What surprises me most about the lingering effects of our once-in-most-of-our-lifetimes economic downturn is, not only does our national entitlement mentality appear to remain intact, but it actually seems to be getting worse. Considering it was already pretty high to begin with, this is something I thought utterly implausible.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just a reactionary form of fear.
But I can still recall my grandmother’s stories of what it was like to raise a family during the Great Depression. Though she recounted those tales in the late '60s, she still saved every piece of string, made Easter egg dye out of onion skins, and believed in only the most rock-solid of investments.
Having experienced something like that, her generation shared a sense of gratitude for simply having survived it. They enjoyed life more than we do, because they focused on what they had instead of what they thought was missing.
So in that vein, and even though it may be hackneyed, overdone and platitudinous (which would be a good name for a law firm), as we approach my favorite holiday, I thought I’d make a personal effort to stem that entitlement mentality tide by sharing those things that truly make me want to give thanks.
First and foremost, I’m grateful my family hasn’t had to face the difficult financial fate of so many others. My business has survived, my wife is generally employed, and paying the mortgage hasn’t been a problem. Best of all, there’s always food on the table.
And speaking of family, I remain utterly astonished that I actually managed to find the one woman on the planet willing to put up with someone like me for 20 long years. If you think this is some kind of columnist persona, just ask my wife. She’ll set you straight real quick.
Add two sons who do well in school, avoid the major pitfalls involved in growing up in the 2000’s and are a lot of fun to have around, and life is pretty good.
Why, I’m even grateful for that neurotic Australian Cattle Dog we rescued who, after running seven miles, still wants to play Frisbee with me.
We’re healthy! There’s always minor issues, like I wouldn’t mind having more hair, but we’ve experienced nothing remotely close to the kind of chronic illness that can bring a family to its fiscal knees. I’m especially grateful that, at 53, I can still haul this aging carcass to the indoor Persinger Center track and show the local youngsters exactly what a 6:30 mile really looks like.
And then I’m even more grateful for that really nice whirlpool bathtub when I get home!
I’m thankful we live in a city that’s solvent, that has decent schools, where crime isn’t a major problem and the citizens generally look out for one another. Running water is an incredible luxury, isn’t it!
Geneva may not be perfect, but if it were, what the heck would I write about?
I’m thrilled that, after 10 long years, every last one of our troops will be coming home from Iraq this year. As for those brave soldiers who gave their lives for a cause they truly believed in, I’m humbled by their sacrifice.
My father once told me that if you can count the number of good friends on more than two fingers, you should consider yourself lucky. Since it really does take a village to keep someone like me in line (just ask Rick Nagel), I’m eternally grateful for the surprising number of friends who’ve stuck with me through thick and thin. You do make the journey much more interesting.
But as I sit at my home-office keyboard, I’m struck by the fact that I’ve been granted the too-rare privilege of doing something I really love to do. I’m grateful for the variety of editors who were willing to give me a shot and then take all that heat from readers, and especially me.
And last but not least, I certainly appreciate my readers, who by your mere presence, make this all possible. Whether you agree with me or not, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to get to hear your thoughts. Let’s keep the conversation going!
Life doesn’t get much better that that.