Things we can be thankful for, even during the war on terror � in ascending order of importance:
Better spam filters. I get about nine hundred emails a day, and about ten per cent of them are worth reading. I have trained Outlook 2003 to detect that ten percent and trash the rest. It took time, but it�s worth it.
Palm phones. I used to carry a huge purse with a ton of crap in it. Now I carry one Kyocera 7135, a driver�s license, a credit card, and I�m good to go anywhere and work productively.
Quicken and TurboTax. My accountant used to charge me $1500 to fill out my income tax forms. That�s $1500 for each form: one personal, one business, one trust. Now I dump all my records from Quicken into TurboTax, which costs under $100 � Quicken itself is bundled with most computers � and it takes me about two hours. Was my accountant making $750 an hour?
The Internet. I once fainted in the stacks of the Columbia University Library while working on my Master�s Thesis. I�m a big fan of information � indeed, I�m an information junkie � but moving the people to the books was not convenient for the people (especially if they had just had their wisdom teeth pulled). Now we move the books to the people. Today, if I need to know something, I lay on my bed with my laptop, connected to my home wireless network, and look up everything from turkey recipes to flight schedules.
Yoga. Five years ago, some doctor told me I had a bad back and would need surgery. I was terrified of the down time, the complications, and the percentage of poor outcomes. I decided to try taking yoga. Today if you looked at my MRI, I�m sure it would be the same as it was five years ago (or worse). But I can stand on my head, bend my body in six directions, and balance on one leg with my arms stretched up to the sky. And I�m pain free.
Dogs. The world is a better place because dogs are in it. One of my dogs sleeps on my bed, and the other on the floor next to it. If I wake up in the night, a dog wakes with me, checking to see if I�m okay. During the day, the dogs sleep on the rug by my desk. If I get up to walk around, they follow me, waiting to see if they can amuse or entertain me.
When we go to the dog park, and I watch their personalities emerge alongside other dogs, they always make me laugh. If you are ever depressed and need a pick-me-up, go to a dog park and observe the dogs at play.
Family. Thirty-two years ago, I decided not to have an abortion. This was a woman�s right to choose. This was the best choice of my life. It introduced me to the power of children to make a difference. Since then, I have acquired two birth daughters, three foster kids, five step children, and nine step-grandchildren. Every one of them is beautiful, wonderful, and special. Because of their love, I am never lonely and always connected, even when the dogs are out at the groomer�s.
Good health. Although people confuse other things with good health as the primary driver of happiness in human life, I believe health trumps absolutely everything. Even love is not enough if your beloved dies of cancer, as mine did.
If you�ve got good health, don�t take it for granted. Be thankful for it and try to preserve it. People always ask me when I will be able to retire, and whether I have saved enough for retirement, and I tell them I have saved NOTHING for retirement. I never intend to retire. Because I enjoy the blessing of good health, I am able to work as long as I wish. So I spend every penny, a great deal of it on promoting my own good health.
Please feel free to make your own list, or to rearrange mine. My purpose in writing this was to take myself through the process of recognizing my blessings, and to urge you to take yourself through a similar process to recognize yours.
Namaste, and happy Thanksgiving!