I am grateful for the fact that I have never killed anyone in my life so far. When I turned 18 in 1974, I signed up for the draft as was required by the law, and I received a draft number that had a high likelihood of being called up. I had to think about joining the Navy as my father did in the 1950s during the Korean Conflict. Or possibly resign myself to going to jail for refusing to be called up. I was a confirmed pacifist from early on in my life (a result of the trauma caused by being secretly a victim of a sexual assault at the age of ten.) So, I lucked out and the draft was suspended before the government would’ve decided to draft me in 1975.
I also did not ever cause the death of anyone by a traffic accident, household accident, or any other accidental way. As long as I am still driving, I have to use the caveat that I have not killed anyone yet.
I am also grateful for pessimism. I have been accused of being optimistic about many things. But I would argue it is a tactical advantage to be firmly pessimistic. I look at every possible outcome of any and all undertakings. I plan on things going wrong, including serious thought being given to how I will deal with huge roadblocks to my goals, concocting workable plans B, C, D, and even all the way to Z. Being a pessimist means you will not put all the Easter eggs in one basket, especially the basket the drunken Easter bunny plans on hiding at the bottom of the river in a bag full of stones. I am not deterred in my quests by the first, second, or third obstacle. I am willing to rent scuba equipment to deal with the drunken bunny thing. I do not get downhearted because I expected the worst to happen. And I deal with it for as long as it is possible. Persistence and preparedness are worth far more than luck and chance. And this is where I have to endure the inevitable claim that I am secretly an optimist. I confess. I do believe I can wear down and conquer anything. If that’s optimism, then I have to insist that I have renamed it the “Fruits of Pessimism.”
And I am also grateful for the chance to become a nudist, even though not until late in life because it represents a victory over the monster that abused me when I was ten. He left me with a lifelong fear of being naked in the presence of others, extreme difficulty with having a sex life, including self-harm to my private parts, a fear of becoming a homosexual or a child molester, and deep depression about all this stuff I felt I had to keep secret. My mother and father both died without knowing it happened. But my wife and children know. My sisters both know. And I was able to spend last Memorial Day weekend with nudists at the Bluebonnet Nudist Park. I am now liberated of all the things that once made me feel like a monster and made me hate myself. His ghost has no further power over me. And I am grateful.
I know I am probably the only person in the US grateful for these three things all at the same time. But I think the most important things to be grateful for in life are the things you have overcome, and the means you have for overcoming them.