Being Thankful

Yesterday, after our simple and delicious Thanksgiving meal (cod, in honor of the Pilgrims who landed at Cape Cod nearly four centuries ago; potatoes, in honor of the South American natives who cultivated them and the Europeans who transported them back home; and cranberries, in honor of the bogs full of berries that Europeans found on the coast of a land they named Massachusetts after a native tribe living there), Jarda and I took some time to be thankful.

We each looked back at each decade of our lives and chose two or three events, people, and opportunities for which we were most thankful.

By the decades, I am thankful for 

1950-1960: I am thankful for my parents and brother who took care of me every day, and for my extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who so kindly included me in their lives.

A Doyel Christmas: the children's table
1960-1970: I am thankful for my teachers are school and at church who saw something of value in me and encouraged me to develop my skills and talents, and for my friends who were so much fun to be with!

DHS classmates in Louisville, a few decades after graduation!
1970-1980: I am thankful for my first husband and my children who let me care for them, and for my little home in Rossie, so snug and cozy.
Noah and me in Rossie
1980-1990: I am thankful for my college years at Potsdam State and the many professors, adminstrators, and classmates who made my time there so interesting and fruitful, for my jobs at St Lawrence University and The University of the South, and for my friendship with Jarda.

Melissa at 8 Jay Street, Canton
1990-2000: I am thankful for being part of the Czech transition from Communism to a free market, democratic country through my company, the International Leadership Institute, for the many people who helped us run our Czech leadership and language development programs, and for my job at Providence School  where I helped students get ready for their English classes in college.

Czech language students in St Augustine
2000-2010: I am thankul for my children growing into mature and responsible adults, my marriage to Jarda, my crazy Dachshund Klaus, and the opportunity to grow spiritually.

Jarda, Klaus and me at St Mary's GA
2010-2105: I am grateful for the time I lived in the mystical city of Prague, the wonderful friends I made there, the chance to connect with Jarda's family, and my job at Seminole State College, where I can help students improve their writing skills and succeed in graduating from college.

At Hradcany
This kind of short exercise is useful for figuring out what makes you tick. I can see that my relationships with people are by far the most important parts of my life, and I can also see how blessed I have been with the people who have let me take care of them and who have taken care of me. I have traveled quite a bit, lived abroad, had several careers, and otherwise changed from my childhood self, but in every way that counts, I have never changed at all: people are what I live for.

So I am thankful that there are 7 billion people in the world, meaning that I will never lack for someone to care for and someone to care for me. This, I know, is the best way to spend my life.


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