Every year I struggle to write my gratitude post a little bit, not because I can't think of anything I'm grateful for, but because there are so many things that it's hard to focus. This year, just for fun, I'm going to try to highlight some smaller things in my life that I'm grateful for.
But first, I can't write this post without acknowledging and thanking all of the people in my life. I have the most incredible friends and family and they all contribute a tremendous amount to my life. Everyone has the ability to make great friends, but not everyone has the chance to meet as many great people as I've met and befriended, and I think it's pretty rare to have a meaningful and positive relationship with every single member of one's family as I do. I may not be a 1%er financially, but I think I must be in terms of people in my life, I must be.
So first, to my friends and family who read this: thank you so much for being in my life.
Each day I think many times about how grateful I am for various things, both big and small. I do this because I have a lot to be grateful for, but also because I know that the active process of being grateful will make me more happy and satisfied with my life. Being grateful is a skill that you can build, and building it enables you to get all of the benefit of everything in your life, which makes it a very high-leverage skill.
Here are some of the things I'm grateful for:
The incredible community of people who follow my blog and my work. Since last year I've had several events where I've gotten to know a few dozen readers well, and every time I feel both proud and humbled to have such high quality people interested in what I do.
The travel I get to do. I've been to eighty or so countries, many more cities, and of those hundreds of cities I've been to, I get to spend almost all of my year in the ones that I like the best. In each of these places I feel like I have a "life", including a routine, great people, and an increasingly deep understanding of the culture.
Chipotle. Amazing food, great prices, high quality. I eat here almost every day in Las Vegas and every time I tuck into that beef and chicken salad I think about how lucky I am to get to eat such good food.
Tea. It's an obvious one, but I'm really glad to participate in tea culture and for all of the great conversations I've had with people over tea.
Las Vegas. I love this city more and more and am just so glad that a city like this exists to live in. I love the ultra-convenient airport, the lake, the skiing hill, the shows, the food, the cost of living, and the sunny weather.
Our boat. A friend and I bought a boat, and although it seems to break more often than you'd think it would, I love being able to go out on the water and even go camping across the lake in it.
Technology. It's easy to complain about the problems with social media and various tech companies, but the amount of tech I have in my life makes it so easy for me to focus on what's important and to ignore the rest. I think I was born at the best time in human history: just early enough that I got to grow up playing in the woods and riding bikes around the neighborhood, but just late enough that computers are second-nature to me.
Cruises. Cruises are such weird environments, but they just happen to be perfect for me to be productive and to spend a lot of time with my friends. I went on four this year including one with some of my family members, and I have so many great memories as well as productive output from them.
We live in an amazing world, filled with amazing people, in an amazing time. I am so thankful to be a part of this world and for having received a far better than average roll of the dice. I hope that you feel the same way.
Photo is a sunset on Lake Mead outside of Las Vegas
Thanks for reading!
I think that gratitude is an essential part of a good life. If you don't appreciate the people, places, and things that make up your life, you don't have much motivation do anything. I feel the weight of gratitude every day. Many times a day I think of how fortunate I am to be where I am, and how so much of that is due to other people. I can't write that post every day, but I think I can get away with it on Thanksgiving.
I'm most thankful for my family and friends. The two categories of people are intertwined because I feel like I'm best friends with many of my family members, and that many of my friends are so close they may as well be family. Genetics make clear lines, but in real life they're one big group of people I love.
I traveled with a lot of friends this year, and I'm particularly grateful for that. Sharing my favorite places around the world and discovering new ones with friends are among my favorite things in the world. I'm very fortunate to be able to do a lot of that.
I made only a few new friends this year, but I feel like I became closer with a lot of friends, often as a result of traveling together.
I love San Francisco so much that every time I return here from a trip, I resolve to stay for a while and enjoy the city. That never happens. Next week I'm going to Tahoe, then Vegas the following weekend, and then to Austin for SXSW the week after that. Cabo or Hawaii follows in early March, but in late April comes the most exciting upcoming trip: a sixteen day cruise to Rome.
Cruises are full of old people. As best I can tell, that's because young people haven't figured out how awesome and cheap they can be. In fact, I can easily say that of all the travel I've done, cruises probably represent the best bang for the buck.
Before I tell you how to get them cheap, let me tell you why cruises, especially long duration one-way cruises are amazing.
One of my favorite aspects of cruises is that they can take you to places you may not otherwise visit. For example, the cruise my friends and I are taking stops in the Azores, Seville (Spain), Valencia (Spain), Barcelona, Monte Carlo, and Rome. Without cruising, I probably would never make it to the Azores, and those southern Spanish cities are unlikely as well. They're just too remote and too expensive to come up at the top of my list when choosing a trip.