A few of the things I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving:
- Faith -- I'm incredibly thankful for my Christian faith. It shapes the core of who I am, gives me purpose and meaning, and a confidence that all things will work out in the end and fills my life with joy, hope and love.
- Family -- Being so close to them both relationally and physically. To have a family that loves you is one of the most precious gifts anyone could ask for.
- Friends -- Those in Virginia and around DC, those in Orlando, and those all over the world. I am truly blessed by all of them.
- Freedom -- I feel blessed to have not only the civil liberties, but by the breadth of opportunities we have in America. There are very few things I would want to do that I am not free to do. I never fully appreciated this until I started traveling to places where this is not true.
- Technology -- I truly marvel at the many wonders of the Internet, cellular phones, computers, medicine, air transportation, electricity, indoor plumbing, incandescent lighting, automobiles, GPS, iPods, etc. It changes our lives in so many tremendous ways. Thinking about how much the world has changed in the last 100 years makes me feel blessed to live in the time we live in. Being a gadget lover makes the rapid advance of technology all the more enjoyable. I'm thankful for the enjoyment too.
- Travel -- I've been able to travel to all 50 states, 28 countries, and all 7 continents. There are few things I love more than travel and have been truly blessed in how much of the world I've been able to see.
- School -- I also feel incredibly blessed to have been able to have had the opportunities to pursue most of the intellectual pursuits I've wanted and the funding to make it possible.
- Wealth -- This might sound strange coming from a grad student who eats a lot of Ramen noodles. But chances are if you're reading this blog, you're one of the wealthiest people to have ever walked the face of this planet. Even in the midst of the current financial crisis, we live in a time of unprecedented abundance -- much of it so ubiquitous we don't even notice it (see the list of technology above). Our lifespans are longer, our opportunities greater, and many things in life are far more convenient than at any time in human history. I may not have all the stuff I'd like to buy, but there is very little I don't have that I truly need.
- Health -- I am incredibly thankful for my health and to having been doctor-free for years.
- America -- I love my country and the ideals it represents. The more I learn about the founding of the country, the more I feel gratitude and indebtedness for the liberty and institutions that support it that has been passed to this generation of Americans. Our country is not perfect by any means, but I am thankful for our nation and my cultural heritage. There is no other place or time I'd rather live.
- Humor -- I'm grateful for the ability to laugh and to see humor in life. Even in the midst of law school.
- Economics -- The more I study economics, the more it helps me appreciate the things I have, the wonderfulness of markets, prosperity, and liberty. Next to my Christian faith, I don't think there anything else I have learned that has had a more profound impact on helping me understand and appreciate the things I am blessed with in this life.
- Where I Live -- I'm currently living in Arlington, Virginia -- a block away from the subway, walking distance to school, and at the footsteps of our nation's capital. I can walk to just about any store or restaurant I want and ride the Metro to anyplace not walking distance from here. As far as pure location goes, this is the best place I have ever lived. (Although living 20-minutes from Disney World had it's perks too.) I am thankful to have a roof over my head, a warm shelter, and a nice place to study, sleep, and relax. Being an hour from mom and dad's and even closer to my brother and his family makes this almost perfect.
- Passing the Virginia Bar -- Something that didn't seem at all certain after taking the exam in July. Combined with graduating law school this past May, it was a nice victory. From a learning perspective, preparing for the bar helped underscore much of what I learned in law school and helped bring my understanding of law into a more coherent whole.
- Losing Weight -- After putting on about 5 pounds while studying for the bar this summer, I successfully lost 20 pounds in the last 10 weeks and am still going strong. It's the first time in my life I've ever seriously tried something like this and I am amazed and grateful at how successful this endeavor has been.
- Chipotle -- This may sound funny, but to me, Chipotle represents the variety and abundance of high-quality, cheap food we have all around us. A trip to Wegman's or your local grocery store underscores this. I've never gone hungry in my life nor have most of my friends. This is incredible by historical (and world) standards and something else I am truly grateful for.
I am truly blessed.
Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!