It might be said that it’s too early for this, a Thanksgiving piece.
Not so. Every day is pretty much Thanksgiving for me. I’m one of the lucky ones.
Five things I am thankful for:
I have three healthy sons in their early to mid-20s. They’re good guys, smart, funny and kind. And I have a brother and sister who are supportive and dependable. In addition to the love that comes with being part of a family, we all like and respect each other.
Intimacy. By that I mean I have good, solid friends to talk with, go for a run with, or meet for lunch … and a wonderful, special woman for whom I give thanks every day. No mistake.
There’s no substitute, especially now, for having a satisfying job with health benefits. Security also comes from living in a safe neighborhood, in a country where we take so much for granted (today, of course, is Veterans Day). Most of the things that stress us out are “first-world problems” that half the world would be grateful to endure.
Every day I check the obits in my local paper (OK, the website). Not because I’m morbid, but because — unfortunately — it seems once a week I know someone, sometimes younger than I, on that page. My parents both lived to be 90, and I try to respect that genetic gift of good health by running and taking care of myself.
Ah, happiness … I think I’m happy in part because I don’t want much. I couldn’t care less about career status, nice clothes, a fancy car, a big house, all that crap. I know people who spend their lives chasing that stuff, and deep down I think many of them are miserable.
So I guess I’m also grateful for what I don’t have — and don’t want. This lets me genuinely and consciously appreciate small things like a good book, an act of kindness, an invigorating run in the woods, a quiet evening with someone I love.
Lately I’ve taken to quoting Lou Gehrig in his famous farewell speech at Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939 — minus the “bad break,” of course. Most days I do indeed consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.