Thursday, November 27, 2014

What I AM Thankful For in 2014.

This is going to be the fifth Thanksgiving post I've written on this humble, little blog, something that I started back in 2008. I may have skipped a couple of years, but it's something I look forward to writing (when it's not about baseball, or baseball cards...which seems to be lacking around here lately, it seems). For inspiration, I looked back at previous Thanksgiving posts. I realized that while most of what was written was pretty much the same, I can see where I was at that point in my life, personally, professionally, spiritually, and where I was when it came to my place in the Hobby. It is hard to believe that I've had this blog for more than six years. So much has changed, but there is so much that remains the same.

When I wrote last year's Thanksgiving post, I was working at a temporary gig, wondering if this was what my life was going to become: bouncing from temporary job to temporary job, not knowing if I had done well enough at my present job that my bosses would make me a permanent employee. I was grateful when a former co-worker recommended me for a job that I was very familiar with, and that I was able to get the job. With that job ended a sixteen-month period of stress and began a new chapter that included financial security for myself and my family. Now that's not to say that there have been times that we've struggled - we've had some rough patches along the way. But through the struggles, we have gained a much more heightened sense of humility. These are the lessons that I hope my children learn. While I pray that my kids will make better lives in the future, if they ever stumble in their paths, I hope that they show the same amount of perseverance and drive their mother and me to pick themselves up and continue their journeys.

By the time this post comes online, my family and I will be visiting my brother and his family as we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Last year we made the trip to Indiana to celebrate with my wife's family, and it looks like we'll be doing that again over the weekend. It will be nice to have a bit of a respite from what has been our daily routine and spend time with both families.

Anyway, I can rattle on and on about how tough it is nowadays, but everyone already has an idea. For all the bad news out there (and it seems there is plenty), there is so much for me personally to be thankful for.

I am thankful that I have a wonderful family that gives me a reason to be alive. My wife and I have been together for 16 wonderful years, and I look forward to many more with her. My present job allows me to spend a lot more time with her because there is less travelling. And while we've had our ups and downs (and all couples do), being with her now has been just as much fun, if not more so, as it was when we were first dating. We still talk about what we want for ourselves in the future. While we couldn't travel out this year (new job), I am excited for what our futures hold. For now, we just have to keep going with what we have. As with many who took this vow of marriage, I promised to be with her for richer or poorer, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I loved her then, and I love her more so now.

I am thankful for being the father of two beautiful children who I love with all my heart. I am truly grateful to have them in my life. Both are growing up to be fine individuals. And as the years go by, our children are developing way too fast. They are both figuring themselves out now and after visiting with their teachers earlier this week, I can breathe a bit easier knowing that they are at least heading in the right direction. It is just a matter of maintaining that focus and scheduling whatever time they have so that they can balance school time and their other activities. In my heart, they will always be my little babies. It's hard not to look at them and see them when they were five years younger, or even ten years. But my wife and I couldn't be happier with how they've grown to love us and each other (as pre-adolescents and teenagers do). They both are growing up so fast, and it won't be long before they begin their individual journeys without parent involvement. Both their mom and I know that being their parents, and the responsibilities that come with it, will never end, no matter how old they are. We still have a lot of work to do raising them, but it is something that I would never exchange.

I am thankful to have a family to lean on when times are hard. My parents, who have been my support when I have nobody to turn to when I'm having troubles and give me good advice whether I ask or not. My siblings, who keep me grounded as a person (based on whatever they're doing in their lives). When we're all together, there is just that warmth that comes with remembering who we were, the people we've become, and just enjoying each other's company. The sibling rivalries, fights, teasings, and all that comes with it still are there. But it makes for good conversation. The laughter that comes with it at times is much louder as the stories of our lives become wilder (or at least for my younger sibs). But we still have our moments, and when we get together, it is always fun.

I am thankful for my wife's family. They help keep my wife in check and make sure that she's doing well. Although we don't get to spend as much time with her side of the family as we'd like (everyone is busy it seems), it makes the times when all can get together much more special. When we're with them, I tend to stay back a bit. I'm more there to see my wife and children have fun. It may feel like I'm just there for the ride, but I know where I stand, and am more than happy to be a part of this family too.

I am thankful for the opportunities I've been given to broaden my horizons professionally. I am back in the field I had spent most of my adult life in (specialty foods), doing a job that I absolutely love and am so blessed to have the opportunity to work from home. I do make my way to the office regularly, don't get me wrong. But being able to work from home has allowed me to focus my energies in a way that I feel that I am more productive and that I'm contributing positively to the growth of the company I know work for. I work with an incredible team of professionals, some I knew from the other place, so there is that sense of familiarity. I still miss the people I've worked with over the years and continue to think about them.

I am thankful for having a roof over my family's head. I tell my children that we wanted to have a sense of stability, and being able to live in this house, in this town, and be a part of the community has contributed to it. Both my wife and I have worked so hard to keep this house, and though it's still a struggle, we have made it work. Those sleepless nights will continue, but through it all, I am grateful that my family still has a place to call home.

I am thankful that we have food on our table. We have done a lot more cooking at home this past year, trying new foods, and experimenting with dishes that we'd only eat when at a restaurant. We try not to eat out, although at times with our children's schedules it has become a necessity at times. We've had to cut back on many luxury items (seafood, steaks), but we still try to have a sense of normalcy when it comes to cooking at home, whether it's my wife cooking or me taking a turn. I'm not saying that we've had to totally give up on good food (I've tried my hand at cooking a wide variety of foods since being home more. Some were hits...others, not so much), but as long as we have the basics (milk, bread, eggs), and we're never out of pasta, I'm happy.

The final thing I am for which I am thankful, for all intents and purposes, is the reason I am able to keep sane through all the things going on in my life. It is something that many understand, but few will admit relating to it. Many people, no matter what their situation, have at least one. And often times, use it for the same reasons I do. For the goals this one thing accomplishes is not just to give joy to my life, but to give it an escape. An outlet if you will, to a time where I didn't have stress, or have much to worry. This one thing is the reason why I write this humble little blog. I give thanks to the Hobby. Because with everything going on in the world today, second to my family, it is the one thing that gives me comfort. Yes, I know that if Sitemeter is to believed, my readership is down. But I never wrote for others. I wrote it more for me. The idea of writing this blog was more for me to learn and appreciate the Hobby, and learn more about the game. While 2014 was a great year in baseball, the Hobby, and this blog, took a bit of a backseat as I adjusted to all the changes around me. I do realize that while the game remains the same, the names have changed. Almost all of my childhood heroes are out of the game, and there are so few now who are older than me. It won't be long before everyone in the game is younger than I am, and kids my children's ages will be making their first appearances on pieces of cardboard. I have begun to wonder when would it be the right time to begin scaling back, as eventually that time will come. Change is a constant. As I have mentioned in a recent Hobby discussion on twitter (follow me @bdj610 if you haven't yet), we all have to adapt, if not now, soon. Eventually, I will.

If this sounds like I'm whining at the same time that I'm being grateful, I apologize as that was not the intent of my writing. There are many people out there who are struggling and somehow surviving on less than what we have. To them I pray that things will get better. It will take some work, but it will get better.

If there is one thing I have forgotten to do above, it's to say thank you to those who have read my blog, left comments, accepted me into this crazy community, and have added to my card collection since I started this blog. Thank you for adding me to your blogrolls and welcoming me into your online lives. I will do my best to fill this blog with information about the Hobby and the cards that we all enjoy. After all, 2015 Topps Series I won't be out until February, and I don't plan on leaving this site hanging until then.

On behalf of my family, may you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Please stay safe if you are travelling this year.


JayBee Anama


Billy Kingsley said...

Excellent article. Happy Thanksgiving to you. It sounds like you've been on quite a ride lately, but it also sounds like the future is bright. This is the first post of yours I've read, but it is a good one.

Fuji said...

I'm thankful for the Sports Card Blogroll! Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

You'll have to write another post explaining the need to 'scale back'! After having some cards when I was a kid, I didn't really start collecting card seriously until I was 44, well older than anyone playing the game. Players half my age continue to do impressively heroic things on the ballfield, it doesn't bother me than they are young.

Another point is you won't believe how much money you will have when the kids are grown and on their own - not to mention all the extra free time!