Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thankful for the adventure

On Thanksgiving you hear many people say what they are thankful for. You hear others say that we should be thankful every day of the year and not just once a year on Thanksgiving. I think most people are thankful every day, but are just more vocal on Thanksgiving. Also, we all know how fast life goes. Each day zips by, usually just a bit faster than the one before it. So, on the holiday we think about the things we are most thankful for. A day of additional reflection never did anyone harm anyway.

So I think about what I'm most thankful for. There are lots of individual things, of course. I'm thankful for the "stuff" I have in my life that makes each day a little easier, a little more convenient, a little more fun. I know it's just "stuff," but it impacts our lives. It's the simplest and easiest to notice very often. Of course, I'm thankful for my friends and family. It's similar to the stuff in that it's ever present and often taken for granted. Right now, I'm thinking about individuals in the family. I just finished prepping our part of the Thanksgiving feast. Linda is upstairs with Nicky, giving him a bath.

I'm thankful for my darling wife. She is such a good mom to Nicky. She loves us both so hard. That woman could exist solely on hugs, I think. I'm thankful that she gets up every day and goes into NYC with me and works only to come home and take care of our little family. Even when it's hard and frustrating and long and cold; she's there. I couldn't do all this without her.

I'm thankful for my brother. We are polar opposites. We see life so very differently. We want different things. But when I'm stuck in life, I can always call him and he can call me. We trust each other so completely and can talk openly about everything. Even when we don't agree; we still support.

I'm thankful for my parents who made sure my life was always complete and then some. Even now, they are always there for me when I need them - sometimes at 7am when they pick up Nicky. My mom is there to play with the baby when she should be cooking for the holiday. My dad is there to talk about Nicky's college fund, or to help me build deck stairs on the house, or to hang out on Friday night and just be everything to me. My mom will stay on the phone every last minute when I need to talk about something. And even though we've had our typical parent/child challenges, I could never have bigger or better champions of my life.

I'm thankful for my Nick. He's the most incredible tiny person ever. He's silly and funny and cute and smart. He makes me think about the future of the country and the world. He makes me think about my future. I sometimes stress about having enough time and money and patience and knowledge. I watch him change by the day and realize I don't have to have all the answers right now. We will evolve together. But still... I want all the answers right now so I'm always one step ahead of him because he'll know when I'm not.

I'm thankful for my job. Not just because we all need a job. But for this one specifically. They took a chance on me when I needed it most. They've continually invested in me with raises and promotions. But I love the company, the mission, the vision, the culture. I have so much fun every day. I believe in what we do. And it's really hard. I'm thankful for my team that works so hard for me and our colleagues and our customers. I'm also thankful because I can relax in knowing that my career is in good hands. Nicky and Linda will never want for anything. Olapic believes in me and what I do for them and how I do it. As a result, I always know I can provide for my family in profound ways.

The list goes on and on. My friends, who are too many to name, and have been there for me in too many ways to list. Over the years we've been close and far in geography and in life and in closeness.

The theme throughout all the things in my life that I couldn't bear to live without is that not one category has always been perfect. Everyone has been challenging and hard at times. It's always been more good than bad. The net effect will always be positive. That is part of the journey, the adventure. I often learn more from the bad times than I do the good times.

Of all the things in my life, I'm most thankful for the adventure. My life has been a rollercoaster for most of it. Despite the Rockwellian surface, we've all struggled along the way in different ways. And if I didn't have the wonderful foundation, I don't know how I'd have survived parts of it.

The inside of my right bicep is tattooed with "Life's challenges only strengthen me" and it couldn't be more true. But it's only true because of all the support I've had along the way. I'm always thankful for all of it. I show it as often as I can. Like anyone else, I fail many times along the way. I get consumed by the hard parts. I get overcome by the minutiae of the day-to-day. But right now, in this moment, I hear Linda and Nicky upstairs, I see my beautiful home preparing to be decorated for Christmas, I smell the food ready to be delivered to my parents' house. And in this moment, I'm thankful for my life... and the adventure it's been... and the adventure it will be.