Unemployment does strange things in my head. I’m a writer with a wildly overactive imagination, even at the tender age of 37, so a case could be made that having this much time to fill during the day, the mind plays tricks.
I don’t know who started it, but it seems to be a through line objective in my culture that the month of November, (at least, this particular November) be appointed the month when everybody has to stop and give thanks or feel thankful (a question of semantics or a bona fine difference in concepts? This is a question that a weekly youth group I was in in high school was plagued by and I’m not gonna try and answer it now, but it does demand some interpretation) for all the things in their life that should indeed be thankful for. This concept in itself is extremely strange to me. I mean, yeah, I get it, Thanksgiving is coming up and then Christmas and this is the time that one should take into account all the things one has in their life to be grateful for. But I mean, shouldn’t we do that, like, every freaking day? It’s like when Hurricane Sandy hit or the shooting in Newtown and the post offices were just inundated with donations, blankets and food and the like. A more jaded person than myself (which is just a way for me to say that I am that jaded without accepting any responsibility for it) would cry out “Why can’t people give this much of a shit about each other every day!? Why does it have to take a tragedy for people to take the wooden stake out of their sphincter and pony up some of their hard-earned riches for those that need them? But thankfully, I am not that person.
Anyway, so this concept of gratitude has really got my wheels turning. This morning I read a blog post by a woman who listed 30 things in 30 minutes she was thankful for (Full disclosure: I haven’t finished the piece yet. I started it, then got the idea for this blog post and had to start writing. I’ll finish it when I’m done) This woman is extremely funny and I can’t believe I’m just realizing this now, but oh well. And her list of things to be thankful for is right up my alley. And it occurred to me. The thing I’m most grateful for is me.
Now, before you start thinking “Good god! How ‘bout the ego on this guy?” Let me explain. And I’m about to get very Descartes-Mind-Body-Problem up in here so if you don’t want to or can’t hang, bail now. And yes, I do have an ego massive enough to think that highly of myself, but that’s beside the point for now. No, I’m talking about my body. See, I survived bacterial meningitis. If you follow me and my blog and other online activities, you know that that is a very prominent topic for me. And if you are sick of hearing about, again, tough shit. You had your chance to bail and you’re still reading, so what does that say about you? A book I read recently called Proof of Heaven written by a neurosurgeon who survived bacterial meningitis declared that anyone stricken down by this disease has a .0001 chance of surviving. And I survived. So, marveling at the capacity of my body to recoup from this with minimal visible effects just makes sense.
But I marvel at it like a guy in a movie theater marvels at a spectacular display of special effects and CGI wizardry like in Gravity or Fight Club. But more importantly, the fact that I did survive has allowed me to appreciate things on a visceral level. Like, take the last 24 hours. A more jaded person (again, me in disguise) would bitch and moan about living in a ¾ house at 37 years old and not having a job or going to school and not having a wife or girlfriend or kids or the fact that I have that mammoth Achilles heel called alcoholism that has made the fact that I live in a ¾ house at 37 years old without a job or going to school or lacking a wife or girlfriend or kids pretty goddamn depressing.
But dig this (This is where the gratitude part comes in. Aren’t you glad you stuck around?) Yesterday I got to go to a movie with my Mom and Da and joke with them after the movie about how brutal it was and eat a bunch of movie popcorn with the radioactive butter sauce and way too much salt. And I got to do something I can’t mention here because it’s a secret but somebody very close to me is going to be so psyched that I did it. And last night I got to eat chicken wings marinated in a sweet chili sauce I grilled the night before with way too much blue cheese. And I got to where a new shirt that makes me look pretty damn good especially with all the weight that I’ve lost and muscle I’ve built and totally shows off my pecs.
And I do this with a certain degree of separation. Me, the mind part, gets to watch Me, the body part, and be so grateful that I get to do all this stuff, it’s like a little party in my mind(body). And I am slated to start a new job next week and who knows, even though I don’t particularly want to, maybe I’ll meet the woman who will become my girlfriend and then wife and I’ll have kids with and then my Da will get off my back about having grandkids (I’m kidding. Da has brought this up like once and he was kidding. No harm no foul, Da) But you see where I am going with this? Me, the mind part, is so ever loving thankful that Me the body didn’t die. Truthfully, everybody should be grateful for this, really. Do it. Right now. Thank your body for breathing and digesting and ambulating and loving and all the other things that your body does that you might take for granted.
Today, I love Me. I hope you love You. I really do.