The holiday season is upon us. Normally, I love this time of year. I love everything to do with Christmas and like. I make no bones about the fact that I like to buy gifts for people at Christmas and I am ok with that. This year Mrs. ROB and I are doing gift giving a little differently, something I will expand in a later post. Although I love Christmas and the holiday season something about this year seems a little different. It has been a tough year in the ROB household. We have suffered through miscarriages, more sickness this year than in years past, and some financial difficulty. We have to pay for some things out of pocket (e.g. the bathroom and electrical panel) that I wasn’t expecting. Also, we have an inordinate amount of medical bills this year, probably at least $3-4k more than normal. Also, I feel burned out at work and had more work foisted upon me this semester. Granted, I could have said no and it is also self-imposed work, but I am behind on things, more so than normal and I HATE being behind. I am looking forward to Christmas where we can gather with family and friends for a couple of weeks.
Tomorrow, we will be having a Thanksgiving with friends and the following week get to see some other good friends, so that will be good, but when I reflect on things I have to gain a little perspective about where I am at. There are so many things to be thankful for in my life. I have it pretty good. I am blessed and here are some of those blessings in my own life:
- I am thankful for Mrs. ROB. I have never laughed more with anyone in my life.
- I am thankful for my family. My parents, brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece and nephews are wonderful people.
- I am thankful to Mrs. ROB’s family. I have always felt welcome from my in-laws. They are wonderful people and I am proud to call them part of my family.
- I am thankful for our dog. Spooner is really the best dog in the world. He is our baby. We spoil him rotten, but I am ok with that. He always brightens my day.
- I am thankful for good friends. While Mrs. ROB and I don’t have a lot of friends where we live, the ones we do are really top notch and I wish we actually spent more time with them. Also, I am thankful for the friends I have across the country, particularly in Minnesota (my home state). They have been my friends for decades and I look forward to decades more friendship. I just wish we were closer.
- I am thankful we are home owners. While I sometimes hate our house because of the endless work we seem to have to put into it I like the idea of having a home and while this might not be our forever house it has a good foundation for now.
- I am thankful for a job I love. I am one of the few who go to work everyday and for the most part enjoy it. Everyday is different.
- I am thankful for the colleagues I have. I work with some wonderful people who make me look good. They are fantastic people inside and out and it is a privilege to work with them.
- I am thankful for colleagues beyond my university. I have lots of extended friendship across the United States because of my job. These folks are brilliant. I am in awe of their teaching and research abilities and strive to be more like them. I thank them for including me, every once in a while, in their own shenanigans, particularly my co-authors who have become my friends as well.
- I am thankful I am paying off debt. Although we have had a little financial difficulty over the past couple of months, I am still paying down debt. I probably won’t hit my goal this year, but I get one step closer to being debt free every month.
- I am thankful for a great year in the stock market. This year my investments have returned almost 30%. It really has been a great year and I just keep piling money in. I know it can’t last forever, but I will enjoy the ride, lament the fact that it goes down, and enjoy the ride when it goes up again.
- I am thankful for my health insurance. One of the great benefits of living/working in New England is that my employer health insurance will pay for a lot of the costs associated with IVF. We are still taking that train (more on that later) but any costs that do occur are minimal compared to what we might have to spend.
- I am thankful I get to travel for my job. In July we were in Norwich, England for a conference. I wish we could’ve explored more, but just didn’t have the time. In May I will be in Greece with students. And hopefully we can go on a vacation to Europe or the Caribbean or something. I have most of my travel expenses covered so that is a wonderful thing.
THose are just some things that I am personally thankful in my own life. I am certainly thankful that I live in the United States. For all of its faults, it is still a pretty cool place to live. I am thankful for good movies, food, wine, Game of Thrones, etc.
What are you thankful for?