In honour of Thanksgiving, sofagirl and I decided to each come up with five things for which we are thankful. We resolved to exclude the essential ‘can’t-live-without’ givens: our fabulous families and friends, our health, our personal safety and the knowledge that we always have food on our tables. Those things, these people, that love – we salute them and deeply appreciate that they enrich and shape our lives. Every day.
For this, we wanted to look beyond the immediate. To examine the year(s) gone by, to evaluate how our lives have changed – and to see what had become essential in our brave new worlds. Here they are:
- At the risk of sounding like that old lady who is going to end up living in unsanitary conditions surrounded by 20 strays, I have to be thankful for my dogs, Otello and Portia. Ottie, in particular, has reached the ripe old age of 10, which is right about the time when boxers bid goodbye to their earthly pursuits. Despite the rattlesnakes bites, emergency stomach surgeries and countless stitches, nicks and scratches he has sustained in the course of his adventurous and fearless life, he is still remarkably active and healthy. Every day we get to spend together is a welcome gift: like any old couple, we understand each other, we bicker, make up and anticipate each other’s needs and I couldn’t imagine a life without him.
- My Mac. Every morning, it opens up a window into the world right from my desk. The way it’s designed has made me want to explore both the net and technology in a way that the old Microsoft I started with, never pushed me to. Mac’s cousin, the iPad, answers all the random questions that crowd my brain at any given time.
- All the books read, unread and still to be written that have found me and will keep on finding me. For changing the way I look at the world, for challenging me, shaping my opinions, pulling me up and pushing me forward. One sentence at a time.
- For getting better at accepting change and for embracing the task of slowing down in order to unveil what is next.
- For the gift of friendships – those of a lifetime growing old with me, those who took different paths and those who lasted just an instant, over which I bonded with complete strangers who extended a helping hand. For better or worse, you all made me who I am.
- I cherish my freedom. Millions of women in this world live in situations of disempowerment – political, economic, gender-based, marital, religious or patriarchal. I don’t. I am able to do, say, think, believe and feel what I want to. I can travel where I choose, wear what I prefer and make all of my own decisions. This is a gift beyond measure, and I will always fight to keep it.
- Economic security: I have enough each month to take care of my most important and immediate needs and some frivolous ones beside. I have a little stashed away for the rainy days. I don’t owe, nor am I owned.
- I live a simple life. Everything I have seen, done and learned, everywhere I have been, every right and wrong experienced: has brought me to where I am today. I know that I would not be who I am without all of it. Nothing has been wasted.
- Technology allows me to telescope out into the world and delve into all of its interests and intrigues. And to stay in touch with friends far and wide: without leaving my room. I had no hand in creating any of it. Yet it’s all here at my fingertips.
- And lastly: Jack – my four legged friend. Most splendid fellow. Who takes me out of that room and into the world. Who is thrilled to see me every time I round a corner. Right back at you pal.
To our American friends – Happy Thanksgiving. To everyone else – Happy Giving Thanks. It’s all the same idea really.