That Oprah Winfrey is pretty damn wise. These are not easy words to live into. We live in a life filled with what if’s and if only’s. To be consistently thankful for what you have and where you are in life is to experience life in the moment, to be here now.
Here are the 10 things I’m most grateful for this Thanksgiving.
1. The gift of health
I’ve been NED (no evidence of disease) for 3 1/2 years and as far as I’m concerned this is how it’s gonna’ be from now on. I’m healthy, happy, have tons of energy and even with the annoying side effects of Tamoxifen, nothing is as bad as what I went through during my breast cancer in 2010, so I am one happy camper. Perspective is a very enlightening thing.
2. The gift of time
A month ago one of my clients dropped me. It wasn’t dramatic or mean spirited; she switched to a new role that wasn’t going to be able to be supported by a consultant and so she had to (gently) drop me. And, I was given back the gift of time. I picked up about 16 hours a week that I was devoting to this particular project and I can not believe what a gift this has turned out to be. It’s allowed me to get to my goal of 2 blog posts each week; I’ve cleaned out my office of 7 years worth of files; I’ve cleaned out and redecorated our guest bedroom; I’ve been cooking more and so the family is happier. And having more time during this time of year is going to make the upcoming holidays all the better because I’ll have the time I need to get everything done, instead of cramming it all in on top of work.
3. The gift of family
Before I had kids, I was pretty darn selfish. It was mostly all about me; I didn’t marry until I was 37 and until then I’d been living the good life with a satisfying career, my own place, good friends and an interesting variety of men in my life. Then I met my husband, fell in love, got married and soon after had 2 kids. And all of a sudden the world became about everything BUT me. For a long time I struggled with that. But now, they’re 15 and 17 and pretty autonomous and unexpectedly I have the best of both worlds.
I know most people say teenagers are horrible, but so far mine have been pretty great. Yes, they’re messy and demanding and full of themselves, but that’s how they’re supposed to be at this age, right? And tonight I get to go with my husband into NYC to see Van Morrison and afterwards we’re staying over at a hotel just because we can, because the kids are old enough to take care of themselves. I never thought this day would come, when they were babies, but here it is and it’s pretty freakin’ great.
4. The gift of siblings
I have 3 siblings; 2 older sisters and a younger brother. Growing up, it was always “the girls and Eddie.” I’m so lucky that I have family that I really like to hang out with. When we get together it’s a heady mix; we’re all talkers and there are lots of lively debates and discussions about art, politics, the state of the world and……our parents. After family trips, my kids always tell me that my family “talks a lot.” The understatement of the year, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
During my breast cancer treatments, each of my siblings, who all live out of state, took a trip (or two) to come check in on me. Each of them called me constantly to see how I was and offer unconditional love and support. Having siblings is a great thing; it’s even better when you all like each other as adults. Plus, there are so many stories to talk about from when you were young!
5. The gift of great friends
I have the best friends in the world. Yes, a bold statement and I know there are many of you who think YOU have the best friends in the world, but I assure you, mine are the best. Each one is interesting in their own way; and there are a few things they all share in common: they all have very quirky senses of humor, are introspective, intellectually curious and non-judgmental.
During chemo and surgeries, I had a network of friends who rallied to feed my family, take me to chemo, drive up and down Route 287 to take me to breast expansion procedures while I was still on Vicodin and just be there for me. To this day, I can’t quite believe how much these women rallied to get my family and I through this. I’ll always be grateful.
6. The gift of sight
Two of my favorite things to do in the world are reading and watching movies. I am extremely grateful to have sight, so that I can enjoy these two things which bring me so much pleasure.
7. The gift of satisfying work
I was an English major in college with no idea of what I wanted to do “when I grew up.” I chose the major because I liked to read; the only thing I was sure of was that I DIDN’T want to be a teacher. I wasn’t the most practical person at that age. Somehow I managed to turn this into a marketing career and have worked for some of the best companies in the country. Now, I do consulting from home and not to rub it in, but it’s the best job in the world.
8. The gift of a home
There are a lot of people in this world who don’t even have a roof over their head. After the typhoon in the Phillipines and last year’s Superstorm Sandy, I became even more aware of how lucky we are to live in this country, in the fashion that we are accustomed to, with food, a roof over our head, an education for all of our kids and a job. Lots of people don’t have it this good, and I am very thankful that we do.
9. The gift of technology
If I had been born 20 years earlier, I wouldn’t have the life I live now because of technology. I wouldn’t be working from home because it was only with the advent of computers that companies started to allow people to work remotely. Before computers, we had to have the infrastructure of an office with copy machines, faxes, typewriters and secretaries to facilitate our day to day activities. Now with a laptop and a cell phone, we can work from anywhere.
10. The gift of dessert
I’m thankful for chocolate and Haagen Dazs ice cream, two things that make me deliciously happy. Enough said, if you’re a fan, you know that without them, the world wouldn’t be quite as fulfilling!