While you should be thankful for what you have everyday of the year, I think that Thanksgiving provides a great opportunity for reflection and evaluation of where you are in life and how you got there. This year, these are the things I am thankful for and, more importantly, the reasons why:
1. My Health…specifically my health plan: Regardless of your political affiliation of reasons why or how to fix it, it is undeniable that many people can’t access or can’t afford quality health care. This year, I needed knee surgery in order to allow me to continue running and racing for the next few decades. It was important to me and took a lot of appointments, tests, and finally an out patient surgical procedure. After all was said and done, this surgery was done by a quality surgeon and cost me under $100. I am thankful to have an employer that provides me many health care options at extremely affordable prices so that when issues arise I can take care of them without fear. It is my hope that soon all Americans can say the same.
2. My Family…specifically Virginia: With our move up to Merced, CA to work at UCM this summer it is once again apparent that I am lucky to have a partner who is willing to take so many leaps of faith for our future. I imagine that if you would have asked her in her junior year of college if, in four years, she would be packing up and moving to California, she would have laughed in your face. In truth when I was job searching at the end of grad school California was the state she completely rejected. I am thankful that when the time comes to make life path decisions she is open and willing to keep taking these leaps of faith that take us to places and jobs we never expected. I am even more thankful that she never forgets to remind me to stop thinking 10 years down the road and to focus on the present and doesn’t get too upset when I only listen 10% of the time.
3. My Job…specifically doing what I love to do: Not everyone can say with confidence that, in this moment, they are doing exactly what that want to do at work. I am thankful that I have the privilege to come to work every day and do exactly what I want to be doing. I don’t wake up each day dreading what’s to come, I wake up with the opportunity to build a leadership program at a new campus and develop student leaders at every level. I also work for a department and a division that provides flexibility, autonomy, and encouragement for professional development. All three things I need to be happy and successful.
4. Financial Security: While it is true that working in education is not the highest paying gig, we can safely say that we are financially secure. This is extremely important to me since we want to buy a house, start a family, and travel to see our relatives all around the country. I am thankful that Virginia deals with my crazy financial schemes and budgets because, in the end, it helps us do all the things that make us happy. I am even more thankful for our parents and grandparents who have worked hard all their lives to help us establish ourselves and build a life that is happy and healthy. This is something I will not forget and is important for future generations of Lerers.
5. Food: Where we are in life, I am thankful that we can afford to eat every day. Millions of children and adults right here in the country can not say the same. On this Thanksgiving day of socially acceptable overeating this fact is even more apparent. It is the responsibility of those of us who have to give back to those who don’t. No one should have to go hungry today or any day and we can all do our part to help. You can start by donating as little as $5 to my Feeding America donation page. Not only will you feel good about yourself, you will benefit from a portion of my massive list of great restaurants across the country.
So that is my 2012 Thankful list. What are you thankful for? Comment below and tell me why.