Thanksgiving is perhaps my favourite American holiday. The practice of stopping and giving thanks for what we have in our lives is important, and something we do too infrequently. The in-practice more universal Thanksgiving practice of eating as much as possible in the company of family and friends is also a highly-attractive element. This is my third thanksgiving in America and despite my lack of family here I’ve never been without an invitation to share the occasion with others. It was through just such an invitation that we met many of those who would become close friends in Washington DC. This friendship and generosity that has been repeatedly extended to us is something I am deeply grateful for.
There’s so much I’m grateful for this thanksgiving, perhaps because my life has been more difficult than usual these past couple of months, throwing into sharp relief things I sometimes take far too for granted. A little adversity sometimes helps us see things more clearly. Having things removed makes us aware of how much we really value them.
I’ve never really minded the sensation of missing people for this reason. I like having people to miss. Missing is a complex emotion but in part this longing for another is a sweet thing, for it indicates the presence on this planet of another worth longing for. This obviously has its limits, but as I miss my family and friends in Australia, another cluster of dear friends in DC and others scattered across the globe I tell myself of how fortunate I am to have these relationships, to have met this extraordinary community I have around the world.
I am grateful both for these friendships which mean so much to me and for the opportunities I have had to travel, to explore, to meet so many new people. I am grateful to have ended up here in San Francisco for a time, to be meeting the incredible people I’m finding here. None of these relationships replace those that came before as it becomes easier than ever to maintain relationships at distance, to find those you miss and spend new time together.
These last couple of months have been kinda rough for me. I am so grateful for those who have reached out and let me know you are thinking of me. It means so much. And I'm grateful for all those who have made introductions and helped me find new people and opportunities in a new city.
Ultimately any exploration of gratitude must come back to those who matter most: my parents, sister and wife. Within the magical web of connections that is this big little world they orient my life. They are the reason I am here in San Francisco trying to live my dreams. The reason I dream at all. In ways both practical and profound they have helped me believe in my own power to create the future, because I know they will always be there to support me, that it’s okay if I fall because they will help me get up and get going again. Thank you guys, so much, for everything.
My gratitude for all that I have is informed by my knowledge that so many have so little, that countless children grow up without either the opportunities or the support structures to live their dreams. That’s why this Thanksgiving I’m supporting Epic Thanks, a “global celebration of gratitude and giving that honors inspirational changemakers who create hope in our world.” Find out more at www.EpicThanks.org.
What are you grateful for?