I’m not a very sentimental person. I generally avoid goodbyes because I hate blubbering. All I can think is, “It’s not like I’ll never see you again.” I don’t really enjoy sharing my feelings, and I definitely don’t like the whole sentimentality surrounding Thanksgiving. Every year when we go around the table so each person can say what they are thankful for, I just think of something generic like family and God and all that stuff. Why? Maybe it’s just because I’m a Scrooge sometimes. But I think that’s because although I think it’s important to talk about what we’re thankful for on Thanksgiving, we should also talk about what we’re thankful for throughout the year. So I guess my Scroogeness is just my silent boycott of all those who go all out with gratitude for one day a year and then are total jerks the rest of the year.
But as my wife and I have been traveling to visit my family this year, I’ve had a lot of time to think (20 hours to be exact) about the things I’m grateful for, a lot of them being things I express gratitude for often, but also some of the things I take for granted. I won’t list all of them here because you’d still be reading it tomorrow, and there are some that are so personal that I’ll save those for my close loved ones, but here are just a few things I do want to share with you that I am thankful for.
That may seem like a weird thing to top the list, but I really am grateful for my blog. The last year has been pretty rough in all aspects of our lives, some of which I haven’t shared, but this blog has been a sort of refuge for me. I’m madly passionate about personal finance and I have loved every minute of the time I spend working on my blog, especially connecting with you guys through comments and social media. I have felt challenged and blessed, and I have learned so much from all y’all. The blog has also grown a lot quicker than I thought it would, and I have had a lot more exposure than I imagined (thanks to the Deseret News for recently featuring one of my articles). I’ve been on cloud 9 all week, because it’s not about me. It’s about the connections I’ve made and hopefully the people I’ve helped see a better way of doing things (although I know my ways aren’t the best way for everyone). You guys rock!
This one was particularly poignant to me as we were toastily cruising across the country at 80 mph amid below freezing temperatures. It made me think about my great great grandfather, Heber McBride, who walked across the same frozen plains, from Iowa City, Iowa to Salt Lake City, Utah, 1,300 miles in all, with other pioneers in the Martin handcart company. The picture to the right depicts Heber finding his father one morning under a wagon, frozen to death, which was a common experience for those pioneers. I can’t imagine what else they had to go through on that trek, but thinking about it made me infinitely more grateful for the advances in technology and engineering that make it so that we don’t have to go through the same.
Last week I wrote about my stupid sinus infection that has made it impossible for me to taste anything. This happens a few times a year now and every time it takes about a week for me to get that sense of taste back. It drives me absolutely insane because I love food, but it also gives me a lot to think about every time it happens. It makes me think of those who don’t have enough food to even taste. It makes me think of those people who have health problems or disabilities that don’t go away after a week, people who suffer every day with no relief. I read an article this morning by J. Money about his 13-year-old friend who is in need of a heart transplant. I also read Kathleen’s article yesterday about losing her mom and the experiences she got to have with her before she passed that have kept her feeling grateful despite the pain. And I complain about not being able to taste food for a week? Overall, I’m extremely healthy, so there is definitely a lot for me to be grateful for.
Living in a Prosperous Country
This is something I think about and am grateful for almost every day. I have spent time in developing countries, working with people who live on less than $1 a day, and it never ceases to amaze me how completely ridiculous we can be sometimes. It’s funny sometimes to read those “first world problems” memes and tweets, but it’s also sad to see that we complain about such inconsequential things, like our flight being late or our restaurant food being cold. What we in America consider poverty would be considered a pretty darn good life in some developing countries. We are just so crazily blessed that I can’t help but focus all of my efforts on getting to where I need to be financially so I can do everything I can to help others. The experiences I have had have led me to believe that God has given me this opportunity as a stewardship, and every resource I have should be used wisely so that I can help others.
I’m glad I got to spend some time this week thinking about the things I’m thankful for. I hope we can all take the time to really think to thank for the things in our lives that we take for granted.
What are some of the things you feel like you take for granted?