Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Glass of All Your Thanks

With a mere forty-nine days remaining until beginning the next chapter of my life, I have been heeding the advice of some of PC Thailand Group 124's members, namely, "Enjoy your life, family, and friends as much as you can before you join us." Now, this isn't to say that I'm leaving something wonderful and joyous for something that exists on the opposite end of the spectrum; rather, I will not be able to replicate such important aspects of my life there and need to enjoy them thoroughly before I go, while at the same time, embarking on a new adventure that promises to challenge, inspire, and transform me.

Yesterday being Thanksgiving, I took additional time to reflect upon the parts of my life that make me, me, and gave thanks for their existence.

My incredible parents: I am lucky to have such close relationships with my mother and father. Their undying and unconditional love is more than any one person could possibly ask for. They have let me live my life and given me the support necessary, regardless of whether or not they believe it to be the best idea. Mom and Dad have given me the morals, intelligence, and strength necessary to make a difference in this world, and a mere "thank you" is not even a drop in the bucket of what I owe them.

A big brother, and subsequent big sister: The person closest to me in every way, Todd is everything to me. We have a connection that is not second to anyone else in the world- Our thoughts, idiosyncrasies, facial expressions, senses of humor, anxieties, and non-verbal communication are, without fail, always the same. He is my hero and I feel blessed to have somebody in this crazy world always understand exactly what I say, mean, and feel, even without a single word. Todd married a stunningly beautiful (in so many ways) woman, Kalen, who has been a huge blessing in my life in her own right. Smart, creative, nerdy, full of great advice, and brazenly fun, I can't imagine a life without her. Together, they gave me...

The opportunity to be an uncle: Evangeline Padzensky, newest member of the Padzensky clan, was born November 22nd, 2012- Thanksgiving. Every baby I've ever seen have all looked alike, until her. Head full of dark hair, big brown eyes, she is a complete replica of Todd. Never have I just stared at a picture of anyone or anything, had tears run down my face, and feel complete love like I did the first time I saw her. She is perfect.

Craig, Tim, and Nadia: Three people who have helped shape my life and will continue to do so. Through them, I have become a better person and strive to make additional progress. I would be lucky to have just one friend as good as Craig or Tim, but I have two. My boys are family and I would do anything for them. If laughter was somehow quantifiable, I think we would have set some sort of record by now. In Nadia, I have never met someone so honestly sincere in everything she does. She embodies compassion and reminds me of all the positive, humane qualities that exist in humanity.

Running: Of all the methods of "self-improvement," running has proven its worth to me many times over. There she sits, in times of happiness and sadness, peacefulness and anxiousness, competition and leisure. Whether I run to burn some calories, clear my head, race some people, or acknowledge the fact that I am privileged to have a properly working body, I am thankful for my ability to propel through space and time, feel the wind on my face, the earth beneath my feet, and the joy in my heart.

The privilege of being thankful: I have so much to be thankful for, it is easy to forget just how good we have it living in the United States and take all of it for granted. I (generally) don't have to worry about political and/or religious instability, rampant disease, developing economies, and/or an entire host of other socio-political problems which afflict many other countries. I understand the USA has its own share of issues, but by and large, I'm free, safe, and in control. Billions of other individuals are not and daily life is a constant struggle. I am privileged in this life and attempt to remind myself of all that is good every day, in an effort to transform this privilege into a human right, and help empower as many other individuals as I can.

Compassion: I am thankful for feeling compassionate towards other people, and viewing them with empathetic eyes. We all have our own paths and are not who we are purely by accident. It is so critical to remind ourselves of this in many of life's daily situations, such that we help to ease other's suffering and not compound it with our own actions.

Literacy, learning, and books: If we are ever to improve as an individual, a community, a culture, or a people, we have to learn. Knowledge leads to understanding, and understanding leads to compassion. Without books, how else could you travel around the world, become a dolphin, comprehend green eggs and ham, or realize that all giants are not necessarily trogglehumpers or fleshlumpeaters? Reading satisfies our curiosity, encourages our creativity, and releases our judgments. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Jay. You are such an incredible writer. Thank you for sharing this amazing post with us. You had me in tears, so I guess we're even :) I can't wait for you to meet little Evie in person. We are so happy to be able to give this gift of her to everyone in the family. I love you! Thank you for being an absolutely amazing brother and uncle!