As I approach the prime of my life
I find I have the time of my life
Learning to enjoy at my leisure all simple pleasures,
And so I happily concede --
This is all I ask, this is all I need.
- Gordon Jenkins
If you want to complain in the English language, there’s no shortage of words to help you do it. You can beef, bellyache, bitch, gripe, grouse, grouch, grumble, kick, kvetch, murmur, whine and yawp. But if you want to be grateful, Roget’s Thesaurus offers only three synonomous options. You can be appreciative, thankful or obliged. Words for complaining outnumber words for gratitude by 12-3. So I’ll do the best I can.
The thing is, I have a lot to be grateful for, starting with where and when I was born – in the young city of Vancouver in the middle of the last century. They say timing is everything, and we Baby Boomers had nothing if not good timing. Born into the most affluent age imaginable, we grew up free to do whatever we liked. Our particular family was working class poor, but compared to most of the world we lived in the lap of luxury.
I’m grateful that democracy here happens at the ballot box and not with tanks and bloodshed in the city squares. I’m thankful that I’ve never had to go to war and I appreciate, and am obliged to, those who have.
I’m grateful for a health care system that works so well that even Justin Bieber notices. I’m thankful for people like cops and nurses and paramedics who deal with our mistakes. And I’m obliged to my fellow citizens for mostly behaving themselves most of the time.
I’m sure grateful for my family, for our good health and fortune. I'm thankful that I have the luxury of time to appreciate this spectacular frosty clear day in Vancouver, with the mountains in sharp relief and eagles wheeling high above. Despite the cold, snowdrops, forsythia and rhododendrons are bursting into flower. The songbirds are returning and the days are getting longer -- spring’s inexorable green fuse has been lit.
For which I’m much obliged, not to mention thankful, appreciative and grateful.