There is a shed-load of things to be upset about at the moment, most of it we have no control over. But Toseland reminded me this morning there’s still a lot to be grateful for. So, it seemed more important to share my Trifecta of Thanks than what I had originally planned to write.
This is not to say that there isn’t a lot more to be grateful for, but that without these three things, I would not be where I am today.
Trifecta of Thanks
Just in case you don’t know, a trifecta is a kind of bet. Usually on a horse race. Not only do you have to select the first three horses across the line, but you have to pick them in the order of first second and third.
And before you think I am an inveterate gambler, I know this because we have a “race that stops the nation;” the Melbourne Cup. A lucky day for me, because that was the day I got my kidney transplant!
I’m starting with “last” place, because it’s more exciting that way.
Third: My birth family
I say birth family, as I’ve grown into a family that’s bigger and more diverse than the tiny nuclear unit I grew up in.
And I can’t honestly say I loved them the entire time, we fought a lot, and unpleasant things were said and done on all sides. But without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
When my friends tell me they’re having a hard time, I often say (quite flippantly) that without the bad times, you wouldn’t appreciate the good times.
My family taught me what I didn’t want in relationships. Though having said that, my parents were scarred by their wartime experiences, and they did they best they could in a world that was changing faster than they could cope with.
They also taught me:
- If you can hang on long enough, whatever it is will end.
- Some things are better left unsaid.
- You really are strong enough to deal with everything.
I’m not sure I became what my parents hoped for, and given they’re both dead, I can’t ask. In any case, they were kind enough not to express their career aspirations for me. Or perhaps they gave up after the boy they hoped I would marry died in a car crash.
But I am happy, doing work I love, and I think would’ve been contented with that.
Second: My now family
Leaving aside my temporary doglessness… And the other creatures I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my life with.
There was this guy I met a while back; I don’t even remember the first few times I met him. But he seemed to like me, and we had some fun, and now we’re heading towards our 25th wedding anniversary. I have no idea how that happened.
We do our share of fighting, but thanks to lessons from my blood family, I’m better at resolving them now.
And then there are our friends, past and present, in Australia and across the world. People I don’t see for years, yet when we catch up, it’s like we’ve never been apart. The ones who remember my birthday without Facebook reminders (often when I don’t), can carry a joke across the decades, and so much more;
- “Howls of derisive laughter Bruce” and “Cheer up Brian” (Monty Python)
- zen hugs
- “Don’t Panic” (Douglas Adams)
- who always bring Champagne when they visit
- who are always ready to go out for lunch (normal circumstances permitting)
People will come and go in your life, some for a short time, and some for longer. Regardless, they also have things to teach us:
- your life sucks, but at least you don’t have x, y, or z to worry about.
- the smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.
- listening is often better than talking.
First: My kidney donor and their family
You see, the thing Toseland reminded me about, was that under slightly different circumstances, I would not be alive today. And all things considered, being alive is most likely better than being dead.
So I ow my donor and their family a great debt. Melodramatic as it sounds, none of this would be possible without them.
Aside from my Trifecta of Thanks, there’s a lot else to be grateful for. Most of it I rarely think about.
Things like clean running water, electricity, central heating, public transport, credit cards, my coffee maker.
And even less obvious, things like fresh air, sunshine, and birdsong.
In the depths of dark time, it’s good to remind yourself that things could be worse. So, at the end of the day, try to come up with your own Trifecta of Thanks. They don’t have to be big, grand things, just things your life would be less happy without.