The SNEWS View: Being thankful for time is just the beginning

As the days and weeks tick by, there is so much to be grateful for, and not just at this time of year. For our blogger, time is a gift to be treasured, and she realized she has so much to be very grateful for.
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When I was little, I took a lot for granted: my health, my family, my two legs, my eyesight, that I’d have a good job someday, that I’d retire with the veritable gold watch, that I’d get married, that I’d take vacations like I did with my family… and the list goes on.

Not spoken assumptions for sure, but all assumptions about life and how it would progress.

Thankfully, I can say that a lot on my list has come true, albeit with a few bumps and unforeseen twists in the road along the way. While I have always been the quietly grateful sort, these days I find I want to give thanks more often and more openly.

As I see my father’s eyesight diminish due to macular degeneration, I find increased beauty in every flower petal I can still enjoy.

In those times I experience my mom getting tense and stressed over a family member being late for a function, I realize I too am frequently stressed out and I give thanks for the realization -- and the relaxing power that comes from reminding myself to breathe more deeply.

When I write an obituary for an industry colleague I knew well -- one I used to sit and swap laughs with at a trade show -- I tear up that he was taken so young by such a fast-moving cancer. And I give thanks that I am still healthy, and still alive to be able to share all of life’s rhythms with my many friends and family.

I recall a good buddy, a younger brother type whose cheek you just wanted to pinch he was so cute. He was a young man who was so talented, both athletically and professionally. His smile and attitude lit up a room. I was eager for him to be done with his university years and his journalism major so I could mentor him. I still feel the pain that he apparently did not see enough to be thankful for himself when he took his own life. I give thanks that I knew him for the time I did.

When I kneel in my garden, running my hands through the warm dirt and talking to a plant I just placed in the ground, requesting that it stay healthy and please tell me if something is wrong so I can fix it, I’m thankful I have the ability to kneel and use my hands.

When I give and receive a warm embrace from my husband, I’m thankful we can work together, travel together, play together, garden together and laugh together and still love each other deeply.

As I do often, I recently stopped to stare at photos on our “Wall of Fame/Infamy” -- wacky poses, memories of good times, family moments, athletic moments -- and my glance fell on a photo of myself with my parents from a couple of decades ago. I look fresh-eyed and eager. My dad has a thick chest and smiles comfortably for the camera, leaning in toward me. My mom has a relaxed glint in her eyes. I let myself sink into the moment of the photo, reliving where and when it was. And I realized that my mom is, in that photo, not that much older than I am now. Where did the time go? So many memories packed in such a relatively short span of time.

This year, I will give thanks for being able to sit once again at the Thanksgiving table with my parents -- who knows how many more years that will be true.

Time does seem to move faster as we get older. So this year, I also give thanks for being given the gift of time, so that I can be thankful for every moment before it’s too late.

--Therese Iknoian

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