I’m thankful for the morning. In cold, brightening light of a new day, I’m aware of another chance to experience new things, opportunities to listen to someone else’s stories, potentials for making small discoveries about things that I thought I already knew.
I’m thankful for my grandparents and parents. Superficially, they’re the reason I’m here, but more personally, they’re the reason I’m able to do what I’m able to do. The next generation always carries the promise and hopes of the preceding generation. As people age, people can’t help but wonder if their own lives have been worthy. It should be a willing, even desirable obligation of every subsequent generation to give their forebears peace of mind, that it’s possible to maintain an unbroken chain of trust. Even for the self-made among us (and that’s a lot of people, I’ve come to believe) the collective ancestry of the culture deserves a robust measure of respect and appreciation. The collective enables greatness in individuals, and individuals contribute to the collective. Each day, I’m thankful to be the result of people who spent their lives working for a better world and placed in me a trust that I would carry their messages and efforts forward.
I’m thankful for the evening. Not yet night, the fading light draws people closer, makes people lean in. It’s funny: something about oncoming night changes the way people listen to each other. Diminished light doesn’t actually affect projected sound, but our evolutionary memories about the perils of nighttime coax us towards heightened awareness. We lean in, listen.
Finally, I’m thankful for good ideas. The product of listening and observation and some strange alchemy that still defies solid explanation, good ideas have lives of their own. When I get a good idea its as if I’m suddenly the keeper of a secret waiting to be told. When I experience someone else with an good idea, either personally or through the lens of broader culture, I must appreciate the process and the connection. It’s as if a demonstration of a new, good idea by anyone holds back forces that threaten to upend and erode the best parts of humanity’s march forward.
Wherever the holiday finds you, whether at a table with family, in a chaotic airport waiting for a delayed flight, or even contemplating your unhappy lot in unintended solitude somewhere, there are reasons to be thankful. You’re reading this, therefore you’re alive, and that’s not something to forget, or waste.