What I Am Thankful For – 2013 Edition

It’s been a long time since I wrote anything here. For a variety of reasons, I’ve simply found that other things have taken a priority. I’ve been largely OK with that, but part of me has decidedly missed the habit of writing. And so, on this day of thanks, I sit here with my warm cup of tea beside me, and struggle to adequately describe just how grateful I am for all that I have been blessed with.

My life is far from perfect. But that doesn’t mean I don’t live an incredible easy life, compared to most. And that is a fact I remind myself of multiple times a day.

Being a parent brings its share of challenges and struggles, as anyone with children knows well. But I love my family more than life itself, and I would not trade my time with them for anything in the world. I’ve heard it said that no one will make you feel worse than your children, but no one will make you feel better than your children. That’s about as accurate a statement about parenthood as I know. So today, I am thankful for my two wonderful children, my loving, supportive wife, and the rest of our family, both blood and those incredible friends we hold so dear.

Work has been stressful as of late, with lots of deadlines looming and multiple demands on my attention. I’ve had a lot of difficult interactions where I struggled mightily to keep my patience intact. I feel that I may have engaged in a little too much complaining on the home front, but to her credit, my wife has listened to my rants with a patient ear. But I do love my job, despite those challenges. I’m given an amazing amount of autonomy and freedom to manage my time, and I enjoy being at the forefront of new initiatives. My company has always treated me with respect and appreciation, which is more than I hear from many. So today, I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given and continue to enjoy, even in these, well, interesting economic times.

Over the last year or so I’ve become far more interested in politics and the state of our nation. As a result, I’ve read a lot of negative things about the good ol’ US of A. Depending on what you read, we’re either becoming a totalitarian state, following ancient Rome into collapse, or on the verge of massive economic disaster. Maybe some of these doomsday prophecies will turn out true in the end, but then again maybe they won’t. I don’t know that anyone could argue that we do not still represent an amazing achievement in the annals of human history. Ask yourself: has anyone done a better job of walking the delicate line between freedom and anarchy? Has anyone been responsible for more progress in the realms of social, economic, and political liberty? Who else has endured through countless crises, only to emerge stronger and lead the world into what may be the most prosperous era in recorded history?

Does this mean that the good times will continue on indefinitely? That the so-called Pax Americana will stretch on ad-inifinitum? That we will face down all of the many challenges we will encounter in the coming years, from a dwindling supply of natural resources to a world economy that seems to be stuck in neutral, and come forth the same dominant force in the world? Certainly not. There’s any number of things that could happen that would result in a (quite possibly less than graceful) fall from power. Greater, more enduring empires have fallen before, and will surely do so again. Some day, America as we know it will cease to exist. It will become a thing of stories, a mere blink in the great expanse of history.

But for the here and now, I can think of no place where I would rather raise my children. Despite what many might say, I still believe we are the land of opportunity, where individuals are empowered with an incredible level of freedom and abundance, where one has the ability to make their way in life as they may choose. This is something that I strive to remember each and every day. And so, today, I am thankful for being a part of this still great nation.