Thanksgiving 2014

Thursday is Thanksgiving, a holiday which I’ve not reflected upon in the past besides it being a time for a big meal. This year is different.

A classmate of mine has been blogging daily for over a month about small things for which she is thankful. Perhaps that has influenced me to think about how I have been fortunate throughout these 63 years. Perhaps it is natural for folks of a certain age to reflect upon the past.

So for this Thanksgiving, I will share with you the things for which I am thankful.

I am thankful I was born and raised in the Philippines and not the United States. The experience of growing up in another culture is a central part of who I am. And I believe it has given me valuable perspectives that I otherwise would not have if I had grown up in the U.S. And it was a lot more fun growing up in the Philippines than growing up here could ever have been!

Related to that, I am thankful that almost 45 years after leaving Manila in 1970, I am in touch with almost all my friends from elementary and high school. And through regular reunions, I have more friends from that school than I ever did when I attended it. Of over 200 Face Book friends, about 85 percent are folks from Manila.

I am thankful that I’ve lived to be 63. This blog is named for a high school classmate who died from cancer in our senior year. I know other Manila friends who died young.

I almost died as an infant and then again when I was in about third grade. Since that second incident, I’ve been fortunate not to have had anything worse than chicken pox in my fifties.

I am thankful that my health so far is excellent. Especially since I am now at an age when good health is critical.

It’s easy to take good health for granted in your 20’s and 30’s. In your 40’s, you begin to appreciate good health more. That appreciation grows in your 50’s. And in your 60’s, you become especially grateful if you’ve never had major surgery and no chronic ailments.

Most of all, I am thankful I met Susie and that she’s been a central part of my life for 29 years. Just as I cannot imagine how my life might have been if I been born in the U.S., so too I cannot imagine how my life might have been if Susie had not been part of it. Because I always imagined having a series of fairly long term relationships, not just one relationship. But when my perception collided with reality, I had the good sense to adjust my perception.

I have had all these aspects of my life for many years. And while I may have subconsciously understood them all, this is the first year I have consciously recognized how fortunate I have been. Or maybe truly appreciated them.