hbCarlSagan2012

It is the season of the year in the USA and many parts of the world when we try to pay tribute to what we are thankful for. Most of us just go through the motions, give it a passing thought and try to meet expectations. This year I gave some considered thought to what it means to “Live Thankfully” not just in a season of the year when it is most prevalent, but in all the seasons of life. I wont use the words of any philosophers, clerics, historians, or great thinkers to frame my expression but try to state it in my own mind & heart. I think it means this:

To realize what you have been given,
A past to embrace as part of you,
A present to make changes,
A present to make advances,
A future that is yet to be written,
To imagine the opportunities you have.

If that sounds simplistic, I think that is because it is and should be so. To “Live Thankfully” means appreciating what life offers you – and it offers you something every day. It’s what you choose to do with that offering that makes a difference. Think about it! Life can seem like a long corridor that you are destined to walk, but it has many side doors to open. Some of them lead to good, some not so good, but learning to size up a room (literally & figuratively speaking) comes only by experiencing, experimenting, and taking heartfelt and thoughtful chances. Regret is just the wastebasket of life and a place to dispose of things that hold you back, but be careful what you throw away, and you might need it someday. Hold on to the past, but not too closely.

pooh-piglet

I consider myself successful & fortunate in life – good, stable, permanent employment I enjoy; a good home to live in; a nice car to get me around; two wonderful cats that I adore; a great sister that lives nearby; a daughter to see through her college years with some guidance to last a lifetime and  good health into what I consider the middle of my life. I can’t complain too much, and it wasn’t always like this, but I am Living Thankfully for it now. One thing extra I would hope for myself is a stable & loving relationship with a significant other to last me the rest of my life. I have written a great deal this year on my past, maybe too much on a failed relationship I tried to figure out. It wasn’t just that one last relationship, but it was symbolic of all my relationships and I just chose the most recent to focus on. I’ve been solo/single/alone, whatever you wish to call it, for a few years now. It’s time for me to explore new possibilities.

relationships_desert

I had three serious relationships with women over 20 years, encompassing most of that time, and for the last few years found myself wishing to be by myself. My last relationship, the one I spent so much time on trying to learn something about myself, was sort of a turning point for me. The woman I spent that time with was a rather hard person to get along with and her aggressive methods created an adversarial situation. I suppose I became adversarial in response too, and that’s a hard habit to break. Avoid becoming a malcontent in life – it’s a trap. The trouble with a malcontent is that they are never satisfied and think every problem is somebody else’s fault, instead of realizing they themselves may be part of the source of the unrest. That may be the greatest lesson I learned from it all. Pardon my indulgence here, and I wanted to explore the topic one last time to say all I wanted to say  before I leave my past relationships fully behind me. Next year I want to devote myself to ways of improvement in the present with an eye towards the future, and hope to reflect that in my blog writings. My last two long term relationships hurt me deeply the way these women walked out of my life. I want to give you (the reader) a sense of what that feels like. I show the last scene from the 1949 film “The Third Man”:

I was given three substantial relationships in my life and, and though I have some grievances, I can put them aside and say I am grateful for what I shared with these women in my life. No regrets now in going forward, and those are in the wastebasket. I can appreciate each of them for some very special moments in my life that I keep close to my heart always. It’s what I do with those moments now that matters to me and I choose to keep them close in fond remembrance, but not so close it prevents me from moving forward. To me, this is Living Thankfully too. I still have changes and advances ahead for sure (doesn’t everyone who is not perfect or is a certified malcontent?) and these will come about in time. We are never perfect, but must believe in the perfectibility of ourselves. A lesson in life going forward, at least in what I have learned, and it applies to everyone. This means not to stay where you are tolerated, but to go where you are celebrated! As far as you can, live at peace with everyone. You are not responsible for other peoples happiness, but only responsible for your own. Don’t waste time trying to get people to like you. Be yourself, and all that you can offer in effort, and the rest of your wishes will come true in time. I guarantee that because if you are true to yourself, the rest unfolds naturally as it should without pretense, lies or artifice. In future ways (yet to be written) imagination will be the only boundary to future ways. It’s already here and today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. So, what are you waiting for, become yourself and Live Thankfully for all your yesterdays, today and the many tomorrows to come!

hohoho

….. Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for the New Year …..

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