It’s easy to forget, living in the overblown shit show we all have front row seats for, that we have a lot to be grateful for. A short anecdote for Thanksgiving and we’re off to spend the day with cousins.
I was working as a bicycle messenger, fighting New York City traffic and the me-decade of the 1980s, angry all the time. I had big dreams for my life, and being a cog in a corporate wealth machine was not part of those dreams. I found myself wasting time waiting for a slow elevator in a small building where some successful person had an important business that needed an important package immediately delivered to another office, it was a super rush. Time was literally money for me too, I didn’t get paid to wait around, I made money by being fast (which also allowed me to work as few hours as possible).
When the elevator finally arrived I got in and there was an older Black woman (probably younger than I am today) already in it, she had been delivered to the lobby for no reason. We watched the doors slowly close and the elevator began to lurch slowly upwards, then stop, then lurch a bit more. I muttered that it was not my day.
“Never say it’s not my day!” the older woman said, “if you’re alive, it’s your day!”
I nodded, attempting a smile that was probably more like a Clint Eastwood grimace. The old lady was 100% right though, and I salute her now, many decades later. It is good to take a moment to remember to be thankful sometimes, for something as elemental, and irreplaceable, as simply waking up alive in this precious life.