Thursday, November 26, 2015

I'm Thankful Not To Have...

It's Thanksgiving in the US today! I'm thankful for all sorts of things, from the big concepts (life, health, family) to the mundane (the banana cream pie I just ate, cheap games at the Steam sale, a library full of books just down the street). I'm sure all the Thanksgiving celebrations today have celebrated things to be thankful for. Just to be different, I thought I'd also mention a few things that I'm grateful not to have.
Holiday Travel. You hear about it all the time around this time of year...it's a horrible time to be traveling. It starts with the weather, starting to turn cold and snowy. Then you add a whole bunch of people going to grandma's house or wherever for the big holidays. Staying at home is so much less stressful.

A Criminal Record. I'm sure everyone remembers doing some stupid things as a youngster, and I'm no exception...likely worse than most. I got lucky in that my stupidity happened as a minor, as well as having great support from family and others, and I'm thankful for that. But not everyone is so fortunate, and it's really tough if you have a record (consider this PBS documentary about people with records being driven into poverty). I'm happy to say that here in Michigan some strides are being made toward helping people get out from under a criminal record. Earlier this year, a law was passed allowing records to be expunged in certain circumstances, and another bill is in the works to make the process automatic for some people.

Natural Disasters. Here in West Michigan, we get a couple of major snowstorms every year, and about once a decade a small tornado comes through. That's about it. I see stories all the time about hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, earthquakes, etc in other areas of the country and the world. I'm happy to live in a place with very little in the way of such things, and grateful for it.

Oppressive Authority. North Korea. Syria. Zimbabwe. Saudi Arabia. Iran. There are a lot of places in the world where secular and/or religious institutions are more interested in oppressing their people than helping them. I certainly have my differences with the way things are done here in the US, but I'm grateful that I live in a place and time where individual freedom is supported by government and religious authorities.

Not an exhaustive list by any means, but it covers a few things that have been on my mind lately. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

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