No Friday episode today with the holiday, so here’s a “5 Minute Wednesday.”
As 2019 ended, my wife and I were trying to maximize our time with our first dog Brady. He’d had a leg amputated and was dying of cancer. We were extremely lucky to have him as long as we did, and he wasn’t suffering. But as the months wore on, this cloud hung over our head. We always wondered, “will today be the day he decides he’s ready to leave?” That’s how we spent the last quarter of 2019, with New Year’s Eve fireworks being the moment that he decided to give up the fight. New Year’s Day, we had the whole family over to say goodbye, and that’s what we did the morning of January 2nd. My wife and I looked at each other and said, “we’re gonna chalk this up to 2019, the worst year ever. 2020 will be better, and it starts now.”
Famous last words, right?
You don’t need me to tell you how bad 2020 has been. We’ve been isolated, we’ve lost friends and relatives, jobs, and more. And as we approach the holiday tomorrow, maybe the advice of “Be thankful for what you do have, it’s 2020” rings hollow. Maybe you’re struggling and it’s not easy to have “perspective.”
But at the risk of being cheesy, be grateful not to appease your mother, or your friend who’s had it worse than you this year, but for yourself. According to Positive Psychology.com – the health benefits of gratitude are countless. They include a reduction in depressive symptoms, a drop in blood pressure, improved sleep, and just overall well being. https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-gratitude-research-questions/
I’m not here to preach perspective. But in this giant turd-burger of a year, we could all use a pick-me-up. Find something, however small, and be thankful – not for anyone else, but for your own physical and mental health.
With that in mind, if you’ll indulge me for a moment. I’m thankful, of course, for my health and my business, and the fact that my wife and I are both still working. And of course I’m thankful for her – we’ve been here together, all day, every day, in our small house for the last 8 months…and here’s the thing. We still LIKE each other. In fact, it’s been the running joke. I really can’t think of another person on the planet I could have been confined with for this long and still genuinely like. And we are almost through our big pandemic project – 220 episodes of the Hawaii Five-O reboot down, 30 to go. Because you gotta have goals. Also, I’m thankful for our new dog, Jules. She’s the sweetest thing ever…shows pure love, and keeps us honest and moving, with twice daily walks of 2 miles or more.
This year in particular, I’m grateful for all things podcasting. The ability to record remotely, some amazing clients – both new and established – and the fact that after leaving a career I knew for almost two decades, I was able to find my new passion in the field. I’m also thankful for my peers in podcasting and podcast editing. There’s Steve Stewart’s Podcast Editors Club on Facebook, Editing courses from Carrie Caufield Arick, Tom Kelly, and Tanner Campbell, and of course my monthly meetup with Catherine O’Brien in Baton Rouge, Johnny Peterson in Fort Worth, Matt Cundill in Winnipeg, and David Yas in Boston. In fact, Johnny’s podcast this morning about thankfulness, in part, inspired today’s show.
I was listening to The Daily from the New York Times this morning – they profiled a food bank in New York City. There was a woman who had fallen on hard times and was so thrilled to get cucumbers for salad and chocolate milk for her kids. Look, there’s no doubt that 2020 has been anything BUT sunshine, puppies, and rainbows. But find something – anything – to be grateful for. As we prepare for a long winter, we have to take care of our mental health. So be thankful – not because someone told you to. But because it will help.
Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours.