Well, it’s just about time for Thanksgiving once again, which is always one of the nicer holidays out of the year. In many ways, I actually like Thanksgiving better than I like Christmas these days because aside from the occurrence of the holiday itself people don’t really make a big deal out of it the way they do for Christmas (although the creep of Black Friday into Thanksgiving itself does seem to be something of a worrying trend.) That leaves us free to enjoy it for what it is: a time for the family to get together from its scattered and give thanks for the blessings in our life, enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving feast (and the now traditional complaints about we keep having turkey every year) and watch certain people get way too worked up about the Cowboys game. Also, as I’ve previously discussed on this Blog a number of times, one of the Vanderhoeven family traditions that we follow is that in one form or another, we all take some time on Thanksgiving to talk about the things that we are thankful for. Although the format has changed over the years, the notional idea of “Going Around the Table” still remains, so I continue to stick with that.
As I’ve done each year since 2008, I like to take this opportunity to discuss some of the things that I am thankful for in my life. And although the idea may admittedly seem a little trite these days, I still find that these posts serve as something of an annual checkpoint for me as to where I am with my various life goals and accomplishments, dubious as they may be sometimes. To be perfectly honest, I really try not to write too much about my personal life here on my Blog, mostly because I’m pretty boring. That said, I do feel that on occasion it is necessary to write at least a little bit here and there, partially because every once in a while something interesting does actually happen that’s worth sharing, and partially because I do keep this Blog as something of a personal record, and it can be useful to go back and have some of these things available to read again later.
Generally in these Going Around the Table posts I do try to talk about where I am and what I’m doing at any given time, but I do have the tendency to keep things vague, mostly out of respect for the privacy of the friends and family members who might not want me plastering their lives all over the Internet (and I can’t say I blame them.) Nonetheless, when I go back and read these posts, it becomes pretty clear to me where I was at the time, and what was to come. And although I generally try to keep these posts (and my Blog in general) fairly upbeat, there have been times when I can go back and read these posts and see that I was clearly struggling with one thing or another at any given time. There used to be a time when I was incredibly cynical about… well, just about everything really. It’s a bad habit to get into, and even now I find myself falling into it every once in a while, but at least I think I’ve managed to get better at not showing it over the years. Nonetheless, I’m pretty sure it manages to sneak in every so often. Nonetheless, it’s still instructive to see where I’ve been and where I was going at the time (hindsight, of course, is 20/20.)
That said, I really don’t have anything to complain about right now. Even if I don’t see them nearly as much as I used to these days as a lot of us have gone off in whatever various directions life has taken us in, I’m still grateful for a loving and supportive family that I know I can rely on if I ever need them, and which has seen the addition of a niece and a nephew over the course of the past year. I’m also grateful to have friends that share my offbeat sense of humor (I have to say that we both do a surprisingly good job of putting up with each other’s antics, all things considered) and whom I can trust to be there when I need it. I would be the first to admit that I tend to be slow to get to know people (some of that is me having trouble putting names to faces sometimes, and some of it is just me occasionally being a little stubborn) but I truly believe that the friends I associate myself with are there for a reason, even if it may have taken me a bit longer than it should for me to realize that. I just hope I can do for them what they have done for me.
I’m also grateful for the job I have, even if it has been a challenge at times. I’ll admit that the first six months or so that I spent at my current employer were a particularly challenging time for me, as the project I was working on didn’t seem to be going well and there were people I was having trouble getting along with. Ultimately I stuck with it, and over time things have gotten better. That’s not to say that there aren’t challenges, but I think I’ve grown into it reasonably well, and it does come with some nice perks, not the least of which is getting to mess around with a lot of the new phones when they hit the market, and I get to (occasionally) drive a really nice car as well without having to pay for the gas. All in all, it’s actually a pretty good place to work.
I’m also grateful for the ability to travel, and the traveling companions that accompany me on my various adventures. This year has not offered quite as many opportunities to visit new places as last year did, but we did still get a chance to see Alaska for the first time (which reminds me that I still need to finish up the post about the second part of my Alaska trip at some point) and next year should have some interesting things planned as well. I know that eventually I will have to settle down and raise a family which will presumably put a damper on my ability to do so, but in the meantime I consider myself fortunate that I have the ability and the means to do so.
I do still have my challenges, and I do still have my shortcomings (who doesn’t?) but ultimately, I do think things are headed in the right direction, and I’m grateful for that. And sometimes, that’s the best thing you can hope for.