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.
Nearly every day I think about how fortunate I am to have been raised by my parents and to have had the support of my extended family. As my siblings grow up and find their places in the world, I become increasingly aware that the things I'm most proud of are a direct result of my childhood. We have too many positive common attributes for any of us to claim it was our own doing.
I don't know most of you very well, but I'm extraordinarily grateful for my readers. I feel like I have a whole team behind me in anything I do, and coming up with good posts for you pushes me to push myself in many ways. And it's not just having a number of people reading-- when I meet you guys, I'm always a little bit intimidated, like, "These people are really impressive-- I'd better stay sharp so that I can keep writing things that keep their interest."
In that same vein, I'm very grateful for those of you who bought my latest book. It's doing extremely well (hasn't left top 5 in its category), and the money I earn from it will make a significant difference in my life.
Every time I fly, I look out the window and think about how grateful I am for this earth. There are so many amazing places all over the place, different enough to be interesting, similar enough to be navigable. It's good enough that exists, but the fact that we have the technology and means to hop all over it is almost unbelievably good.
One particular place I'm grateful for this year is our island. We still have a lot of work to do on it, but in the past year I've been five times and it's become one of my favorite places to be.
And last, a lightning round of less important things that I'm grateful for at the moment: MMA fighting, Pimsleur language tapes, good tea, ballet, art, lightweight travel gear, linux, Las Vegas, San Francisco, healthy food, Lil Wayne, Dvorak keyboard layouts, huge Android phones, winning the Amtrak residency, and stand-up sushi in Tokyo.
Hopefully you'll have a great Thanksgiving and have a lot to be grateful for. Thanks for being part of my list.
Photo is a bird in Brazil that looks sort of like a demonic turkey.
Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. Although it started with religion, it's become a secular holiday that's pretty pure. Everyone who celebrates it does so with people they're close to, and they think about what they're thankful for. There's a bit of gluttony mixed in, but even that includes a lot of healthy food.
Today will be the first time I celebrate Thanksgiving with friends instead of family. I'm grateful to have the option, and it makes me think of how lucky I am to have such great friends and family. I love my friends as though they're family, and I consider my family members to be some of my closest friends as well.
The emotion I feel the most throughout my day is gratitude. I'm always thinking about the various people in my life and how lucky I am to have them there. I think about the people who were in my life but aren't anymore, and I'm grateful for how they affected me. I think about how lucky I am to have a roof over my head, Chipotle and sardines in my belly, and the ability to constantly travel around the world. I think about how glad I am that this world exists and that I get to be here. That one fluke alone is enough to flood my brain with gratitude.
And, of course, I'm grateful to have you and people like you reading my blog and my books. I was having dinner with my friend Ramit the other night and we were talking about blogging. I told him that I may not have as many readers as some other blogs, but that I thought my readers were the best group of readers out there. I'd take that trade any day. Whenever I meet you guys I'm totally humbled to have such smart and interesting people care about what I write.
My wife and I don't make a huge deal out of holidays.
There are a number of different reasons for this, but the most important is that I'm not always home for them. I've been fortunate the last couple years to be around for most celebrations, but that hasn't always been the case, and it certainly won't be in the future. When you make a massive deal out of holidays when you're together, they become even more painful when you're apart. As a result, we tend to keep things low-key and just celebrate family as much as possible.
Thanksgiving this year was no exception.
We started the day out with a simple fritata for breakfast. Then, I went for a run while the kids were playing with their train set. Once I returned, we all sat down and watched one of my favorite movies from my childhood, Homeward Bound. Just like when I was a kid, there wasn't a dry eye in the house when the credits rolled. We had sandwiches for lunch and then decided to start attacking a jigsaw puzzle that my wife picked out specifically for the occasion. Please refer to this old post if you would like to know how much I enjoyed that. We Skyped with the family for awhile and then got ready for dinner.
My wife is a pescetarian (a vegetarian who eats fish), and our daughter hates most meat, so our Thanksgiving dinner is probably different than most. We picked up some beautiful ahi tuna steaks from a seafood store not far from our house. CinC HOUSE seared them perfectly and we dressed them up with some coconut rice and squash. It was delicious, and we chased it down with a slice of pumpkin cheese cake.