Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Gratitudes

I have always said that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  I love that there's no gift giving tradition to leave us all in some variation of anxious and/or disappointed.  I love that the food can be towards the healthy edge of the spectrum.

But most of all, I love a holiday that revolves around gratitude.

Let me now make a list of all the things for which I am most grateful in the past year:

--At my midlife point of losing friends and not just because they move to a new town, I am grateful for the family and friends who are still here.

--I am grateful that my family continues to enjoy spending time together.  I had wondered if we might drift away from each other after the death of my grandmother, but we have not.

--I am grateful for my new job.  My old school has some structural problems that makes me fearful that it won't be here in 5 or 10 years, and realistically, I need to keep working for the next 10 years, much as I might wish I could retire.  It's good to be at a school that seems more stable, that prepares students for jobs in medical fields that will still have jobs when they graduate.  It's good to be at a school that talks about having a moral obligation to the students that we accept.

--I am grateful that I can still find nuggets of writing time in my new schedule.  I think back to the idea I had during our 2015 Thanksgiving travels, about a collection of linked short stories that revolves around student radicals/social justice workers who find themselves at age 50ish.  I originally thought I would have the characters be students who knew each other in their youth.  As the stories have evolved, the connection is that they all work in a for-profit arts school, and each one has worked in a different aspect of the social justice field.  It's been a fun project that lets me feel connected to both my more recent friends and my undergrad friends as I weave all of our stories into a different fabric.

--This past year has been the one that had my spouse teaching at the local community college, a change for him (his teaching the year before was at a for-profit school).  He loves it, and we have fascinating discussions about Philosophy--in some ways, it feels like we're back to our essential selves.

--I am grateful that my health continues to be stable, although I do have more aches than I once did.  This has been the year of the 10 day shred, an elimination diet that puts me back on a healthier track.  I am now roughly 18 pounds lighter than I was a year ago.  I'm grateful for that, but more than that, I'm grateful to have a new tool, the 10 day shred, that can help me as I need to get back on track in the months and years to come.

--This year, I had a poem nominated for a Pushcart Prize, a first for me.  That makes me happy, as does my chapbook coming out in physical form.

--I am grateful for the retreats that I had during the past year.  I am grateful for my local church, Trinity Lutheran, in Pembroke Pines.  I am grateful for everything, both the overtly spiritual and the more subtly spiritual, that keeps me spiritually grounded.

Let me not get so lost in my luckiness that I forget those who can't be so grateful.  Let me continue to yearn for and to work for a world where we all have enough to inspire gratitude.

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