I am so thankful for being alive, thankful for all those in my life. I’m proud of my life and feel lucky to be alive on Planet Earth. I hope that most of us can distinguish the same for ourselves. Like really, no kidding.
Given my own trials and tribulations, I haven’t always seen life in this way. Admittedly, my own adversity, my own suffering was no lesser or greater than that of others. No, I’m not special. Yet, at that time, enduring what I did was not at all fun. Trust me on this.
“We are so thankful to be alive.” That is my sincerest hope, my profound wish for everyone on the Planet Earth. That being said, not all of us can see past our suffering. Rather enduring for the ‘bright new day’ at a certain point occurs futile: What’s the point?
My friend, who seemingly ended his life after suffering in silence, was laid to rest recently. I’m in Los Angeles, and I could not attend the services in Hawaii. My friend was a good man. He left behind many who loved him. I thought of his surviving father; I have no idea what he might be going through.
Yet, I have deep compassion for what my friend may have suffered, dealing with my own depression with my therapist Lance. I’m sad for my friend’s dad, who might have wondered Why? Rest in peace, my dear friend, “and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
Perhaps, not all of us are thankful to be alive. I get that having lived in that space. In the bigger picture, on the Planet Earth: I hope that you can be thankful for being alive. I get that we ultimately have to endure, have to grind it out for what we love, what gives meaning when we suffer. No one can do that for us. No one.
Absolutely, grinding it out will kick your ass. Sensei Dan would tell me in Aikido when I got frustrated mastering some technique: “Just train.” Just train, because it’s that meaningful. Just saying.
I’m thankful for being alive. I’m proud of my life. So is my life perfect? No, absolutely not. Rather, there is no perfect life. We’re all human beings, by definition we’re not perfect. Deal with it.
Yeah, there’s the ‘silver lining’. Cheryl reminds me of the Japanese aesthetic wabi-sabi: The beauty in our imperfection. Our imperfection, our frailty defines us as much as our strengths. In Aikido, I can choose to work on my imperfection in matching up with the attacker in the training. On Match dot com women often dismiss me, because I’m 5’3”. Well, I really can’t do anything about that, other than accept what I am.
Part of being thankful for being alive accepts both what I’m good at, and what I suck at. Sometimes that also accepts what’s missing in me or what I’m not.
At least for me, thankful for being alive, being proud of my life means loving and forgiving myself in the bigger picture. I accept my imperfections in the broad strokes. I’m human. So I’m never gonna be perfect. Really, I don’t fucking care about perfect.
Yeah, in the dating world, I wish that I looked like Hugh Jackman or Dwayne Johnson, The Rock. I’m being somewhat facetious. Somewhat. That certainly would help my cause, if I were tall, handsome and rich. Kind of a ‘no brainer’.
Still, I remember training with Sensei Dan. He’d say, “I don’t care if it (the technique) looks pretty. You have to make it work.” Really, I had to make it work for me. Yes, my zero (starting point) is different from others’ zeroes. I got it: Make myself work. Be the best version of myself that I can be.
I kept that in mind when I went on my infrequent Match dot com dates. I was my best version. I keep that present when I talk with Joanne from my Saturday step aerobics class. I like her so much. I dismiss the voice in my head, “Dude, she’s out of your league.” No, she hasn’t told me so, yet.
In the best version of myself, whatever happens, happens. I’m still thankful for being alive. I’m thankful that Joanne is kind to me. I’m thankful that I don’t hate on me. I’m thankful, that Sensei believed in me. That’s meaningful to me.
I go back to Honolulu for my Mom’s funeral services. I shall speak on my family’s behalf. Mom was 89 years old when she passed away in hospice care. She would have been 90 years-old in December.
Mom lived a full life. She raised my sister Carol and me. We’re both successful. Carol is a veterinarian. I’m a satellite system engineer. Mom sacrificed a whole lot for Carol and me. I also believe Mom suffered in her life more than she deserved. That’s just me saying. I’m forever thankful and grateful for Mom.
Mom raised me so I wouldn’t need her. Although, I miss her. I miss laughing with her. I miss holding her warm gentle hands in mine.
When Dad scared the hell out of me when I was 8 years old, she’d say, “Jonny, slow down.” She calmed my frightened soul. Mom literally gave me life. She made sure that I felt loved. Mom taught me that kindness and gentleness are what make one powerful. Mom, like Sensei, taught me what it is to be a Good Man. For that I’m so thankful. I’m so thankful for them. I’m so thankful for them creating my greater-than life.
We’re so thankful for our life, because of the people we get to share it with. In the bigger picture, I’m thankful for those like Mom and Sensei, who saw my greater-than version and inspired me to grind it out. It was that meaningful for me. That was meaningful for them, as well. I love them, always.
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