Updated: Nov 24, 2021
Many of us have gone through some difficult times this past year. I myself lost my father earlier in the year, which was a difficult time for our family. But no matter what our circumstances, all of us can think of things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season. When I was thinking about my list this year, I decided to think more unconventionally.
When most of us are asked to express what we are thankful for, we often list traditional answers like our home, family, job and health. While these things are important, I think that failing to go beyond the obvious answers often robs us of some precious and miraculously good things that happened to us during the year that may never happen again. So, this year, I chose to recall and be grateful for the unique things that happened to me in 2021.
Mine are pretty personal and may help you come up with your own unique list of things that happened to you this year for which you are grateful. So here goes…
I am grateful that:
My Dad waited for me - My Dad passed away just 4 hours after I arrived at his bedside after traveling from Arizona to New Jersey to see him. I am grateful that he hung on until I arrived and that he wanted to see me and say goodbye just as much as I did.
I received several surprise condolences – I was blown away that several people who I thought didn’t like me very much, reached out to express their condolences for the passing of my Dad.
I’m still standing – I am grateful to God for giving me the strength to remain motivated to exercise and stay in reasonably good shape despite many life stressors this year that would usually have driven me to emotionally eat and gain a bunch of weight.
I retired early – I was grateful to be able to retire early from a rewarding 35+ year career to pursue my passion of starting a non-profit charitable organization to help improve the lives of others. It has brought me immense joy and happiness!
I made an impact – I am grateful for the many beautiful retirement tributes, gifts and expressions of love that I received from people I have worked with throughout my career. I was grateful to hear about the positive impact I made on their lives, rather than just my relatives getting to hear them after I am dead.
I saw a rare magical rainbow - I saw the biggest and best double rainbow I have ever seen in my life hanging over a mountain in Grand Junction, CO. I love rainbows! They remind me of God’s promises to bless me and help me to be a blessing to others. Seeing this one during my retirement trip also served as a confirmation for me that I had made the right decision to retire early.
My broken tooth got fixed – I was beyond thankful that a Dentist in Grand Junction, CO squeezed me into his busy schedule with no appointment, while I was one week into a 5-week retirement road trip, to extract and rebuild a broken tooth. Otherwise, it would have been a miserable trip or I would have had to prematurely return home.
I saw some truly awe-inspiring views – I am grateful to have had the opportunity this year to travel, hike and enjoy the amazing scenery in 15+ National and State parks in 10 different states. We live in a beautiful country!
I reconnected with old colleagues and friends - I am thankful to have reconnected with many former colleagues who I have worked with throughout my career who still remembered me and who expressed that I had a lasting positive impact on their lives. I also met up with several friends I had not seen in more than 20 years. It was as if time had stood still!
I’m still learning – My new pursuits require learning new skills. I am grateful that I have the desire and ability to continue to grow and develop new skills in the manner of a life-long learner.
I can say “No” with no regrets – This year I was grateful that I found the strength and resolve to say no to some “good” opportunities, and to instead reach for and pursue something greater and better that challenged me and took me outside of my comfort zone.
I am able to share from the heart - As a relatively introverted and private person, I am grateful that I am able to share my heart with all of you with the hopes of inspiring you to dig deeper when itemizing your list of what you are grateful for this Thanksgiving season.
Wishing you, and all of our GSS Agents, a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
Dr. Vivien Lattibeaudiere