November 25, 2014

2014: What Do We Have To Be Thankful About?

If you spend enough time with social media, cable TV news channels, newspapers, or on the Internet, the title of this post seems like a reasonable question. Between the mess that is the Mideast, Ebola, political dysfunction, and the general tension of 21st century living, Thanksgiving may seem like an anachronism: a pleasant idea that lives on more in memory than reality.

I disagree.  In America we have survived yet another election cycle with all the drama and cynicism that implies. The results were not pleasing to many, full of joy for others. But, we all woke up on November 5th, complained or rejoiced, and got back to living our lives. As much as politicians like to think what they do is critical to each one of us every waking moment of our lives, most of us spend our days with the political circus far in the background. Their "games" effect us in the long term, but for the most part they occupy their own world.

The fact that we had a contentious election and the country moves forward is the important reminder of our system. With the next presidential election less than two years away, the fun is about to begin again in earnest. It all may be infuriating, silly and wasteful, and often downright counter intuitive to common sense and logic, but there are no coups, insurrections, or massive social upheavals on the horizon.

In two years the country might turn the House and Senate back to the Democrats, not because they have all the answers, but because the public is always ready to "throw the bums out" regardless of who the bums are. That is just the way it is.

Personally, life couldn't be better. My wife and I not only survived but thrived during two months together in an RV this summer. We found new sides to each other, relished the time disconnected from normal distractions and connections, and saw beautiful parts of our country. We also learned being away from family for two months is our limit. 

My dad remains physically healthy. While his short term memory can be measured in days (sometimes hours, it seems) he enjoys getting together for lunch every few weeks and is generally upbeat. A new set of hearing aids seems to have helped his ability to participate in conversations.

Our daughters, a son-in-law and grandkids are happy and doing well. We spend time together frequently and enjoy each others' company.

I have had a series of medical tests provided by Medicare that don't reveal any issues of concern. My overall health remains good.

Financially, I remain on solid ground with no concerns. Betty and I are comfortable with our lifestyle and how we manage our resources. A summer in Portland is planned for next year and a trip to Europe for our 40th wedding anniversary in 2016 looks doable. 

This blog is doing well and remains fun and engaging for me and several thousand readers every day. I am moving forward on a third book that should be published sometime next spring. 

So, what do I have to be thankful for in 2014.....everything. 

I sincerely hope that your Thanksgiving review shows your life to be bountiful and satisfying. Perfect? Probably not. Better than many? Quite likely. 

Enjoy.


18 comments:

  1. Thanks for the upbeat post Bob. Yeah it sounds like you have life by the tail and have much to be thankful for. I wish I could shed the darkness in life as successfully as you. I have much to be thankful for also. I have to constantly remind myself of that. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family....

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    1. RJ, you may not see yourself in this light, but you are a bright beacon of opinions that need airing. Your ability to write well and often is a blessing to many of us who celebrate your compassion and involvement. Keep fighting the good fight, my friend. A very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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  2. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! I affirm your thoughts...any day we wake up and put our feet on the floor, it is good day. Our country may not be perfect but yet it is the best in the world. All of us have few monkeys on our back from time to time. However, very few of you readers would not have abundant blessings in their life. I have been richly blest....no I can not keep up with the Joneses...and I doubt that if you stepped into their moccasins they would feel the same as they look. But so many of my blessings are the perfect fit for me. God has indeed blessed me and mine abundantly.....and I am so very thankful!

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    1. My faith in God and His ultimate watch over my life does make it much easier to deal with the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" that life occasionally throws my way. I am blessed with a strong marriage to an amazing woman, two tremendous daughters, three absolute joys for grandkids, and a loving son-in-law. Life is good.

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  3. Nice post -- altho', actually, the public does not throw the bums out. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, with a greater than 90 percent re-election rate, "Few things in life are more predictable than the chances of an incumbent member of the U.S. House of Representatives winning reelection." U.S. Senators do almost as well with an almost-90 percent rate. But maybe that goes to show us (as you suggest right at the beginning) things are not as bad as we sometimes think they are.

    All is good on our front as well -- everyone is healthy, wealthy and wise ... well, scratch that last one.

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    1. You are correct about the re-election rate. But, enough of the worst go away on a regular basis to change the balance of power in Congress...not that it seems to make much difference.

      Glad things are going well in your household, Tom. Stay warm until your next visit to the southwest and California.

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  4. Good morning Bob,

    I read this great article yesterday about the financial value of contentment in retirement. http://assetbuilder.com/scott_burns/the_contentment_factor

    With the national and international unrest that exists today, it would be easy to get caught up in all the negativity. But you are right, our lives go on. I have learned that for myself, reading headlines of some of the more unsettling stories is all I need (think Cosby, Ferguson, political right versus left) . When I delve into the nitty gritty details, it is just depressing. And, not really in my control. Some may say I have my head in the sand, but I get the gist of it, and find it unnecessary to read every last detail about these situations. It just causes psychological pain for me, and who needs that!

    Locally, we can actually make a difference. We can add to the quality of someone’s life, either through a gift of time, resources or money. How grateful I am to be at a place in this life where I am able to do this!

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    1. Recently, I put a small post it note on my desk. It tells me to not pay any attention to the loudest voices yelling about whatever is the hot topic of the day.

      My day is much calmer and I can focus on what really matters.

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  5. Bob, thank you for this uplifting post. Most of us have more than enough, and those of us who have friends and family are absolutely rich. Even though this past year was one of the most difficult our family has faced (both of our kids went through significant pain/loss), we are in the process of rebuilding, and our faith has anchored us during the storms. We have peace in our hearts and hope for a blessed future. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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    1. Thanks, Pam. I hope you and your family can see the light beaming ahead for a new year full of contentment and satisfaction.

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  6. And a Happy, Peaceful, Contented Thanksgiving to you too, Bob! Life is good to us also. I love being retired and enjoying doing this things I do at my own pace. Love my family and they love me--what a blessing!

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    1. Family love is what it is all about....oh, and a cute puppy.

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  7. Great post. Most of us have so very much to be grateful for!
    We will be alone this Thanksgiving, for the first time in years, so making the feast seemed silly. Instead we will be volunteering at the VFW where they are feeding the Coast Guard cadets. I think it will be just what we need on this day of thanks.
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    b

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    1. An excellent use of the day...kudos to you and Dave.

      Pausing to remember how our lives are unfolding and how we compare to billions of other human beings in the world can humble us and make us grateful - and prompt us to do what we can to ease the burdens of others.

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  8. We give thanks every day - and also tomorrow - for our good fortune. All of it.

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    1. Absolutely, Linda. Safe travels for you, Art, and your assorted animals as you make your way to Tucson soon.

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  9. I'm belatedly but happily commenting; life has been even busier than usual lately, but I wanted to share this. I'm blessed & grateful for so many things; my health, family, friends (virtual & local) & our country (as imperfect as it is.) One of my friends commented recently that being grateful for the "hard things" was also important. Since I was just tapped for jury service on a week-long criminal trial in the middle of everything else I was doing for the holidays, I thought about that comment. The extra gratitude for this Thanksgiving is that we are the only country where a group of ordinary citizens (many of whom grumbled mightily to be there!) took time out of their ordinary day to evaluate evidence & decide the fate of a fellow citizen. I'd never served on a jury before & while I didn't complain out loud (too many years as a county employee) I wasn't impressed at the timing; but when the process was completed, I was impressed at how 12 different folks, from different backgrounds, put aside, to the best of their ability, any preconceived notions and evaluated information to make a decision.

    It's always good for me to take a step back and view my life and world from a clearer perspective. I hope you and yours had a blessed Thanksgiving and will enjoy the Christmas season also.

    pam

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    1. Thank you, Pam. Jury duty is an excellent example of what still works well in our country and will continue to do so long after whatever is the latest political squabble fades into insignificance.

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