Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A time to give thanks...

For the past few days, I've been stuck at home - downed by an ear infection, of all things! Loaded up with antibiotics, woozy, miserable, laying on the couch all day with no small measure of self-pity - watching endless soaps instead of working on Manasi's birthday party - aargh, I so hate being sick!! Anyway, a good way to shake off a drug-induced depression is always easy - think of everything I have to be grateful for!

Last weekend was Thanksgiving weekend - that most American of holidays!! It's the start of the holiday season, the end of fall - a last weekend before winter finally settles in. When we lived in Peoria, Thanksgiving weekend actually didn't mean too much more than a well-deserved long weekend - but even though the origins of the holiday are really uniquely American, the fundamental idea of setting aside a day just to give thanks deserves more than a passing thought!

This world we live in today - this increasingly material world - where more is always less, this fast-paced world with its eternal, never-ending race - this world makes us all forget that there is more to life than money and possessions. In the quest for happiness, the real meaning of happiness has been eclipsed - real contentment has been lost. I know, too philosophical, right? Blame the meds and an enforced campout on the couch - but counting my blessings seems like a really good idea! So here goes...

A tie for the first place on my list - no prizes for guessing this one - the 2 most important people in my life, Ajey and Manasi. Manasi, the light of my life! There have been times in the past few years when I have hoped for a second child, and been disappointed that things didn't really work out. But then I look at Manasi - and I thank heaven, I couldn't have wished for a more perfect daughter! Manasi has completed us, made us a family - and she is the biggest blessing in my life today.

And Ajey, not only am I thankful for him, but I also want to say thanks to him. In providing for his family, in giving us the best possible way of life, for always being my rock - his hard work, his sacrifices almost always go unnoticed. He's the love of my life, and also my best friend. He can push all my buttons, and yet he's the only one who can bring a smile to my face just like that! So serious when it comes to work, and then again, as playful as a 10 year old! Ok, I'm getting downright maudlin now - so getting to the point - Ajey, Manasi - my cup runneth over!!

On the subject of family, much gratitude there too!! Both sets of grand-parents to spoil Manasi, 2 nephews for me to spoil!! Good health and well-being all around! My parents - my biggest cheerleaders, my sister, S - my sounding board for all things, good and bad and her husband, S - for making her so happy. My in-laws - for all the support over the years, and V & A - for all the good times in Peoria! Parents and siblings - for both Ajey and I - well settled and comfortable in their respective lives! Our extended families - aunts, uncles, cousins, my grand-parents - each person, whether near or far, I am thankful for all of them. And how can I forget my darlings - Snowy and Sunny! Truly, there is no greater blessing than family!

Hand in hand with family goes our large assembly of friends! Our expat friends here in Suzhou, who share our perspectives, our outlook on life - and oh yes, all the parties!! Our dearest friends, who are not physically close to us - but are never further away than a thought! And yes, the FB friends, who with all their likes and comments share our lives, our happiness and sorrow - friends who are always there! Thank you all, all you lovely people - thanks for being a friend!

Nothing like a bout of sickness to be grateful for good health! So firmly on my list, relatively good health. Yes, my nose has given me a truckload of trouble, but I'm grateful that it's still quite a minor thing compared to all the things in the world that can go wrong. And I'm grateful that I have access to good doctors and medication to keep me in my state of relatively good health!!

A big part of our lives for the last 15 years - Caterpillar, Inc. Seems weird to give thanks to a corporation, but I owe so many things to Cat - my first job, to begin with! It has been through Cat that we have been on this extraordinary journey through 4 countries - thanks to Cat that we have been able to travel to so many far-flung places. This unique lifestyle we have today, this unprecedented exposure to various cultures and people - thank you, Caterpillar for all the opportunities!!

And as much as I deride material possessions - there's no hiding the fact that I'm as materialistic as the next person, and I do enjoy my creature comforts! So goes without saying - I'm grateful for my warm house in the winter, thankful for all the comforts of home, for the closet full of clothes, for my books and gadgets - well, to a certain extent, money does buy happiness!! To take it one step further though, I'm also grateful that I am content with my lot in life - kind of makes it easy when it literally is a lot! - grateful that I've never had reason to envy anyone or anything, grateful that I can find peace within myself - and that is something that money cannot buy!!

Thankful doesn't even begin to describe what I'm feeling - seems incredible that all this happiness is mine, mine alone! Very humbling, actually! Seems impossible to have even a single gray day with all this sunshine! And I hope that I don't wait until next Thanksgiving, but be grateful with every single breath! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and I hope that you have plenty to be thankful for as well!

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