It’s not how much you have around you,
It’s how thankful you feel inside. 
To be thankful, is to be wealthy,  
To have regret, is to be poor,
And you get to choose. 

December is definitely my time of resolutions. The 12th is my birthday and it always gets me thinking about the year that is coming to a close, and the year ahead. It’s a time of ups and downs as I fall into old habits of comparing what I should have, to what I don’t have, and what I should have done, to what I didn’t get done. What’s worse, is even though I know better, I still do it. You get the idea. Next I scold myself for doing it, and the cycle continues. I don’t think I’m alone in this practice, and from my conversations with friends, it’s normal.

I have learned that the key for me is to not let it paralyze me, and not let it stop me. Too often, it seems that anticipation of disappointment leads people to not even begin. Or regret over not having done it before. I hear it so often regarding playing piano, “I wish I would never have quit,” to which they follow it up with, “but I am too old to learn now.” Not only is this not a true statement, it’s also a symptom of a much bigger blocker that they may have. One that is keeping them from even trying, from even starting.

Disappointment & Thankfulness

Disappointment is in a way very much a part of being thankful. As an artist, I often have to balance feeling disappointed with being thankful. They both inspire and help me create. I rarely perform at a level I am satisfied with, let alone be completely satisfied. And each time, I have to make a choice to let it inspire me to learn and do better.

The key for me is to not let my disappointments kill my initiative. Understanding that things won’t turn out as planned, should not stop me from starting. Things often turn out different, or rather, they may always turn out different. Knowing that, I am thankful for how everything has turned out. I should also realize that I will be thankful in the end, at the start of everything that I do. I am thankful for my disappointments, they are part of what inspires me to keep going. 

Sadness & Thankfulness

A lot of great things have happened this year, and some things that make me sad. The saddest things are these; I’ve lost some more friends in ways that seem so unfair. Specifically some to cancer, some to Covid related illness, and some to suicide. It’s good to reflect back on how special these people were, and still are to me, and how much I miss them. And true, it is unfair. Now what? What can I do? What can we do?

It’s My, Rather, Our Turn

When I lost my father in 2021, I realized that it was my turn to pass on what he taught me. And I owe it to him to be the best that I can be, to never give up, and to do the best I can to take care of the people that are in my life. I owe it to take care of the family that he loved. It’s up to me now, he’s no longer here.

For my friends that I have lost, I owe it to them to take care of those that they cared for too. I owe it to my musician friends to continue the craft and pursue improving my own skills. To love, to make music, to spend time with friends, to love one another.

Daily, I am realizing that it’s my turn to be the good friend, to be the good father, and be the good husband, and be the best I can be. It’s my turn to be a good artist and work on my craft, to be a good educator and work on my craft. It’s my turn to do the work, and I am thankful that I am here, and able to do that. 

Not Keeping Score with Others, Playing a Different Game…

I also realized that it’s hard to do, and not keep score with others. Everywhere I go I seem to be reminded of whether or not I am financially successful. Like when I park my car in a parking lot I’m reminded how some people choose to measure their wealth versus me, and that’s only one measurement of many. I have to remind myself I’m not playing that game. I got another thing going. My game is “less is more, not more is more.”

My game is “less is more, not more is more.”

My game is that I get to play music for a living, and I love it. It’s incredibly fulfilling to do something I love and I owe it to those that I love to pursue that. I am very thankful that I get to. Again, I am thankful that I made that choice, and I am fortunate enough to be able to do that. Now, if I want a nicer car, I can go and rent one for a few days and see how it feels. I’m sure I’d regret the payments, so I don’t even bother with that.

Acceptance & No Regret 

By some peoples measuring stick I have failed many times, and I am sure glad that I did. Had I not, I do not know if I would have made most of the friends that I have today. Despite grief, loss, financial hardships, and many bad decisions, I have never been more thankful than I am today. And I have never been happier. I have learned so many lessons this year. Too many to count, but I am going to try to do that. I hope and pray that you can end 2022 with few regrets, and even fewer in 2023.

I found a quote from Hugh Downs that I like to reflect on often. 

“Don’t be afraid to try something. It never hurts as bad as you think to fail. You seldom regret what you do. You regret what you didn’t do. Don’t try to be invulnerable. Don’t worry too much about security. If you build a wall around yourself, you become a prisoner of that wall. Take a chance!” – Hugh Downs

Difficult & Uncertain

This process of reflection can be difficult, I know it’s difficult for me. There seem to be more memories this year, especially of those people in my life that are no longer there. I miss people more in December than other months. Knowing I won’t see them again is hard.

Missing my loved ones also reminds me that my time is uncertain. I don’t know how much time I will have left? And there’s no use worrying about it, it’s just what it is. I can’t guarantee that I can add any days to my life. All I can do is do the best to take care of my health, today.

Good Days & Foggy Days

In December I have good days, and I have foggy days. I don’t call them bad days any more, because I have learned they aren’t bad. I don’t have as many as I used to. I think that has to do with how much effort I spend on being thankful. And it’s not one big thing that I am thankful for, it’s a lot of little things.

I’m just an ordinary guy with ordinary problems, and ordinary circumstances. But on the inside, when I take the time, or rather, when I invest the time, I feel very wealthy, because I am very thankful.

It’s not how much you have around you,
It’s how thankful you feel inside. 
To be thankful, is to be wealthy,  
To have regret, is to be poor,
And you get to choose. 

One thought on “To be Thankful, is to be Wealthy…

  1. Ah, December and birthdays.

    My mother’s birthday was the 15th of December. Growing up, she never had a Birthday party because, well, Christmas was in 10 days and, well, they were farmers and didn’t have extra for two presents so close together. That was why Dad made such a big deal about Mom’s birthday. I always had to give her something nice. Dad gave me the money for the present and, until I was old enough to go on my own, took me to a store to buy what I wanted to give her. Strange thing about Mom’s birthday being on the 15th, sometime around the age when I was old enough to go to Northgate Mall on my own I got it in my head her birthday was on the 13th. So, every year I was ready two days early. A couple years I even asked Dad why we weren’t going out to dinner. He was a bit bewildered why I had the present ready early. Of course, now, it makes perfect sense to me. Like a lot of things wrong in my head, my internal clock is a bit skewed too.

    Like

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