I am grateful for these things every day. Not in the abstract, non-acknowledging way, but in a visceral, amazed sort of way. Every day, I look at my life and realize how lucky I am.
I am grateful for my husband. John is the most amazing person I know. He’s intelligent, thoughtful, loving, generous, and kind. More than that, he has a quirky, slightly morbid sense of humor, he’s light-hearted, he’s socially conscious, and he’s ethical and moral. Best of all, many of our interests overlap and/or align, and wonder of wonders, our ethics and morals align. When we met and married, it was in a highly religious, conservative environment — but somehow, over the years, we traveled separate paths to the same ethics and value-based conclusions.
I am grateful for my son. Kidling is curious, bright, and clever. He’s loving and affectionate and feels things deeply. He shares my love of books and will frequently borrow my books and discuss the plots with me. He’s generally obedient, well-mannered, and well-behaved. He also has an impressively large vocabulary that often makes me laugh out loud in surprise.
I am grateful I have friends who both share my values and challenge my beliefs. I have been lucky enough to bond with people who share and support my spiritual, social, and political values. I have also been lucky enough to bond with people who do not agree with my attitudes in one or more of these spheres, but value our friendship enough to agree to disagree. We treat each other (generally) with respect and affection, and I feel incredibly grateful to have such open-minded, wonderful people in my life.
I am grateful I have a job. I enjoy my co-workers, I find my work challenging and interesting, and I love feeling I am contributing to our household. I feel more content, useful, and happy.
I am grateful that my husband has a job. He has supported our family for nearly a decade on a single income. He works at a company that values their employees, and as a result he is in a well-paying, physically challenging position with great benefits. I am so grateful for his dedication to his family and his strong work ethic.
I am grateful I live in a modern era, where women have rights and I can see sexism, racism and homophobia swiftly fading in our culture. When I study the life of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and imagine how it would be to live in a time when women had no rights, I feel profoundly grateful that today’s feminists fight for improved rights, not basic rights. As a female in our time and culture, I can vote, work, keep my wages, marry/divorce who I choose, and determine not just how many (or if!) children I have, but how I want to raise them.
I am grateful for my siblings and the generosity and respect they show me and mine, even when we disagree. I am so grateful to have a family that I know, without a shadow of a doubt, will always support me and love me. Even when they disagree with me, they respect my right to live my life as I see fit. Maybe sometimes they don’t talk to me for a bit, but I have never encountered active interference or prolonged judgment from my family, and for that I am profoundly grateful.
I am grateful for healthy food that is readily accessible and fresh. I think it’s a beautiful thing that we have access to all sorts of foods from all over the world, and I am so amazed by the plentiful bounty that is only a short walk away. I think about my ancestors, for whom the obtaining, storing, and preparation of food was a daily stress, and I am so grateful for the advances in technology that have made all our lives easier. I find it wonderful and amusing and brilliant that where once, every family had to own farm animals, now chickens, rabbits, goats, and even cows and horses have crossed into the realm of useful companions for many people. Much like gardening, sewing and quilting — activities once considered daily drudgery necessary to life are now practiced as amusements. I find this amazing and wonderful.
I am grateful for indoor plumbing, indoor heating, and garbage service. It is still amazing to me that these basic tenets of everyday life were still uncommon just one century ago. Only a hundred years — a blink of an eye, historically, and yet . . . here we are. This is incredible, and a daily stunning realization.
I am grateful for free public schooling and a minimum social standard of education. It may not be the ideal , but it’s a good starting place and better than nothing. Isn’t it beautiful that we have all the knowledge we desire to seek at our fingertips? Isn’t it wonderful that schools, whether intentionally or not, provide the questions for which we can independently seek answers? I think it’s so brilliant that the majority of the population can read — that being literate is considered such a basic right, we as a society now react to illiteracy as ones of the proofs of neglect.
I am grateful for brave men and women who have fought and died and still fight and die so we can enjoy these wonderful things. Not just brave soldiers, marines, and sailors — but those brave women who protested for our freedom and forwarded feminist, civil, and homosexual rights. I am grateful for the unsung heroes, those millions of people who lived and preached and died for social rights and equality, and whether or not they were known on a large scale, they opened minds on a small scale.
I am grateful for books, literature, poetry, art, music and film. They are the sum and history of human endeavor. Our spirit, our dreams, our hopes, our fears — all collected and widely distributed so that all can wonder at beautiful, dark, wondrous and meandering path of humankind.
I am grateful for science and technology and the wonderful bounties it bestows on us. Even though internet and personal computers entered my household in 1990’s, after I had lived a perfectly happy decade without them, I can’t comprehend my world without computers now. I love the connectivity, the access to information, the brilliance and beauty and chaos of knowledge and entertainment all co-mingled and tossed together. I love the seething dark mass of intelligence juxtaposed with idiocy. And that’s just on a personal level — on a scientific and wider social level, I am amazed at the advancements, the grassroots campaigns, and the discoveries that are perpetuated and disseminated via computers.
I am grateful to our collective ancestors for fighting and striving and dreaming and inventing so that collectively, we would have a better life than them. And I am grateful for the brave visionaries who continue to fight, strive, dream, and invent so that our children and our children’s children will have an even brighter future.