I started writing this while in my home office looking out the window on a beautiful day. The morning frost was thawing, and I was wondering what I have to be thankful for. I was feeling stuck due to a little thing you might have heard of called a pandemic, and being home with the children, and the constant interruptions. This is the pandemic condition: a continued sense of malaise at the seemingly unending quarantine. So many of us are feeling it. This Thanksgiving is different because so many of us are choosing not to be with family. On the bright side it should be easier to stay out of political arguments.
Upon reflection, I do have a lot to be thankful for:
I’m not in a hospital hooked up to a ventilator. Nor is anyone in my immediate circle.
My wife, Val, who always pushes me to be better, and bakes a mean carrot cake when my birthday comes around. Sadly, I have to wait until June for another one!
Our children, Sam (13) and Emily (7), who are forging their own paths in this twisted year and play together so imaginatively.
For healthcare workers. Not only are they dealing with a deadly pandemic, but they are forced to suffer the fools who’ve been fed misinformation about the pandemic.
Misinformation. It’s exasperating, but also a reminder that people form their own truth.
People who suffer fools. Suffering fools is an underappreciated superpower.
Questions. A properly asked question will teach more than a condescending speech. I’m still working on learning this. A good question should challenge your assumptions.
Clients who come to me with voiceover projects.
The voiceover coaches I’ve worked who’ve helped me get better at this profession.
The sense of accomplishment that comes from pushing myself to be better in anything.
Walks in the woods with the family.
Spring/summer neighborhood walks with Val where it stayed light well into the evening and we could catch up with each other without interruption.
The time Val and I had to sprint nearly a mile when we were caught off-guard by a thunderstorm…and neither of us were struck by lightning.
Bike riding as a family.
The friends I’ve made throughout the years, and continuing to be part of their journey.
Lake Superior. Especially after a thunderstorm has gone through and we’re left with a rainbow over the lake.
Hooting owls on a summer night.
The hills that make me want to quit running and nearly break my spirit every time I go out.
New fallen snow.
The music in our house: Emily playing “Burning Down the House” on the ukulele. Sam rocking out on the piano, playing Radiohead, Styx, and Beethoven.
The way Val and the children harmonize.
The realization that your kids will find their own motivation and passion.
The teachers who’ve had to be flexible this year and displayed true creativity in helping the children learn.
Playing Wiffle Ball with Sam. He might not play baseball any more, but he can still kick my butt at Wiffle Ball!
Technology that allows us to connect with people even if we can’t be with them.
For the countless people who inspire us to be better.
Photography. There’s just something about capturing a picture when you are in the right place at the right time.
Plungers may be a low-tech tool…but they sure come in handy when you need one.
Libraries. Like most institutions, libraries have had to pivot, but without libraries I’d be in a lot of debt.
Playing guitar. Val helped me wall-mount my guitars so now I can just pick them up at any time. She may come to regret that decision.
Doodling with Emily. We can be quiet together and explore our creativity.
Board games and card games with the family.
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems – Emily was extremely comforted when we went on lockdown and she could doodle with Mo for three weeks. She even watched some episodes on repeat.
Journalism. Actual journalism that seeks to dig beyond a surface understanding of events and makes you think beyond your own confirmation bias. Any real journalistic outfit will correct itself when it gets a story wrong.
When someone laughs when I’m trying to be funny.
Junk mail. If someone wants my money, I must still be alive, right?
Getting up before sunrise every day. It’s like being in on a secret that no one else knows about. Plus, I get to watch my small corner of the world reveal itself.
Science. Because science is about trying to find the best solution with available information. Science isn’t perfect, and often scientists have to correct their assumptions when new information becomes available.
That I don’t have to drive as much.
And you, for getting to the end of this list.
Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?