Today is Thanksgiving in Canada.
During my school years, that meant a day off school; a long weekend. As I entered the workforce, nothing changed. As I went into a full time career as a musician, Thanksgiving Day varied from Province to Province, from establishment to establishment. Sometimes we’d have the day off, sometimes not.
If it was a day off, it was spent walking around whatever town or city we would be performing in for the week. Sometimes I would be accompanied by a fellow band member or, if it was a place where we performed frequently, I would call a lady friend to accompany me and go to dinner or a movie after an afternoon of walking or hanging out. If I knew no one in that location, I’d find a museum or art gallery and get a taste of the local culture.
Thanksgiving Day in recent years has become the day I put the lawn furniture and decorations away for winter. Sometimes, if I get my yard work done early, I may take a hike or drive in the country and enjoy the colourful leaves.
Today, I read a piece in the Reader’s Digest about a young man who said his childhood was “lucky.” He qualified that by saying he and his sister had grown up in Canada while his parents were immigrants who grew up without the benefits of the things we take for granted in this country. This young man began a blog a few years ago; a thousand things that are awesome... one posted daily for a thousand days.
While I cannot even begin to aspire to that, I would like to take the opportunity on this Thanksgiving Day to mention a few things for which I am thankful.
First, like the young man in the Reader’s digest article, I am thankful to be a Canadian. As such, I live in a country that is loved and respected worldwide, despite our close geographical and political association with a warring nation.
I am thankful also that my Canadian heritage grants me a free education up to and including high school, and free basic health care. My country won’t let me die just because I can’t afford to pay for treatment.
While I dislike the cold, and find all but one season in Canada just that, I still AM thankful for the three seasons that I shiver. They make the summer all the more enjoyable!
I am thankful that in Canada I can worship the deity of my choice or disregard as I see fit. I can befriend people of all faiths and philosophies and have; Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Native American, Atheist... It might earn me the scorn of my peers, but it isn’t illegal.
I am thankful for the good health I enjoy. While in the advanced stages of middle age, I have the “normal” aches and pains associated with my age and geography, but I can still ride my bicycle, log a few kilometres hiking or snowshoeing and I’m not on a regimen of daily medications like many my age or even younger.
I am thankful to have had a stable family environment as a child and teenager. My parents, while smokers, did not drink and provided me with a diet of fresh grown vegetables and homemade bread and baked goods. In some ways, my parents did not prepare me for the world I grew into, but I don’t think they could have; it was so different than their world.
I am thankful to have a healthy intelligence coupled with an above average memory. I can recall song lyrics from the first live performance I played in 1970!
Speaking of performing, I am thankful for my ability to play music. I have had a long and rewarding career in that field, and it’s not over yet.
I am thankful for the many “esoteric” teachings I have received, from Reiki to Taiji and Yoga; from the Law of Attraction to Vibrational Healing; I have learned much and met many wonderful people because of it.
Which brings me to the final yet most important thing for which I am thankful... (Although I would hardly categorize all my wonderful friends as a “thing” to be thankful for.)
Each of you reading this has been a gift and blessing to me. Although many of you have moved to other parts of Canada or other countries, (or if you are still where I started my life and noticing MY absence) you still mean a great deal to me. If I have sent you the link to this blog it is to tell you that very thing.
Today, I have realized I have a great deal to be thankful for. Despite my propensity to sometimes see the glass as, if not half empty, being on its way there, I have more reasons to see the glass as being re-filled as well.
What are you thankful for today? Do you have to think about it or do they come to mind easily? Are you sharing your thanks with special people or are you alone?
And mostly, as a friend pointed out on Twitter earlier today, “I don't believe that 'Thanksgiving' was ever meant to be one day...”