iStock 000016968627XSmall - Grateful Perspective

This Thanksgiving, as families crowd around the table fighting for more of Grandma’s turkey and gravy, let’s take some time to remember the things we have to be grateful for.

As for me, I’m grateful for this extraordinarily odd life we share. Think about it this way: everyone reading this column is richer than Henry VIII. King of England in the 1500s, he was wealthier than anyone else of his time. But he did not have Advil. Or central heating. Or hot showers, or antibiotics, or even anesthetic  And anesthetic is good. Very, very good. He may have had a myriad of people waiting on him hand and foot, but he didn’t have many of the things that we take for granted.

But it’s not just because we live in 2012 that we have these luxuries. It’s also because we live in Canada. After traveling in Africa and even southern Europe, I am very grateful for our wide, clean, paved roads. I love our big supermarkets. I love our freedoms. We have it good.

And as the clock is ticking ever more loudly counting down the time I still have with my daughters at home, I’m very grateful for the memories we’ve made.  It’s so easy in the busy-ness of life to forget that the wonderful chaos we share now will not always be there. One day the house will be quiet, the fridge will stay full, and the living room will stay much neater. As my daughters grow older, I’m starting to appreciate the chaos all the more.

Speaking of family, I’m thankful for second chances. Even when we face disappointments in life, and people betray or abandon us, that pain does not have to taint the rest of our lives. A little love, a little commitment, and a little dose of selflessness can create a rock solid family bond, no matter where you came from.

I’m grateful that despite the ugliness and violence and depravity that we see on the news and on reality shows, the vast majority of people actually tend to do the right thing. Sure Jersey Shore may make it look like the younger generation has lost all moral grounding, and the riots in the Middle East make the future look grim, but on the whole, in small, day-to-day decisions, people tend to choose well. It’s actually quite amazing.

I’m grateful to live in a small town, where I can’t go to the grocery store without running into someone that I know. Some find that stifling; I find it comforting. After growing up in Toronto and feeling insignificant, I finally have a home.

I’m grateful for my left knee. I complain to no end about my right knee, which seems intent on driving me to an early date with a surgeon. But every time my right knee acts up, it reminds me that my left knee is perfectly lovely, thank you very much. So are my hips, and my elbows, and my shoulders. And as I hit my forties and my eyes start to squint whenever a medicine bottle come near, I’m grateful that they’re also compensating by helping me see distances better. Aging is not all bad.

I’m grateful for hair dye. There is nothing quite as fun to a woman as changing the colour of her hair to match her mood. Or the seasons. Or just a whim.

I’m grateful for friends who keep me grounded, for a husband who keeps me feeling secure, and for kids who keep me laughing. And I’m grateful for a holiday to remind us of all of these things.

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