Thanksgiving Day is the “official” day of gratitude. That notwithstanding, and in accord with my tendency to go against the grain, I will proclaim my gratitude again, today, on this last day of the year.
This year has been one of remarkable change. We were fortunate to be able to sell our house in Dallas and move to what has been, so far, a wooded wonderland. Whoever coined the term “The Natural State” to describe Arkansas was brilliant; I’ve never seen such natural beauty, so close to home, literally. While we miss some of the cosmopolitan aspects of big-city living, we relish the peace and quiet of living in a community in which quiet is a benchmark of success.
Unrelated to our move to Arkansas, but gratitude-worthy anyway, thanks to the deeply flawed but very valuable Affordable Care Act, I was able to get health insurance. That is something I could not have done without the provisions of the Act. That’s because the law now prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of medical histories that suggest the insurer might actually have to pay benefits one day.
I’m grateful that we were welcomed to the community, not only by our friends who lived here, but by neighbors who had no idea who they were welcoming when they knocked on the door and invited others to gather around to say hello.
And it just got better when my wife’s sister decided to move close to her sister, putting down roots just a couple of miles away at the end of October. We have family close-by, something we didn’t have in Dallas.
My wife has settled into a routine of cards with neighbor ladies one night a week. I have settled into a routine of attempting to learn pottery one morning a week and attempting to learn woodworking one morning a week. And I am able to continue my efforts to write something worth sharing, something worth reading. These things are cherries on top.
I’m glad I’m able to experience this place with people I love. I’m glad I’m changing, albeit more slowly than I’d like, into a more relaxed, less stressed guy. I continue to do battle with ideas and opinions; as more time passes, those battles increasingly take the form of written, rather than spoken, words. I’m grateful for that.
Despite all the good during this year for which I am profoundly grateful, it wasn’t all wine and roses. I did not say goodbye to the bad habits that contributed to weight gain, loss of stamina, and too-frequent general crankiness. Though this has been a spectacular year, I am ready to engage in some rehabilitation! I’ve put it off too long. In the new year, I’ll endeavor to become a little more svelte and a lot more pleasant to be around, in general. Ah, but those are preludes to New Year’s Resolutions; I may just make some this time around, but they’ll be a little more private, methinks.
I’ve made positive adjustments this year and have more of the same on the agenda for next.