About this time of year my family starts to put together their Christmas list. It’s not just the kids. Adults, too, are encouraged (even expected) to produce a list of the stuff they’d like to receive for Christmas.
Instead, I propose we do a Gratitude List. A list of the things we are most grateful for and, frankly, could probably not live without.
Not in any particular order are just a few of the things I am grateful for this Thanksgiving.
Having meaningful work to do every day. Work should be about more than a paycheck. Doing meaningful work that people value and appreciate gives a person a sense of purpose, a reason to get out of bed on a Monday morning. After a long period of unemployment in the early 90’s, I haven’t had to look for a job for over 25 years. Wow. So grateful for that one.
Longtime clients that have allowed me to put my finger on the pulse of their financial lives, often for years or even decades, as well as total strangers that somehow find the courage to let me be their financial advisor even when they’ve known me only for a short time. These two always blow me away and I never take this trust for granted.
Enough income to pay the bills, save for the future, and share with others. It’s that last one that I am especially grateful for.
Healthy, happy kids. Enough said.
A happy, stable marriage and a wife who loves me. Most relationships have at least one partner who is “high maintenance”. In mine, that would be me. I am so grateful that my wife puts up with my indulgences, issues and many shortcomings. If you have a happy marriage, consider yourself fortunate. I know I am. In fact, if you have a happy marriage, healthy and happy kids, and enough income to pay the bills on time, you’ve pretty much got it all.
Underground parking. I know. I am spoiled.
A safe, comfortable, clean, quiet and respectful work environment.
Good schools and safe neighborhoods. A baseline that should be available to everyone, but sadly is not.
Healthy, active parents. Our parents are in their 70’s and 80’s. Once in a while I have to endure the inconvenience of taking my parents to the airport. Or I have to get up early to turn up the heat at their house before they return home from an extended trip (probably to come to one of our kids’ many events). But 99% of the help and support comes from their direction: they fix our appliances, watch our kids, and provide kid transportation on a regular basis. I have enough friends and clients who have aging parents with real problems to know that it literally does not get any better than this. We are blessed beyond words.
A support staff that shores up my weaknesses, keeps my calendar full and makes it possible for me to do the work I do – even when I am not always around to do it. As you probably already know, Jean and Kristine are the best! But they are just the tip of the spear. We also have a team of compliance professionals, back office specialists, outside vendors, strategic partners and others who make it possible for me to do my job.
Casual Fridays and a flexible schedule. I know these things are unrelated but there are certain perks of my job that make it extra special – the ability to work my own schedule, having control over my office space and how I present myself to the world, to name just a few.
A roof over my head, lights that turn on, a seemingly infinite supply clean water that is always nearby, food on the table, an office that is still standing… It’s the things that I don’t give a second thought to that I am most grateful for. The wildfires in California, shootings in …well, everywhere, hurricanes and other natural disasters, wars across the globe, these are constant reminders that what we most take for granted should also be what we most appreciate.
What is on your Gratitude List?
By the way, I hope you enjoyed the short video at the start of this post. As someone who has bombed my share of holiday dinners, I can totally relate.