Another year is beginning to close out, and I like to try every year to list the things I’m thankful for. I figure that I might as well post it here so that I can share with others (for those who actually read these things). I have to admit that I’m struggling more this year than usual. My mom seems to be suffering from depression. a resurgence of mononuclesis, and demyelination of her nerve axons, resulting in poor motor control and memory loss; the herd seems interested only in food; and moving into management has been rough. I’m feeling down a lot lately, so I think it’s even more important to actively find the things to be thankful for and to try to rise above the passive-aggressive “well, at least things aren’t worse” mentality. So, let’s see:
- Health: Aside from a little stuffy these last few days (I blame the rain), I’m in good health. I’ve gained back about 15 of the 40 pounds I lost, but I’m still down 25 from this time last year. My dad is healthy, and as bleak as things feel related to my mom, she is actually better than she was, so that’s encouraging. I had most of my crowns put on (and have paid for all of them now), so hopefully I’ll be good to go mouth-wise for a while. I’ve done a good job of continuing to practice oral hygiene after decades of neglecting it. March 8th will be two years of twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. I realize that might seem like “duh” to most people, but for me, that’s a big achievement.
- Family: Although we don’t talk very often, my family is all on good terms as far as I know. Our infrequent communication has more to do with living very different, busy lives than being at odds.
- Friends: I took a week off a couple of weeks ago to host a friend from England. We spent the whole week relaxing, watching YouTube, eating, and going to various stores to wander around. It was very laid-back, and we both felt rested at the end of it. My best friend and his boyfriend and I have been doing dinner on a semi-regular basis, and we’ve actually come up with a business idea that might actually work. I spent all day working on it (oh, I didn’t go visit my parents because we interviewed a guy at work yesterday who had Covid last week, and out of an abundance of caution, I’m holding off so I don’t potentially infect my mom, who’s immunocompromised). My neighbor is still down about the death of his wife (she had been living with cancer for a long time but is finally at peace), but we enjoy each other’s company when we get together. I’ve met several other of our neighbors at his house, and when the weather cooperates, we all like to get together and drink and chat.
- Herd: While the herd may be being turds at the moment, concerned only with waht they’re going to eat, at least they’re all healthy, and I’m hoping that once it dries out (it has rained a lot the last couple of weeks), I’ll be able to spend some quality time with them, or at least with the donkeys. The horses are kinda standoffish during the winter, so maybe I’ll get some good, quality time with the donkeys instead.
- Home: The tiny house has held up pretty well over the last year. While I still think about expanding it somehow, the truth is that I’m spending a lot of time in front of the computer, not really needing more space. While it would be nice, the drive isn’t really there to go spend a bunch of money, so I’m just working on paying the place off. I built some doors to put on the porch and screened the whole thing in, so now when it’s nice out, I can go out there and enjoy the weather without the bugs. That’s been pretty nice, for sure.
- Vehicles: The truck is back from the shop (I got into a $9500 fender-bender a couple of months ago—yes, fender-bender; I can’t imagine what it would have cost if I’d actually done severe damage…). Fortunately, insurance paid for the bulk of the repairs, so that’s something to be thankful for, too.
- Work: As stressful and frustrating as it is and as inept as I feel at it, I do have to be thankful for my job. First off, I have one, which is good, but it also pays really well, and at least I feel like I might be making some difference as opposed to the last place. I’m thankful for a few of my employees—those hard workers who get things done and keep me sane in spite of the others who seem to have more problems than productivity—and I’m thankful for my boss, who is patient and encouraging. I’m still not convinced that going into management was the right move, but I am confident that if I have a chance of succeeding, it’s because of my boss’s steadfast encouragement and talking me down from ledges. He says there’s a big bonus involved, too. Apparently everybody gets bonuses every year. Everywhere else I’ve worked, they’ve said that there might be bonuses, but if we ever got them (I can count on half a hand how many times that’s happened), they were smaller than a biweekly paycheck. I mean, it’s nice to have gotten a bonus, but it’s nothing like what people say bonuses used to be like, where you’d get your bonus and then buy a car with it or something like that. I don’t think I’d be expecting something that big, but apparently it’s along the lines of like a month’s pay or so, which would be really nice (might make up for the dental and vehicle repair bills, at least!).
- Writing: I’ve really slacked off in the latter half of this year, especially since going into management. But, it’s nice that I can write when I put my mind to it, and it’s nice to still be in demand. Sheesh, I’ve got half a dozen commissions lined up behind the one I’m (slowly) working on. I hate to keep people waiting, but there’s just only so much time and energy in a week.
- Tinkering: I’ve poked around on a few projects here and there this year, but the one I’m currently excited about is an iPhone app I’ve been working on. I’ve tried to write an app a few times in the past, but it’s actually able to display data, reach out to servers to pull up information, and store settings now, which is very exciting because it’s just the beginning: if I can get good at it, then I could start porting some of the PC tools I’ve written to my phone or iPad. So, I’m thankful that I’ve been able to do that and finally make some progress.
- Technology: It’s been an expensive year for technology this year, but it’s been good. I bought myself a PC in January (can’t believe it’s still that year—this year has really gone by slowly), some Sonos speakers around August or September, and an iPad last month or so. While I kinda miss saving up as fast as I was before, it has been nice actually buying some of those things I’d been avoiding for so long in my pursuit of getting stuff paid off. Learning to live in the moment a bit has been nice. And, I’ve gotten good use out of the PC and speakers so far (the iPad less so since I haven’t had it that long and we kinda ran out of “nice” weather shortly after I bought it), so that’s been nice.
So, I think that’s a pretty decent list. I think it might be time to make brownies (something else for which I’m thankful) and watch a movie.