Even in my worst times, I feel like I have so much to be thankful for. There are so many people in my life that are incredible. There is so much I have the opportunity to obtain and achieve. I feel privileged. Every night before I go to sleep I say a thanks for those people and those opportunities. For Thanksgiving, I try to think about things that I’m not consciously thankful for during the year.
The samurai took lessons away from observations of people, of animals, or plants, of the weather…anything. Since I started Urban Samurai, I started to observe more, finding lessons in everything. Helpful reminders on how to live. And for these lessons, I have to give thanks.
So here it is. This Thanksgiving I am thankful…
1. For sunrises to show me how every single day starts out glorious.
2. For cloudless days of beaming warm suns to show me that it is possible to carry ‘glorious’ around with you all day, every day.
3. For the joys of toddlers for teaching me that life can be as simple as having so much fun in a cardboard box.
4. For the anger of teenagers for teaching me that if it’s not good enough, status quo should never be tolerated.
5. For the unsettled feeling of 30 somethings that seem to be searching for a deeper meaning in life for teaching me that meaning isn’t like an answer to a riddle, but it rather lies in your experiences you choose and with the people you choose to do them with.
6. For the about-face of political views of the middle-aged for teaching me that when you accumulate things that you don’t want to lose, it is difficult to remain so liberal in your thinking.
7. For the bitterness and sadness of the elderly for teaching me to live a life with absolutely no regrets.
8. For history books for reminding me that my problems aren’t original.
9. For the newspaper for reminding me that people endure much worse.
10. For print-out, pin-up worthy motivational quotes that give a push to overcome whatever it is I have in front of me.
11. For masons who remind me that without the proper foundation, it doesn’t matter how beautiful a thing you build, it’s only a matter of time before it crumbles.
12. For electricians, plumbers, and framers who remind me that a lot of work goes into building something beautiful that goes unnoticed to the casual visitor.
13. For painters who remind me that sometimes you have to scrape all the way down to the wood to start to make something beautiful again.
14. For gardeners who remind me that while it takes a good deal of work to grow something beautiful…it takes constant effort to maintain something beautiful
15. For being a parent which reminds me I can never have too much patience.
16. For having friends to remind me to laugh about it.
17. For being a son which reminds me I can never have too much patience.
18. For having siblings to remind me to laugh about it.
19. For the understanding that my kids will feel and my parents do feel the same exact way.
20. For the hope that they can and do laugh about it.
21. For sweat for letting me know I’m working hard.
22. For blood for letting me know how far I’d go to get something.
23. For the threat of tears to remind me that when I work so hard and go that far, I better do everything in my power to achieve my goals.
24. For pigeons for teaching me that when you put wings and a beak on a rat, people will treat it a lot more humanely.
25. For geese for teaching me that we fly much farther, faster, and stronger in a flock than we do on our own.
26. For eagles gliding and hummingbirds flapping their wings 90 times per second for teaching me that some of us have to work that much harder at something to get the same results.
27. For seductive clothing on young girls for telling me that it’s gross to rush to being older.
28. For balding comb-overs and tight t-shirts on middle-aged men for telling me that it’s gross to hang on to youth for too long too.
29. For my middle finger to use when some jerk cuts me off on the road.
30. For the middle fingers of others that remind me that not everyone understands honest mistakes.
31. For root canals to remind me that if I don’t nip a problem in the bud early, it grows into something big and painful.
32. For airplanes to take me to the world’s far away and most incredible places…
33. And for home-cooked Sunday dinners that start at 2pm and the crowds they bring to make me pine to return to more than just the flavors of home.
34. For hard-line creationists, for reminding me that passion can be blinding to facts.
35. For hard-line evolutionists that remind me that facts can paralyze innovation, creativity, hope, and wonder.
36. For those who worked themselves to death at a young age to remind me to live life every second of every day.
37. For those run out of money way before their time expires to remind me that only an idiot lives every second for today without keeping their mind’s eye on the future.
38. For the celebration Christopher Columbus, who ‘discovered’ America, 2500 years after the Native Americans and 1000 years after the Vikings and Celtics to remind me that not everyone who gets the credit, actually deserves the credit.
39. For the celebration of Christopher Columbus for reminding me that not everything in writing should be taken as fact.
40. For old songs that get me to turn up the radio and sing as loudly as I can while bringing me back to specific moments or seasons or friendships that I don’t normally think about.
41. For new songs that get me to turn up the radio and sing as loud as I can, that will mark right now at some point in the future.
42. For the Samurai who strived for perfection and documented it so that I can walk down a similar path centuries and worlds away.
43. For love to teach me that when the most important thing in your life is going well, that nothing else seems to really matter.
44. For marriage to remind me that I can stand in front of everyone important to me and declare a sacred, unbreakable bond with someone.
45. For the threat of divorce to remind me that nothing is really as binding as you think and you constantly have to keep working to keep something sacred.
46. For the past for making all problems in hindsight seem so glaring and obvious.
47. For the present for challenging me with problems I couldn’t have anticipated and can barely handle.
48. For the future for giving me the reason to overcome anything that’s put in front of me.