On Thankfulness

On Thankfulness
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I have spent Thanksgiving in Dallas with my parents and my romantic friend, who I’ll refer to as ‘Lea.’ I wish that my brother could have been here; maybe things will turn out differently next year.

We had a very nice time. Lea, unfortunately, needed to get back to the Washington, D.C. area tonight, but having her in Dallas for four nights was terrific.

In certain respects, 2017 has been a difficult and frustrating year. In certain ways, I feel like I’m not where I need to be — not doing enough, not achieving enough, not having enough of an impact, and so much more.

Fear of failure can provide a powerful and positive motivational influence. It’s also helpful to keep the lows in perspective; that’s something I’m continuously cognizant of, though that doesn’t mean I always do a great job of putting the lows into a broader, more complete context.

Frankly, I worry that I may have spent too much of 2017 worrying or focusing on some of those tougher issues, and not enough time appreciating everything that I have — all the good things and great people in my life. I realize it sounds a bit silly to say that I’m now worrying about my worrying. But I don’t believe this sort of thinking is counterproductive. I don’t think this is a waste of time.

In short, I didn’t spend enough time just being thankful. I didn’t spend enough time appreciating everything I have to be thankful for. More significantly, I didn’t spend enough time appreciating everyone I have to be thankful for. And, trust me: I have a lot to be thankful for.

I have terrific friends, many of whom I don’t get to spend enough time with. I have really supportive, great parents. I don’t have perfect parents because there aren’t any. And, the older I get, the more I realize that I should spent more time appreciating everything they’ve done for me, and less time pondering points of disagreement, or tangential issues.

I have a caring, thoughtful younger brother. I wish I were a better older brother, but I’m only thirty-four. Hopefully, I have many more years to improve.

And, now that Lea is in the picture, I have someone who has shown me how fun and exciting real romance can be. I have someone in my life who actually makes my heart flutter. I have someone in my life who I’m passionate about — in a way that I’ve never felt about anyone before.

I’ve read enough and gotten to see enough of the world to know that I’m very fortunate. Nevertheless, all too frequently, my thoughts gloss over this fundamental truth. This year I have spent too much time thinking about the bad or the negative and not enough time just being thankful. This hit me this afternoon when my parents, Lea and I were eating.

We had such a nice time: engaging conversation, excellent food, nice wine, good music, laughs, smiles, warmth, friendliness, love, an appreciation for one another and more. We had everything you need and then some.

The time to spend more time being thankful is long overdue.

*This piece first appeared in Medium.

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