Reflections at Thanksgiving 2011: in the second half of my life, it’s time to appreciate all that I have and be more forthcoming in my gratitude to others.
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
It’s very early in the morning on Thanksgiving Day and I wanted to reprise my short list of what I am thankful for; it’s been the same for the last few years:
It’s been a difficult year for health, but only because I have finally had to sit down to my “banquet of consequences.” As I tell people when they ask me how I am doing: “I remain above ground and moving around, and intend to continue to do so for another three or four decades.”
My younger brother turned fifty last month and posted this short note to friends and family:
“Thanks for all the birthday wishes. I’d like to respond to everybody but it’s now officially past my bedtime. I hope to be an ever gushing fount of wisdom now that I’ve dedicated myself to the pursuit of excellence for a half century. I’ll leave with this thought – the first chunk of adulthood was an adventure because I had no idea what was coming, but sadly I know what’s coming for the second chunk.”
It reminded me in a strange way of Achaan Chaa’s answer to Mark Epstein’s question “what do you mean by ‘eradicating craving’?”
“You see this goblet?
For me, this glass is already broken.
I enjoy it; I drink out of it. It holds my water admirably, sometimes even reflecting the sun in beautiful patterns. If I should tap it, it has a lovely ring to it.
But when I put this glass on a shelf and the wind knocks it over or my elbow brushes it off the table and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’
But when I understand that the glass is already broken, every moment with it is precious.”
Mark Epstein’s Thoughts Without a Thinker (pages 80-81)
Which is the way that that this year has left me feeling, that the second half of my life has started and it’s time to appreciate all that I have and be more forthcoming in my gratitude to everyone who has touched my life so far.
Your mileage may vary but that’s my plan.