It has been an eventful and terribly trying year filled with job changes, stress, a depressing political atmosphere (in KS especially), and anxiety over upcoming surgery (next Tuesday). All of this has made the past year, as QE II would say, an annus horiblus.
In the midst of my depression, angst, and physical decline (well after about 30, we all are on the downward slope), I did try to think of some things for which to be thankful. The following is a list in no particular order:
- I'm thankful for my friends. In person, on line, Skype, and phone friends. All of you are collectively the best thing in my life (I did get that subject/verb agreement correct, seriously). I value you more than you could know.
- I'm thankful for the River and Clinton Lake trails that have allowed me so many wonderful hours of running alone with my thoughts, or together with my friends over the past years.
- As an overview to the preceding, I am really thankful for the running I have done and will continue to do. Running has become less of a sport and more of a raison d'etre for me. I am not a musician, a businessman, a Democrat, etc... who runs. But instead, I am a runner who also happens to be a musician.... you get the idea. It defines my very existence. I am most relaxed and spiritually 'at peace' when I'm pounding a trail or road. I'd expound, but I want to keep this brief.
- I am thankful that I live next to an Olympic size swimming pool. With surgery crushing my runs for the Winter months, life would be terribly dreary. And, while swimming isn't really my 'thing,' I am glad that somehow my karma set up my current locale just when I needed it.
- Almost finally, I am thankful that I have the ability to work. In this economy one can never be certain of the future. But I have a job, have been offered others, and am fairly confident (knock wood) that I could find something suitable should my current situation take a turn (which should not be the case). But I do recognize how many people are facing a terrible and uncertain future right now while our government does seemingly less and less to create jobs or assist those who are out of work and without hope.
- And finally, I am thankful for my family. While I am single, I do have family all around. My parents still live and have good health. My brother's family continues on with all of the foibles common to most American families. My Aunt and cousins and their families seem to be thriving. So all could be a lot worse.
- And finally finally, I'm thankful for my health overall. Knee problems aside, I really never experience anything too terrible. And without health, I cannot imagine truly having the capacity to enjoy life.
If you do want to donate to good causes, this is the time of year to do so. I switched my credit card issuer earlier this year from one that gives me cash back, to one that gives the same amount to the Sea Shepherds. That is about the easiest way to give - without even thinking about it.
Good local charities - wherever you live, you can amend your list to include ones in your area that match the following types of charities:
Health Care Access (low-cost health care)
the Lawrence Community Shelter (homeless advocates)
Bert Nash (mental health)
cockadoodlemoo.org (farm animal sanctuary)
KANU (Public Radio)
DCAP (AIDS care)
Whatever you can give will always be appreciated. I am thankful that I have the ability to give - even if it is just a bit.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.