Giving Thanks

Nancy Jane MooreIt dawned on me the other day, as I was agonizing over the trials of moving and the petty annoyances of bureaucracies and such, that I have a great deal to be thankful for this year.

My personal life is going very well. I moved halfway across the country to live with my sweetheart. So far we’ve been doing a good job of merging the belongings and habits accumulated over many years by two independent adults. (Though there are still a lot of boxes waiting to be unpacked.)

I have a novel coming out next year from Aqueduct Press. The line edits are keeping me busy right now, but that’s part of the process.

I’m in OK shape on the money front – which still amazes me, given that I’ve never been all that good at financial planning.

I’m even healthy.

OK, so I could use more exercise and would appreciate fewer aches and pains. My body is still holding up quite well.

And I’ve got friends and family all over the place – people I love and cherish and who do the same for me.

I’m very thankful and grateful for all these things.

And I also know just how lucky I am. While I deserve credit for some of my good fortune – I did write (and revise and revise and revise) that novel – a lot of it is a combination of picking the right parents, falling into the right job, and pure serendipity.

Right now I know several people who are taking care of loved ones with serious health issues. Others are confronting illnesses of their own. Many people I know are struggling financially, often for reasons beyond their control.

I have been physically active for a good chunk of my life. I’ve been a martial artist for 35 years now, and have had fits of other serious jock activity from time to time. I’m sure that’s part of why I’m healthy, but the heart attack death a year ago of a fellow Aikido student who was younger than I and seemed healthier has given me pause. Some of what is keeping me around is the luck of the genetic draw.

My finances are good because I got a good job back in the 90s with an employee-owned company with a very active union that fought for good benefits. Yes, I did good work for the company, but I know plenty of people who have worked their butts off for employers with much less reward.

And I got that job in part because of a law degree I earned when it was dirt cheap to go to college. These days people coming out of law school to work at my former employer are going to be spending a lot of their pay on student loans.

I’m lucky in my family and lucky to have made so many friends over the years. I suppose I deserve some credit for keeping friends, but then my friends deserve even more for putting up with me.

I’m ever mindful these days of the advantages I have had over my life. I don’t come from money, but I didn’t grow up in poverty, either. My parents were educated and professional journalists. There was never any question that I would go to college.

While I’ve run into plenty of sex discrimination in my time, I had the power of my mother’s example to keep me going. She fought to have a career; it’s because of her and women like her that I had lots of options.

And I never discount the advantages that come from the simple fact that I’m Anglo (as we say in Texas). Mad as it makes me to get stopped by the Border Patrol when I haven’t even left the country, I know that when I open my mouth to answer the question of whether I’m a U.S. citizen, there won’t be any follow-ups.

I live in a world that gives me a pass that isn’t available to everyone – or even to most. I’m grateful, but I’d be even more thankful to live in a world that didn’t treat so many people unfairly.

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Giving Thanks — 2 Comments

  1. And there are the larger thankfulnesses. We were born in the United States. You could have been just as fortunate, just as blessed, born in Lagos or Surabaya or Karachi, and your life would be ever so much suckier.
    We were born in the 20th century (I know how old you are, Nancy!). A mere century earlier and we would be fighting to vote, fighting to be able to sign legal contracts, fighting not to be fired the moment we became pregnant. They would be treating our female illnesses with tooth extraction or clitoridectomy or opiates. My marriage (to a white man!) would be entirely illegal. Good gosh, we’d still be using rags, once a month! Agh, it makes your blood run cold.