Just Keep Swimming

45 Things I'm Grateful for In My Life

45 years old. Wow. That is a decent amount of living. I'm at the stage now where I think of something from my past and I want to say, 'this happened 20 years ago', and then it strikes me that I need to add on 15 more years for accuracy. Time has a way of keep on moving, and my references become increasingly dated.

45 years may be a long time, but it also means I have many things in my life that I can be grateful about. I have learned quite a few valuable things through the years, but one of the biggest is the key to a happy and fulfilling life is being grateful. I don't always remember this truth, but I try to appreciate all the amazing things that I have had in my life.

On this day where I turn the big 45 years old, I decided to list 45 things that I am grateful for having in my life.

1. Emily. My wife. My love. The person who pushes me to be better every single day of my life. It is my goal to strive to make her realise how much I appreciate her in my life.

2. Everett. I'm amazed by my son's talents and gifts. I love that he is into writing, musical theatre, and the arts. One of the things that makes me most proud is learning how he goes out of his way to make other kids feel included at school, and the incredible empathy he shows to others.

3. Danika. My warrior princess has definitely made my life far more exciting and entertaining. She also reminds how important it is to really love life, and to spread that love to as many people as possible.

4. My pets. No one makes me feel as loved as Piper and Frio. Mittens is one of the most affectionate cats that I've ever known. Also RIP to my still beloved Summit and Crosby.

5. My parents. The older I get then the more that I appreciate their love, support, and guidance through the decades.

6. My siblings. I cherish the many amazing memories that we've created through the decades.

7. Emily's family. Emily's mom has been an incredible support for our family. It has been a pleasure getting to know Emily's siblings and their spouses to the point that I'd now consider them treasured friends.

8. Friends. I have some of the greatest friends in the world who have been a constant support, encouragement, and inspiration.

9. Good neighbours. We currently have some pretty kind and fun neighbours that will display random acts of kindness like help me get rid of the country sized load of leaves that fall on our property. I am also grateful for past neighbours who grew into great friends.

10. Writing. It is not only my career, but large pieces of my heart and soul.

11. Being creative. I always feel weird being openly grateful for my skills and gifts. It feels like bragging. But I have learned to appreciate the fact that ideas come to me like water during a downpour, and that crafting stories has always come natural to me.

12. The Movie Breakdown. I have been doing the podcast with Scott for almost a decade now. I am grateful we have been able to keep doing it for so long, and I am thankful for the value it has added to my life.

13. My readers and listeners. It always amazes me that there are strangers who love to read or listen to the things that I create. I am so grateful for your incredible support.

14. Clients. My dream may be to be a successful novelist. I would love to grow this site and the podcasts into a major part of my career. For now, I am so thankful for those incredible people that deem my work good enough to pay me.

15. Books. I love them in all their forms. I love books about history. I love books aiming to be funny. I love novels. Books make me happy. I love that both my kids adore them too.

16. He-man and the Masters of the Universe. I had so many of the toys and castles when I was a kid. I loved this world. I also loved the cartoon, and as a kid, I was also part of a fan club and got a monthly magazine. I am extra grateful that the series has been revived, so now Everett loves it too.

17. Acts of kindness. Far too many people to mention have done some brave and magical acts pushed by nothing but kindness and empathy towards me through the decades. Thank you.

18. Beyond the Balcony. I love this little site. I love that you are reading it right now. Thank you.

19. Video games. I almost never have the time to play them anymore outside of occasional games with Everett. I loved me some Sega Genesis and NES back in my childhood. It was a hobby that helped spark my creativity and push me to tell different type of stories.

20. Stephen King. He is one of the bestselling novelist of all-time, and one of the best-known writers of my generation. Yet, I still think he is vastly underrated because he has always been about more than horror. He has been about crafting living and breathing humans in engaging and intriguing small towns. His stories have been a great inspiration to my writing.

21. My failures. Because they teach me more than my success. They are my motivations to push harder for my dreams.

22. People in the service industry. You work hard for often very little pay. Most of the time you have served me with a giant smile on your face and striving to do your very best. Thank you. 

23. Movies. I have loved them since I was very young. They fuel my imagination. Now, I often get paid to write about them, so I now have more reasons to be grateful they exist.

24. Computers. They have made writing far easier. They have also made getting distracted far easier. But I appreciate all the things these machines provide.

25. Emails or comments from readers. Sometimes I get a message thanking me for something that I wrote or telling how my words positively impacted their day. These are treasures to me. I appreciate every single one that I've received.

26. Sushi. I came late to the party, but I've enjoyed its magical charms for the past 15 years.

27. House renovations. It was a crazy year plus, but I am grateful for all hard work that was put into our new deck, kitchen, and other rooms. 

28. Swim spa. One of the other fun bonuses that arrived with the renovations, and I have had a few very fun afternoons with my part fish children.

29. Pie. Because it is pie.

30. Numerous second chances. Because I've needed more than one.

31. NaNoWriMo. Because what else would I do in November?

32. Roger Ebert. He taught me that film criticism is more than declaring if a movie was worth watching. He is one of the all-time great writers, but also seemed to be an award-winning human being. He has had a profound influence on my career and writing.

33. Comic books. I don't collect anymore due to cost and time. They were a major part of my childhood, and have played a huge part in how I tell and view stories.

34. Nature. It is real life magic. I try to allow myself to be stunned and awed by it every day.

35. History. It is the best way to appreciate how we got here, and to figure out where we should go.

36. Science. I wouldn't say my mind is one that grasps most of the complicated concepts. I find it incredible fascinating, and love how we keep learning more each day about how our world and universe works.

37. Star Wars. It is as old as me. It provided me pure joy and wonder throughout my childhood. It still stands as my favourite movie and series of all-time. Now, I love sharing it with my kids.

38. Teachers. There have been several teachers through my years that instilled a love of learning, creativity, and writing that made me a better person. I now appreciate my kids are getting a new generation of incredible teachers to inspire and guide them.

39. Sense of humour. Because not everything needs to be serious.

40. Coffee. Because as a writer, I am required to thank the fuel that drives us. 

41. Opportunities. We need to appreciate and recognize them when they come.

42. Adventure games. A very specific type of video/computer game, but I need to acknowledge the hours of pleasure I got in my younger years playing games like The Secret of Monkey Island. Space Quest, Grim Fandango, and so many more. 

43. Music. In all its forms. I was a rock and roll guy in my younger years but I've since learned to love pop, rap, classical, R&B, and various other types.

44. Back to the Future. Why wouldn't I be thankful for the perfect movie?

45. You.