and acceptance is part of my every day.
- Health Insurance. Like I mentioned above, this year had a few unexpected health challenges for Thom and me. Fortunately we both have insurance—Thom started Medicare and I am fortunate to be able to pay for my expensive, but good insurance. Of course, not everyone in our country or the world can say the same. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be grateful for such a fundamental need?
- My financial situation. I know in our culture that most of us don’t like to talk about our money. By saying I have enough it might sound like bragging. But the truth is, because we rightsized our lives 10 years ago, Thom and I have been able to minimize our expenses and maximize our savings. Also, because of that we can afford things like good health insurance, travel and other items some people can’t afford, mainly because we don’t have to use our money just to exist. So while I’m very grateful that I have savings and money to buy what I need and enjoy myself—I’m also well aware that it requires making daily choices and trade-offs.
- A growing awakening and direction that I see happening in our country. Don’t worry, I’m not going to get political. While I avoid taking stands on any issues reflecting politics here on my blog, I must confess that the last couple of years had me troubled. I’m still concerned about many issues facing our country and our world, but I have noticed a shift on many regards that gives me hope. Let’s face it—without hope for our future, it is very difficult to be grateful for anything in our lives. And let’s always remember we are all connected.
So there you have it. Looking back I can see my list isn’t that remarkable. I’ll bet every single one us has things worthy of being put on our own Gratitude List—and I sincerely hope you take the time to make one. And would you please put JUST ONE THING you are most grateful for in the comments below? I think it is always SMART to share what we feel most thankful for—and spread the gratitude around. Whatever you do, “Happy Thanks-Living!”