Life

Thanksgiving 2020: 51 Things I’m Thankful For

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Many of us take the time on a day like Thanksgiving to count our blessings and things we’re thankful for. That should be true even in 2020.

How often do you sit down and make a list of the things you’re thankful for. If you’re like me, you don’t do it nearly often enough.

Since today is Thanksgiving…and since I just turned 51…I thought I’d combine the two and make a list of 51 things I’m thankful for in 2020.

I used this list as a starting point. If you really make time, I hope you’ll find at least this many. Here goes:

  1. My parents: I’m fortunate that both are still around and doing well. I have a good relationship with them.
  2. My dog: OK, I guess all animal lovers list their pets. But this Collie is the best dog I’ve ever owned. He’s so in tune with me and such a sweet dog.
  3. Chosen Family: I have a handful of very close friends for whom the word friend doesn’t seem to do it justice. They’re the family we choose to have in our lives.
  4. Home: Having a place to call home takes on new meaning this year since I bought my own. It felt funny to leave the apartment I’d spend my last 14 years in. But it feels even better to be in a place I can truly call my home.
  5. A Career: I’ve been very fortunate to know from an early age what I wanted to do and to have managed to have a career in that field for nearly 30 years. (And hopefully longer than that.)
  6. Fall Colors: One of the things on my bucket list is to visit a place like Vermont and see the fall colors in person. Fortunately, we have photos like the one above to enjoy year-round.
  7. Intelligence: I appreciate smart people. I also appreciate the use of common sense, which, as the saying goes, is not nearly as common as it should be. If more of us took the time to think for ourselves, I do believe we’d be better off.
  8. Health: In the age of COVID-19, health is especially something worth being thankful for.
  9. The Internet: For all that people want to blame the internet for, let’s be honest. It has helped bring us information. It makes it easier to stay connected and stay informed. But with that, it does require the responsibility to choose your sources of information.
  10. Language: Since I work in the TV industry, communication is obviously important to me. I value language, particularly language used well.
  11. Vision: You can read this one two ways. I actually meant I’m thankful for the gift of sight, although the gift of having a vision for the future or your plans is also something to be happy to possess.
  12. Loyalty: It’s a trait I value the most in people I’m close to. I’m grateful for those who display it.
  13. Money: Well, money does make the world go ’round, as they say. We’d all like to have more of it, no matter how much we have. I’m glad we have the social invention of money and I’m glad whenever I bring in an extra dollar or two.
  14. First Responders:
  15. Touch: I’ve always been the “touchy-feely” type…although not against someone’s will, of course. Physical touch, after all, is one of my love languages, if you believe in that sort of thing.
  16. Coffee: I don’t drink coffee for the caffeine. It has no real effect on me. So I can therefore enjoy coffee just for the taste!
  17. Cameras: How amazing is it that we can record moments, sights and sounds around us? Cameras give us the chance to see what others experience as well as record what we’ve experienced
  18. Water: We couldn’t survive without it. But I’m grateful to have clean water to drink. Many — too many — of those with whom we share the planet can’t say that.
  19. Passion: I’m not talking about the “significant other” kind. I’m talking about the dedication and commitment that comes with finding a dream and working hard to make it a reality.
  20. Rest: Like silence, we all need periods of rest. It helps our brains reset and it carries other health benefits. In the crazy world we live in, though, it’s something we seem to see less of.
  21. Light: What would we do without light, whether from Mother Nature or Dominion Energy?
  22. Color: Alongside light, since it is made up color, we have to be grateful for the millions of colors out there. It would be a drab world without them.
  23. Television: As a kid who grew up watching a lot of television, I appreciate how much it brings generations together. They say they don’t make shows like they used to. I can’t argue that. But I’d have to say that was true decades ago as well.
  24. Time: You may not consider time to be a good thing. But it’s our constant companion on this journey. And used properly, it can help us make better decisions and plan ahead.
  25. Imagination: Whether you consider yourself a creative type or not, our imagination can help us get through tough times by giving us a glimpse of a brighter future. But if you’re not careful, on a dark and stormy night, it can also run a bit wild. That’s part of the challenge of life, I suppose.
  26. Faith: Regardless of whether you consider yourself religious, you exercise faith. It helps us get through rough times but it also helps us function. If there weren’t something to hope for — whether
  27. A Car: Think of everything we can do because we have automobiles. Then think of all the things we couldn’t do without them. I think that’ll help you see their value.
  28. Computers: Computers make life easier whether the internet is directly involved or not. I’m glad we have them. And that’s even if it’s a bit scary to imagine what computers will be doing for us — or instead of us — in the future.
  29. Steak: As they say, “Beef. It’s what’s for dinner.” I love a good ribeye with a glass of wine, alone or with a close friend.
  30. The Ocean: As ocean visitors go, I’m an oddball. I avoid beaches when they’re crowded. I prefer them when there’s no one around and you can just enjoy the roar of the ocean. It makes me humble, reminding me of how much a part of something vastly bigger all of us are.
  31. Memories: Our memories make up the foundation of who we are. I’m thankful for even the less pleasant ones because they’ve still had an impact in making me me.
  32. Smiles: There’s nothing quite like the gesture, even from a perfect stranger.
  33. Art: I agree that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. My idea of art won’t necessarily match yours and vice versa. But I’m grateful for art, the artists and the ability to express ourselves artistically.
  34. Dedication: Dedication means being able to commit and strive for something. Some of us may dedicate ourselves to less-than-ideal pursuits. But I consider being able to persevere to be a valuable trait.
  35. Film: Film can transport us to different places and different times. Like art, it can connect us on a deeply personal level, whether we’re looking at moments in the past or visions of the future.
  36. Laughter: I think the sound of people laughing is a wonderful sound. Being able to express happiness and joy — and hearing others do the same — is so important to our general wellbeing.
  37. Massage: Years ago, a friend working as a massage therapist convinced me to give it a try. I left the massage feeling about a half-foot taller. Especially in times of isolation, a massage can be very relaxing.
  38. Music: I’m not one to pick a single favorite artist. But if I had to name one, it’d probably be Billy Joel. In any case, I like a wide variety of music, from pop to classical to jazz. The only music I don’t care for is rap and country, but that’s mostly because of all of the posturing behind those genres. In many cases, however, I’m more interested in the melody than the lyrics. Even TV theme songs interest me.
  39. Milk: When I was a kid, I drank a lot of milk. I still do. I think that’s probably why I’ve never had a broken bone (so far). I’d wager it’s also why my dental phobia kept me from visiting a dentist for 14 years and when I did, I still had no cavities!
  40. Telephones: My brand of choice happens to be the iPhone. But I value being able to pick up a device — or even an old-school handset — and hear a voice at the other end.
  41. Journalism: I’m thankful for journalism and the journalists who commit it well. Unfortunately, we live in an age where a president conditioned his supporters to believe anything he disagrees with or doesn’t like must be “fake.” I’m hoping that one day more people will wise up and think smarter.
  42. Food: I like food of all kinds, although a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis limited certain types of food drastically. But there’s nothing like being able to break bread with a loved one and share experiences and laughter together.
  43. Animals: I’ve already tipped my hat to my dog. But the animal kingdom as a whole, which, of course, includes humans, is also something I’m thankful for. I love to see the variety of life, and though I’ve never been able to warm up to some animals, like snakes, there are others, like tigers and peacocks, that bring us so much beauty.
  44. Silence: Years ago, I worked with an amazing voice artist named Nick Michaels. One of his mantras went like this: “In an overcommunicated world, a whisper becomes a scream.” He meant that when you’re being yelled at by one advertiser after another, going silent stands out. It gets people’s attention. Therefore, I learned to write scripts that weren’t so “in your face.” But it also helped me appreciate silence in general. We all need periods of silence, times when we can just slow down and listen to what’s in our own heads, not what is being screamed in our direction.
  45. Logic: Critical thinking is an important gift that isn’t used nearly as often as it should be these days. I hate to sound like Mr. Spock, but logic is an important tool we should all strive to keep in our mental toolbox.
  46. My Blog: Yes, this blog is something I’d say I’m thankful for. More than that, I’m thankful for the many readers over the years who’ve visited from time to time.
  47. Freedom: Years ago, I visited a family in the Toronto area. I enjoyed the time with them and enjoyed seeing Canada. But I was aware during the visit that I was out of my country. It was an odd feeling, and made me appreciate the freedom and liberty we take for granted in the U.S.
  48. Diet Coke: It’s my drink of choice.
  49. Egg Nog: This is the time of year everyone goes bananas about all things pumpkin spice. For me, egg nog is my favorite seasonal flavor. I may try to go find myself an egg nog latte today!
  50. Grief: It may sound odd that someone would be thankful for grief. But it helps us unburden ourselves of troubles and despair. It also helps us move past hardships. Sometimes, it serves as a catharsis we so badly need.
  51. God – No, you shouldn’t read anything into God falling in the final slot on this list. Actually, my faith tells me that none of the prior 50 would exist without God, so I felt it only appropriate to list Him last.

That’s my list of things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving. I hope you could come up with one for each year of your life, too! And here’s to a happier, better 2021!

Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.