(TODO: Take a new Thanksgiving table picture so I don’t have to keep recycling old ones over and over again.)
Every year around this time Thanksgiving rolls around, and for some odd reason, every year around this time I always seem to mention something here about how Thanksgiving just seemingly snuck up on us out of nowhere. Naturally this is a rather absurd notion, as anyone who has been paying attention probably would have noticed Halloween popping up on the calendar a few weeks ago, and taken that as a clear sign of impending turkey. Nonetheless, it is with anticipation that we look at the arrival of Thanksgiving, as it provides one of the few chances we get each year to have the whole entire family together at once. And as it always does, Thanksgiving also provides an opportunity to look back and take stock of the past year to see where I have been, and what blessings I have received.
For those of you who may not have read one of these posts before, every year at our big family Thanksgiving get-together, we have a tradition where we all go around the table, and each person takes a little bit of time to speak of some of the things that they are thankful for. For those of you who are familiar with Agile development, the whole thing’s basically like a Scrum meeting, only with a lot more people, and last time I checked people usually don’t bring donuts to Thanksgiving. When I started writing this Blog over four years ago, I also started doing a “going around the table” Blog post around Thanksgiving time each year as well, with several other members of the family (depending on their varying degrees of motivation to actually maintain their Blogs) making their own posts as well. The previous Going Around the Table posts can be found here (2008), here (2009) and here (2010). So without further ado, here are some of the things that I am thankful for as we once again approach Thanksgiving.
For those of you who have been reading this Blog for a while, you are probably aware of some of the various interesting circumstances of the year that preceded Thanksgiving 2010, and the couple of months prior to Thanksgiving in particular. This year has, thankfully, been a lot less tumultuous for me, and has allowed me a chance to settle down a bit. In particular, I’ve finally had the opportunity to settle down into a good and reasonably stable job after years of working as a contractor that resulted in the need to frequently be searching for the next job at the end of each contract. Although this was far from being an ideal situation, I found that I would always be able to find the things that I needed at the times that I needed them, and it is through that period that I came to a firm belief that if I am doing the right things, one way or another things would work out (and quite often I’ve found things to happen in the “Or Another” category.) Granted, I don’t intend this to be a claim that I am doing the right things all the time (or even most of the time, for that matter) but through these years of wandering from contract to contract, I saw it happen enough times that I can’t believe it to be mere coincidence.
I wouldn’t exactly say that this past year was marked by any sort of profound change from previous years, but in many ways it’s provided a chance to settle down a bit. For the first time since I worked in my first Tech Support job out of high school (I don’t really like to talk about that one much to be honest) I’ve spent more than a year consecutively in the same job. Granted, even in that there’s been a bit of turmoil here and there, but all in all, I have to say that I’m grateful for where I am right now. The job I am in has given me an opportunity to grow in a number of the skills I need to achieve my long-term career goals, I have good managers who I get along with very well, and who trust in me enough to mostly just stay out of the way and let me do what needs to be done, my daily commute is a ten-minute walk to the office, I managed to finally get my car paid off a few months ago, and I have actual vacation time, something I’ve lacked for quite a while. Sure, it might be nice if my stock options weren’t so far underwater that I don’t think even Jacques Cousteau could find them at this point, but all in all, I’m pretty happy with where I am right now. I know I can’t expect this to last forever (and in fact, I know I’ll have to take some steps toward making some changes myself in the not-too-distant future as I come to realize that now is the time to seek out my eternal companion,) but I’m grateful to have a bit of stability for the time being.
I’m also grateful for the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to do some traveling this year, as I know that this is something that not a lot of people get to do. It’s always good to get the chance to expand one’s horizons, and even though I begin to worry that I might b getting myself a bit stuck in a rut with this whole cruise thing, I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to take several of them this year, and to bring my brother who I don’t see much of these days along with me for one of them. I’m also grateful that I got to take a trip to Disneyland back in September with several friends, which gives an entirely different perspective than I’d get from traveling alone. I know that for quite a while during my twenties, I had a tendency at times to be a bit of a loner. Sure, I’d get along with people just fine, I just didn’t place as much importance on the friendship of other people as I really should have (which probably has a lot more to do with how I ended up being still single at age 30 than I’d really like to admit.) It’s easy to let this become one of those things you don’t really think you need until you finally find friends like that and begin to realize what you’re missing.
All in all, I realize that I have a lot to be grateful for this year, even if I’m not always as good as I should be about expressing that gratitude. Now, for anyone else in the family who still happens to be blogging (I know of one or two, not so sure about the others), it’s your turn.