Happy Bird-Day

My family always had a bit of fun with me at the Thanksgiving table when it came my turn to say what I was thankful for. Maybe I waxed a bit too poetic about deployed soldiers, the homeless and the lonely. I just felt it needed to be said. Eye rolls and sarcastic cracks aside, I still do.
Recent events in my life, while debilitating in some aspects, have had a profound impact on my ability to be grateful. It is almost a superpower. I have so much for a guy with so little. The best part is that it lasts all year, not just the holiday season.
If you live with the knowledge that no matter your situation, someone always has it worse you will achieve a generous spirit that will survive more than one Thursday a year.
This time of year there is an abundance of people who show up at pantries and shelters to volunteer. Sometimes people are even turned away because too many show up. But in August they are begging for volunteers. The need doesn’t go away when the trees are taken down, neither should the spirit. Giving doesn’t have to be a grandiose gesture. A simple smile and a good word may be all someone needs to have their faith in humanity restored or energized.
No-one can do everything, but everyone can do something.
I am grateful for my family and my friends. I am thankful for all kindness and generosity, regardless of the scale. My goal is to spread that mentality like a bee spreads pollen.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. If you have a little extra spirit, I’m sure someone would love a slice.
Every day can be Thanksgiving with the right outlook.

Inventory

I was reminded today of one of my favorite expressions.

“Happiness is not having what you want. it’s wanting what you have.”

And in a very close second comes the Stones with

“You can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.”

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2 years ago I would have measured my success as a man by how much stuff I had. It was the life I was living. I lived in a nice neighborhood with neat lawns and beautiful cars in driveways. I had the Jones’s on both sides of me and I was trying frantically to keep up with them. I couldn’t. My illness was increasing, my income was dropping and trying to keep up was literally, and I never use that word, killing me. When I lost my job the bottom fell out and we knew that moving and breaking up the family was imminent. I was livid, disgusted with myself, mad at the prospect of not seeing the kids every day and feeling like a complete failure. I was also relieved to be out fromĀ under the crushing weight of the lifestyle I was living.

Fast forward 2 years and what do I have? If measured in possessions…not much. I own as much stuff that would fit in a ’13 Honda Civic. If you were to measure my heart. I have everything.

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Once I realized my career was virtually over, my dreams of a beach house were gone, my marriage was beyond repair and my health was in serious trouble I had to assess what I did have. It took some serious soul searching but I found that I was a wealthy man in assets that money cannot buy.

I don’t have everything I want. By the old standards. But I really want what I now have.

I have become a totally honest person, in particular with myself. I know who and what I am and no longer have a job pushing the boundaries of my ethics on a daily basis. I am comfortable in my skin for the first time.

I have a wonderful relationship with my children. The distance has created the need for quality time, and conversations were had and growth was achieved. I found that they respect me and understand the situation. They just want what is best for me.

My mind is clear and sharp. I’m reading the books I’ve always wanted to, I’m writing on a daily basis, reading some great bloggers and thinking on a level previously unachieved. In addition, I feel inspired.

I have renewed my relationship with my mother. We were very close until my wife put a wedge between us. We are like best friends again. Not to mention how much she is helping me right now.

I have optimism for the future. There are still so many things that I want to do, and if I set reasonable expectations and listen to my body I may be able to do them.

By having some “me time”, forced or otherwise, I realize that for the first time I like myself. If it’s possible to not say that in a self-serving way that is.

 

This year-end I want to end on a high note, with momentum and heading in the right direction. Unlike many other years in which I was down, defeated and counting on a new calendar to give me a better life. It just doesn’t work that way, I have to make it happen.