Interesting factoid: while the Pilgrims really did have days of thanksgiving, they were days of solemnity and prayer – fasting, not feasting. What we think of as “the first Thanksgiving” was actually a harvest festival, intended to fatten people up for winter. Which means, amusingly enough, that eating way too much and sitting around on the couch semi-conscious is the original meaning of the holiday.
But this year, I find myself in tune with the holiday’s modern meaning.
To say that this has been a good year for me seems to be an understatement. In a lot of ways, this is the year that It All Came Together for me. True, it was actually last year that I was hired on full-time at my current job, but that was right at the end of the year; it was only as this year progressed that I started to realize just how much my life had changed for the better.
After years of wandering in the permatemp wasteland, days off without counting the money I wasn’t making and an end to the constant anxiety about how the job could end at any time and where would I find the next one are both great. Freedom from fear and stress is not to be gainsaid. But as the year passed, I started to realize that it was more than that: I was starting to gain ground where I’d been losing it for years. In May, I made the final payment on my student loans. That same month, I had my first medical checkup since 2011, followed shortly by a cardiologist appointment (my Dad had his heart attack when he was 38 – he’s still with us, something else I’m thankful for – and everyone has been concerned about my heart health for some time), my first dentist appointment since 2010, and finally, this fall, I had a hernia repaired that had been left essentially untreated since 2009.
Decent health insurance and the ability to take time off are wonderful things.
While all this was happening, I also replaced some things that were somewhat less crucial, but which had been used to the point of failure – the four year old eyeglasses, the eight year old computer.
And I’ve actually been able to start preparing for my retirement.
In short, I’ve spent all this year catching up. Regaining lost ground. It’s cost quite a bit of money, but as long as things continue to go well at my job – and I have no indication that they aren’t – I’ll regain that, too. For the first time in far too long, I feel that everything is going to be okay.
And I’m grateful for that. So very grateful. Because I know how very fortunate I am to have it. I work hard to earn it, but there are people who work much harder than I do who will never have it – hell, there were years when I worked just as hard and didn’t have it. So I don’t pretend this is due to some virtue on my part and some failing on theirs – I’m just grateful for what I have, and resolve to try to deserve it.
So that’s all for this year; happy Thanksgiving, all. Expect an even more effusive version of this post next year, because by this time next year, Red Molly and I will be married.