Thankful For

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Each year around November, I meditate on what I’m thankful for. Late October marks the night where my brother, Chad, was horrifically injured in a drunk driving accident (in 2001). This tragedy, and his living triumph informs much of who I am.

If you wonder why I obsess over selfdriving cars, or the rights and protection of people with disabilities, this is why. This is why I give people at the margins of society the benefit of the doubt. How many have brain injuries, or radical but somewhat unseen disability?

I’m incredibly thankful Chad is still here and in my life. I’m still shocked by the outpouring of love and support my family received around his accident and for years after it. There’s a warmness there that will never go away.

Several people especially stand out, as they volunteered days and hours of their time to help care for Chad, supporting his slow rise from complete coma. Kelly Sheryl, Hal Williams, Joanne Jeffrey, and surely others I’m forgetting.

This year is especially poingiant, as it marks 17 years since the accident. I’m also 34 years old, so from this point forward, I will have spent more time with Chad post accident than prior. This year is a momentary bisection in my life pre and post accident.

Health and Wellness

This year I got food poisoning for the first time since 2005 – I was sick in an airport and on a plane. It was miserable.

I crashed my bike on election night. Fortunately I only had a damaged bike and some bumps and bruises to show for it.

These two temporary speed bumps in my health made me profoundly grateful for being well (*knock on wood*). They made me much more appreciative of people with chronic health issues or more severe maladies. It’s made me want to give more time to those among us who don’t move at a normal pace. There’s often a reason why the person in the grocery store walks slowly in front of you or meanders across the crosswalk.

In fact, on most days on my 3.5 mile bike commute home, I ride past a gentleman walking painfully slow. Each step covers no more than 6 inches. I pass him on the bike path around 5:30 PM each day. He gently walks past my house each evening, another 2 miles ahead between 8 and 9 pm.

I’m so thankful for mobility, and so proud of those that still stride forward without standard ability.

My Partner

She is the hardest worker I know. She’s kind and gracious despite immense intellectual exertion she performs professionally. The buck stops with her.

She’s beautiful and a partner like no other. I awake to a smile on my face each morning, knowing she’s by my side.

My Work

My work, not because it’s rewarding (and it is). But because my coworkers are all incredible people. Literally no one slacks, no one says “I’ll do it tomorrow” – each of my co-workers takes ownership of what they do, in turn making my professional life much easier. They are fun, kind, and do great work.

So thankful for…

…all this and so much more. I’m immensely thankful for my wonderful Mom, Dad, brothers, in-laws, friends, and pug; having a little money in my pocket to buy a tasty lunch, good scotch, wine, and protein; a warm house, clean water, power, and toilets that flush and whisk waste away keeping me healthy. What did I miss?!

I’m grateful to be here with you all.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sincerely,

Nate

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