Give Thanks

Are you grateful for the life you have? Before you answer, take some time to really think about that question for a moment. Man has spent most of the last several thousand years pondering the reason and purpose of life. Faiths and religion have promised the answers. Science tries to quantify and explain it on a biological level. Yet here we are in the year 2011 and the answer to the question, “what is the meaning of life,” is still as elusive as ever. While I truly believe that each individual must discover the purpose of their own life. I think generally speaking the answer to that question is much simpler than we make it. I think simply put; the meaning of life is to live it.

So if the purpose and meaning of life is to live, than are we really accomplishing that? There is a stark contrast between being alive and living. Anyone who dreams of escaping the cubicle knows exactly what I’m talking about. However, it seems that in general civilization has adopted a policy of existing rather than living. Look at our lives today. It would appear that the bare minimum has become the by-word for not just work ethic, but life-ethic. It is rare to find people today with a joy and thirst for experiences and new things. We lack people who reach beyond mediocrity and inspire others.

At first glance it would seem that striking out into the world on a search for unconventional lifestyles and more satisfaction would stem from a certain attitude of ingratitude. After all in this economic quagmire of today, shouldn’t people be grateful for what they have and be thankful for any job they can get? To those who feel that way I think you have mistaken settling for gratitude. I think you have allowed others to tell you what you deserve and can have, instead of deciding for yourself what you are worth. I think you’ve bought into that lie and illusion that is so prevalent in America today; that there are limited resources and opportunities out there and if you want yours then you have to take it from someone else. This is the same attitude that believes the solution to the economic woes of the US is to take money from the wealthy (most of whom have worked hard to earn it) and redistribute it to many who have done nothing to deserve it.

Here’s a simple truth; there are billions of dollars to be made in the world right now. All you need to claim your share is to get off your ass and apply yourself to something. The world is full of potential right now and despite the general state of the economy, there are people making fortunes by exploiting the current situation to launch their dreams. They see opportunity and hope where others surrender to despair. What they have that many don’t is faith; in who they are, in their abilities, and product. Likewise these people have the tenacity to make it happen despite the setbacks. They know the world gives to those who do and try, not to the whiners and naysayers. This is gratitude at its purest and most sincere. It’s saying thank you for the life given to me and the opportunities filling the world. It’s saying that I have been given the power to make a difference in my life and I will use it; instead of sitting on the couch whining, complaining, and waiting for a better day.

You don’t need to thirst for wealth, power, or fame, to be driven. Above all else I desire satisfaction from my life. I want a career I enjoy. Wealth would be nice but as a whole I want an income level that gives me freedom to travel and explore the world. Contrary to what many of us are told this does not require millions of dollars or even hundreds of thousands. All it needs to work is the desire to get it done and the discipline to make it happen. I’ve learned that I have filled my life with too much crap that does little for me. In a way it clouds and distorts my view of the world and it’s time to clear the fog. Thankfully I live in a nation where I can say I’m ready for change. I can go after my dreams and by and large the Nation will leave me alone and let me do it.

This brings me to my final point. Are you grateful to live where you do? I know that posting this on the internet opens the discussion up to an international audience. So for the sake of levity I ask my American readers; are you grateful to live in The United States? I am the first to rant about many of the problems I see in this country and to remark about it woes and weaknesses. At least I have the freedom to express that. I have been around the world and can tell you from experience that despite what you may believe there are not many places today where you can talk about your government and its leaders as you can here. Much of the world is living under the umbrella of true poverty, where every day is a test of survival.

Many people I admire have left the US and taken up residency in other nations. They claim to be seeking a simpler and more down to earth existence. I respect that and I admit that I’d love to move to Costa Rica or South America and get away from some of the headaches of this materialistic society. However I wonder if that is the answer we need in this nation. There are problems here and we need leaders and people of character to address them. This nation for good or bad has enabled me to develop into the creative person I am. It has allowed me to see the places in the world that are suffering and lacking. However it is now my country that is rotting from the inside out. Should I abandon it and wash my hands of the whole affair. Should I walk away and hope that someone else has the compassion and fortitude to do what needs to be done and address the issue plaguing my home.

The United States is my home. I am proud to be a citizen of this country. For all its problems, and shortcomings I still see something great here. I still see a place where you can come from anywhere in the world and make a life for yourself here. Yes our government is lost in a fantasy land of denial and irresponsibility, at least in that though it is starting to finally reflect the people who which it represents. There are issues and they are big, but turning my back on this nation solves nothing. With great power and freedom comes great responsibility. This nation has given me much and I will show my gratitude by giving it a chance. Will you? This thanksgiving holiday choose to show your gratitude my making the place you live better.

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