As any longtime readers of this Blog (do I still have any of those?) may know, one of the Vanderhoeven family traditions we have at Thanksgiving is that before everyone sits down to dinner, we take the time to go around the table, and each person takes a turn to discuss some of the things which they are thankful for. It’s always an interesting experience to see just how blessed we are, and on several occasions people have used this occasion to announce things like pregnancies or other major life events. This year’s Thanksgiving get-together was a little bit unusual in that owing to various circumstances, we opted for a more casual get-together than we usually have, meaning that the customary formal tables were replaced with couches and the latest Cowboys and Jets meltdowns on the TV. Given the fact that it can be kind of hard to go around the table when there isn’t really a table to speak of, my Aunt Pam decided that in these circumstances it would be better to just have everyone write in a book (which will be maintained and updated from year to year.) It’s a different way of doing things, but I think it should work out in the long run even if my handwriting is terrible.
In addition to this, I am continuing with my usual tradition of doing an annual “going around the table” Blog post here (this will be my fifth one) where I can write down some of my thoughts in a hopefully somewhat more readable format. I’ve been doing this for several years now, and I’ve found that going back and looking at these posts from previous years is a good way to get a general idea of where I was at that point, and where things seemed to be going. Some years have been pretty good, some years have been challenging, and some have been somewhere in between. To be honest, it’s hard to say where this past year has been, but to me it seems that I’ve spent a lot it in something of a holding pattern. There are quite a few things going on in my life right now where it seems that I could end up going in one direction or the other, and at times it seems like I might actually manage to pull some of these off, but at other times it feels like all of them are unattainable goals. As it stands right now, the immediate to near-term future still seems to hold quite a bit of uncertainty, which is admittedly not my favorite thing.
Nonetheless, I know that one way or another, things always seem to find a way to work out, and as often seems to be the case, it happens a lot more often in the “or another” category. In the meantime, I’m grateful that things have gone as well as they have. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to remain employed, and even though the contract at Amazon that I’ve spent roughly nine months in is going to be ending shortly, there seem to be several good prospects for whatever will come next, and it’s been good experience in the meantime. I’m also grateful (as always) that I come from such a great family, and that most of my family lives close enough that I get to see them on a regular basis. As you can see above, a few days ago when we were able to get everyone together all at once, we used the occasion to take some new family portraits. I’m also grateful to have some very good friends with whom I have shared several adventures and/or misadventures over the past year, and over the course of the several years that I have known them. In particular, the Disneyland trip I was able to take with them in August was particularly memorable, even if it did leave me hanging out in a slightly sketchy grocery store near LAX at 1am while waiting for a thrice-delayed flight. Then again, nobody ever seems to remember the trips where everything went exactly according to plan, right?
Of course, what’s past is past. What’s future is, as it always seems to be, looming somewhere off in the distance, never close enough to see more than vague hints of. And while I do have a few good ideas of where I would like be in that future (well, being there in the first place is always a good start) I’ve also clearly got some work to do in order to get there. Even so, it does seem attainable, and I’ve got plenty of the right people around me to help get there. And it is for that which I am most grateful. I do admit that I have my faults every so often, and that I do still do dumb things on a shockingly regular basis, but at least I can keep most of those in the category of learning experiences.
Anyway, once again I did make ornaments for our family’s ornament exchange this year, and once again I did the project with the laser cutter (which took up most of my time during the week prior to Thanksgiving, making this annual post just a little bit tardy this year. You should be hearing more about this soon.