Point of No Return – Time to offer thanks for what we have

Ours is a nation that excels the most when our eyes are planted firmly on the future.

We innovate and plan. We set a definitive course at the highest levels of government on foreign policies and economic growth. We teach our children to become well-mannered adults who are prepared to face the world that will be greeting them sooner rather than later. We keep focused on tomorrow, so that we’re not left behind today.

Yeah, that last line works best if you really focus on a time-and-space continuum...

But I digress.

Regardless, there is a time-tested notion that if you’re not getting better, you are in fact getting worse. It’s true for sports. It’s true for business and education. It’s true for medicine. It’s true for government. And it’s true for personal growth. In order for any of us to properly find our place in the world of tomorrow, well, we have to keep our eye on tomorrow, or face the very-real possibility of being left behind.

Somewhere in this perpetual arc of preparing for the future we are often left neglecting the present, or, at least, the things and people that make our lives what they are. And that, dear readers, is a ridiculously long and convoluted way to bring the subject to the topic of Thanksgiving.

Focusing solely on the celebration of the holiday, itself, and not the meaning behind its existence, Thanksgiving is my favorite. Just hearing the word transports my mind to visions of family, food and football. It is a holiday that indeed brings an immense amount of stress for the individual tasked with putting together the meal, but isn’t that the case for every holiday meal? Aside from food and travel, Thanksgiving is a relatively stress-free, carbohydrate-filled holiday.

And it is also a day to take stock — to take a deep breath and really just slow down the world long enough to understand and appreciate all that you do have around you. Oh, it’s easy to bemoan all the things that we don’t have, and it often fuels as intestinal fire to make us work or try harder to obtain all those things that have thus far been out of our reach. But that’s more of an every-day-type-thing.

So, without further adieu, I’ll present those things of which I am most thankful for this year.

• I am thankful for my wife and daughter. Oh, the whining and screaming and stubborness can be a bit grating from time to time, but she’s a busy woman, raising a kid and all.

• I am thankful that my wife has a sense of humor. Right?

• I am thankful to have a job that is challenging, interesting and satisfying. Being a member of the media lately has been about as popular as a rainy Fourth of July, and some of that has been warranted. However, I’ll stand with my team any day of the week, and tell anybody who will listen that we truly keep our nose to the grindstone and practice sound ethics each and every day.

• I’m thankful that my daughter has embraced all that is good about the peanut. If she likes peanuts, we have peanuts. And I am always happy to have peanuts around the house.

• I’m thankful for the brave men and women who have signed their names on contracts to stand up and protect us from the evils around the world. Think about that for a second, if you will — these people have willingly sought out the opportunity to put their lives on the line in defense of the rest of us, during a time of sickening unrest and hatred globally. And the rest of us are going to fight each other at sunrise for a better price on a dancing Mickey Mouse doll.

• I’m thankful that my fantasy football season will soon be coming to a merciful end. There are many weaknesses with my one team, including unfortunate injuries and some bad luck. The biggest problem, however, is the idiot who drafted the team. Can I fire myself?

• I’m thankful for Year 17 working with Susan Lyons. I’m thankful to have her as a publisher, and I’m even more thankful to have her as a friend. We have seen some highs, and we have seen some lows, but she has been there for me every single time I’ve needed her.

• I’m thankful that the Minions are not Barney. It’s unnerving that I can recite every line from the Minions or Despicable Me movies, but at least it’s not Barney. I kind of like the Minions in comparison.

• I’m thankful to live in this community, and am excited for the day my daughter starts attending schools in the Indian River School District. Yes, that recent audit concerned me a great deal, as did the one conducted several months ago on the Millville Volunteer Fire Company (MVFC). But I maintain my faith in both institutions going forward, and I want the educators at the district to be the people helping my daughter learn for the future, and I want those brave volunteers at MVFC coming to my aid in a time of need. I trust them both to do their jobs in an exemplary fashion.

• I’m thankful for my family members, friends and loved ones. At the end of the day, that’s really what matters in life, and I am truly blessed.

• I’m thankful for remote controls. I really can’t stress that enough.

• I’m thankful for you — the one reading this right now. This column is fun to write, and you make it possible.