Every year, at about this time, it happens.
I step out of the house, or out of a store, or glance up from my phone. I look around. And for some reason, it’s unusually quiet. It seems a little odd, almost. The normal bustle and hassle of day-to-day life seems to have receded. In its place there is quiet.
And then I remember. The holidays are here. It’s Thanksgiving.
I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving for over fifty years. I have paused for the holiday during wars, recessions, natural disasters, good times, bad times. Like everyone, I have grieved for those I lost, and celebrated those newly arrived. I pause, of course, to spend time with the people I love, to stuff myself (and one memorable year, watch Mr. Simarprit Singh, good friend from India, experience both his first Thanksgiving and his first post-Thanksgiving food coma), to watch football, fall asleep on the couch, listen to drunk relatives (occasionally that’s me) talk nonsense (again) and do everything that goes along with one of the best holidays ever. Nobody doesn’t love Thanksgiving.
But, as I should, I also need to pause to remember all the blessings that have been showered down upon me, and to be grateful for them. I think this is important.
Above all, I am grateful for my daughters, who are a miracle I don’t deserve in any way, but have been blessed with. I am grateful for my family (especially my mother, who I’m on a plane racing to see as I write this), my friends, and the warm circle of people who care about me (another undeserved blessing) that surrounds me, lifts me up and reminds me of what’s actually important. I am grateful for my clients, who put their trust in me and my work. I am grateful for the resilience to absorb setbacks and get back up, for the perspective that comes with experience, and for the talent at putting words together that endlessly fascinates me, and has never let me down. And I am grateful for the opportunity to be aware of all these things, and to celebrate them. The mere fact of being human, alive, healthy and free is an unbelievable gift.
In the 1930s, the famous gossip columnist Walter Winchell used to address his daily radio program “from border to border and coast to coast and to all the ships at sea.” I like the idea of that.
Whoever you are, whatever you believe in and wherever you are, if you’re reading this, I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving – one of peace, plenty and a little time to reflect on everything you’re thankful for, too.
Even if you’re on a ship at sea.