Gratitude Inventory

I am thankful for so much. 

I am thankful that I can run. I started my day by waking up too early for the Give'n'Gobble 10K in Sherwood -- and I'm thankful that there was sunshine and blue sky, and that I set a new personal record (7:03 min/mile!). I'm in the best shape of my life and it feels great.

I am thankful for family, including four-legged members with bad table manners. For a dad and an uncle from whom I inherited a dad-joke sense of humor and the ability to banter for hours and hours. Some choice dialogue from today is Exhibit A: 

Cousin Erica: Dad, can you help me get the turkey off the grate?
Uncle Bri: Sure, I didn't think it was that great anyway...

Imagine that but nonstop for six hours. That's Thanksgiving in the Bowman family -- and through the groans and eye rolls, I'm thankful.

I'm thankful that memories of my grandma and Thanksgivings of yesteryear were infused throughout the day. When we looked at the old family pictures hung by magnets on the fridge, just like at grandma's house, of us as kids sitting on the apple tree in her backyard. When we taste flavors that have been on Bowman and Peery plates for generations, like pickled peaches (much better than it sounds) and homemade ice cream (exactly as good as it sounds) and scrabble (or "party mix," basically Chex Mix on steroids). Flipping through Grandma's old recipe book, where all the recipes were handwritten in cursive by her, and every page is stained with butter or Worcestershire sauce or oil. Remembering how every Thanksgiving, we would have to drag grandma to the dining room otherwise she'd be in the kitchen doing the finishing touches until well after dessert was served. She wasn't here tonight, but she was still with us, and for that I'm thankful.

I'm thankful that on Saturday, I get to go back to Stanford University in Palo Alto to study education policy. I'm thankful that I have friends there embarking on noble journeys to improve education in America. I'm thankful to have the privilege to learn from brilliant and caring professors. I'm thankful -- and amazed -- that by next summer, God willing, I will have my master's degree. I still can't believe that this is my life but I'm thankful.

I'm thankful that next week, I get to listen to my hero, Joe Biden, speak at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland. 

I'm thankful that, as I type this, James Taylor is singing Winter Wonderland in my ear. It's taken heroic levels of discipline not to listen to Christmas music before today, but the reward is a sweet one. Tomorrow, I'm taking my dad to a Mannheim Steamroller concert in Portland to formally kick off the Holiday season. Today marks the beginning -- first, the music, next, the lights and trees and presents and winter coats and maybe even a snowflake or two. I'm thankful for all of that, because it makes me happy. Tomorrow, Christmas flavors at Salt and Straw will debut, and I'll try them all with some fellow ice cream aficionado friends. I'm thankful for that, too.

I am thankful that the closest thing I have to a complaint about today is that I had to carry myself up the stairs with sore legs and sit down for awhile to reflect and write something. 

Blessed. Lucky. Fortunate. I'm not sure exactly what the right word is, but I'm grateful.