It's Thanksgiving, a holiday I like because it's all about family, food, and being thankful for what you have. I often focus on the negatives in my life, either because I am trying to change them, or because I rather enjoy feeling sorry for myself. And I tend to take all the blessings in my life for granted (maybe because I have a little bit of an entitled princess complex), feeling that it's just the way things should be. Of course I deserve happiness, chocolate, everything I want to buy and good weather!
But the truth is, everyone, including me, is only a hair's breadth away from disaster, and the world is unfair: good people suffer terribly every day. Furthermore, no one is entitled to anything; in fact, if good things were actually dispensed by merit then very very few people would ever have anything nice at all (since most of us, including me, are irretrievably flawed). Every moment of happiness and good fortune is a wonderful if unmerited gift.
With that in mind, I want to try to appreciate all the wondrous things I have been given, even though I don't deserve them. This year, I am especially grateful for:
--my darling B. He is kind, patient, hard working, brave, trustworthy, and supports me in everything. He makes me think, challenges me when I am wrong, and is always affectionate and considerate.
--Little R. I only met her 9 months ago, but it feels like I've known her forever. She is happy, enthusiastic, healthy, and everything (and more!) I ever wanted. I never imagined a baby could be so perfect.
--my family. They have always supported me in everything (even when I do things like move their only grandchild halfway around the world) and are unfailingly loving and kind. My parents are the kind of people I aspire to be, moral, upright, honest, tolerant of others, and caring, who do all kinds of things for others and never ask for credit.
--good health. In the past, we've all had our troubles (back surgeries, possible kidney cancer, kidney stones, appendictis, prostate cancer, hysterectomy, crippling foot injury, seizures, etc.). I am so happy that for the moment, everyone is healthy and well.
--having enough money. I've been really poor and it is terrible, a constant grinding worry. While money doesn't make you happy, it is so nice to have enough that you don't have to stress about how you will pay bills, afford medical care, or buy groceries. I am so grateful that we have enough to have a nice life, and that I can afford to stay at home with little R (rather than being forced to send her off to substandard daycare, or go on welfare: my two options as a poor person).
--my opportunities. I could have easily been born as a Cambodian peasant girl, and ended up in a brothel at the age of 7. Instead, I was born in one of the richest countries in the world, to parents who constantly sacrificed for me so that I could travel, receive a great education, and make my own decisions about how I wanted my life to be. I live in an age of technology, which means I can control my fertility, receive excellent medical care, and experience the world without leaving my living room. I've always had enough to eat, been surrounded by those who love me, and never experienced anything truly horrible like death, rape, war or sudden violence. As a white middle class American, I have more freedom than any other group of women in history.
I have been given so much, and am so fortunate. Thank you universe for your generosity.