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On Giving Thanks…

November 23, 2011 by · 6 Comments 

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At this time of year, while the hustle and bustle of the holiday and end of the year celebrations create more tasks and responsibilities for us, it is appropriate to take a few moments to give thanks for those things for which we are most grateful. Along the lines of Oprah’s Gratitude Journal, in which she suggests we daily list the top three, five or ten things for which we are most grateful, the practice helps us to more fully appreciate those things most important to us. So, following my own advice, something which all good therapists should do, here is my current list:

Children

My children: Kate, Meghan and Ryan

1. Family

At the top of my list, similar to the top of most of yours, I assume, is my family. My children mean more to me than life itself. I give to them more than I have ever given any other and I want more for them than words can express. While all parents love and care for their children, I am also prouder of them than I ever imagined. And even more than people to be proud of, my children have turned into warm, caring, loving people who are a joy to spend time with. While I do not get to see them as often these days as I wish because they are busy with their own lives, I do stay in contact in every way possible: telephone, internet, texting, Facebook and sending the occasional care package their way.

Another very important aspect of my appreciation for family involves my husband, Terry. Many of you have heard about him in previous posts but I have not said much about our relationship in the past. While we spend most of our traveling days together, we are actually very different, personality-wise. I am a planner; I am organized; I pay our bills and schedule our trips and appointments. Terry is more flexible and spontaneous. While I keep him organized and his bills paid, he does much more for me. He keeps me living in the moment and pushes me to experience much more than I ever would, or could, without him. I will be pondering our next move or scheduling payments online, and he will come in from outside and say, “The moon is full tonite; want to go for a walk?” Who could refuse?

TerryWhile he can also be one of the most frustrating people I know, no matter how upset with him I am, I always consider him my best friend. I can tell him anything; we can talk about everything. But most importantly, he challenges me to move beyond the safe cocoon of the world I have created for myself and to push the envelope in ways I could not imagine doing without him. He does not push me with his hands; not even with his words. He pushes me with his ideas; with suggestions and thoughts that take me outside the worlds of the possible and the probable; that push me to do things I would never dream of.

camper

Our little camper

2. Sufficient money to travel

While we are by no means wealthy, and will, in fact, be closing our small mental health clinic in the early months of 2012 as it has become more and more difficult to make ends meet, I am thankful that we have enough money to be able to meet our basic needs and to travel. We are not extravagant people; our needs are simple. We have our little camper and, other than paying (often) minimal costs for a site and expenses for gas, much of which we would face anyway, we are able to travel fairly inexpensively. This enriches our world immensely as I believe you can always learn from traveling; how other people live, other points of view, important things about the world. I am grateful we are able to do this. And to do it with Terry.

3.  Health to travel

While we are both “getting up there” and are certainly a little “longer in the tooth” than when we started traveling, Terry and I are both basically healthy and, other than needing to lose a few extra pounds (that would be me) in fairly good shape. We do have the occasional aches and pains, especially when we push ourselves a bit too hard, but are able to do all of the things we enjoy, including climbing all of the 14,000 foot peaks we have chosen to attempt to date. For that, I am grateful.

Ryan and Meghan

Ryan and Meghan on our trip last summer

4. Freedom to roam this country and the world

In these days of great political strife and discord, I appreciate the fact that we have the freedom to travel, both within our dear country, and also to other parts of the world. I believe it enriches us to experience other styles of living and also to see the beauty and the wildness with which we are blessed. For the ability to experience these things, I am grateful.

5. You!

Last but not least,  I am thankful for you, dear readers. Groups and communities like this one make travel easier and more pleasurable by providing information and insight, sharing experiences and ideas. Is there a more wonderful way or reason to connect than over the activity of travel; sharing destinations, trips, and tips for how to do it easier or more enjoyably? Over the past two years I have greatly enjoyed the comments and thoughts you have shared with me and I look forward to hearing much more from you in the future.

While there are many other gifts I have in my life, these are the five the top the list as I sit here and contemplate my gratitude. Perhaps next year the list will change, but somehow I think these five items will always be near the top of the list. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and Happy Travels!

Comments

6 Responses to “On Giving Thanks…”
  1. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy Dr. Berry & family,

    We also want to wish y’all a HAPPY THANKSGIVING and a fruitful Black Friday!!! We also want to thank you for your great articles and the scary serial moments you throw at us!!! WHEW!!! I just knew Megan had found a grizzly bear up the wrong trail and was hanging on a piece of brush out over a 1000 foot drop!!!! Glad her big brother discovered her first, before you wrote that part of the story!!!!

    I thought y’all were ‘old folks’, talking about retiring to Taos and all.. We’ve got kids older than y’all!!!

    Hope all is going well in the ‘snow-belt’ until you get that trailer sliding down to the Land of Enchantment.

  2. Diane Berry says:

    Hey butterbean–thank you for your kind words. Will have to think about incorporating your clever ideas about the bear and all in an upcoming post, but hopefully not in real life. I guess we are just retiring from our current “lives” and moving on to other endeavors, such as doing some teaching and more writing.
    No snow where we are yet but the northern part of the state is white.
    I wanted to let you know, butterbean, that I always look forward to your comments and appreciate your feedback.
    Have a wonderful holiday!

  3. I have just read your post and it made me realize how simple things are the most important.
    I think camping is the best for those who like simple things and can live without luxury hotels.
    All the best.
    Beata

  4. Diane Berry says:

    I agree Beata. Thank you for your insight. My best to you as well!

  5. Wow – what a beautiful and heartfelt post. The world would benefit from more openhearted people like you. Thank you for sharing.

    Elyse

  6. Diane Berry says:

    Thank you for your comment, Elyse, and your kind words. So glad you enjoyed the post.
    Diane

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