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Open Mike

The holidays a time to be thankful

I have a lot to be thankful for this year, but the bad part is we as individuals sometimes forget just how thankful we should be.

I love the holidays. I can't wait until Thursday to dive into some of the mouth watering turkey we will be eating at my wife's grandpa's house.

I love how the holidays fill you with hope that no matter how bad things have been there will always be a new day ahead and maybe things will be alright. I love the excitement of the holidays, the sound of holiday music and just the warm, fuzzy feeling I get deep inside. I wish every day could be a holiday.

The holidays also allow time for personal reflection on how your life has changed for the good or the bad.

The past year couple of years have been ones of personal growth for me. I have gone from being a selfish, self-centered individual, who is still whiny from time to time, to someone who thinks of others. I will admit there are still times when that little self-centered creature that used to control my life ventures back in. But I am working on it. I am slowly, 32 years later, starting to realize there are other opinions than my own.

I read a pretty good opinion piece a couple of weeks ago, talking about the people we meet in life. It is amazing, you never know who you will meet that will have a profound effect on your life, even more so during the holidays. You don't know if it is one word the person selling you a cup of coffee will have or if it is someone you have known your entire life that will forever change you with a few words.

I will never forget the lessons of the past years. I will never forget the feeling of loss with the death of my son this past September or the three months where I battled illness, including pneumonia. I will never forget the loving support of my wife, Wendy, who sometimes thinks I forget about what she did for me during our trying times, nor my boys, who endured nearly three months of not having the same old dad around. I will also never forget my friends who were there for me and my family or the people who offered comforting words in our time of need.

I used to think the most important thing in life was the job title you had in front of your name and how much money you made. But I have quickly learned in the last few years that is not the case. Family and friends are what we should be thankful for most. None of the other stuff matters without your family and friends with whom to share your successes.

When devastating things happen in your life you are forever changed, changed in a way that is hard to describe. For me, change of any kind is one of the hardest things to deal with as an individual. I have a set way in my life, whether at home or work, that has created a delicate balance to which I am accustomed. I most definitely don't like change...but.

I have learned a couple of things over the past few years that I take solace in. I have learned that change is a good thing-regardless of how it is brought about. Life is an often time painful journey that every once in a while has its rewards-you just have to be patient.

So this holiday season, I encourage you to treasure what you have because often times when we don't, that is when things take a turn for the worse.

Embrace the holiday season. The holidays are the only time of the year where you can really be jolly and people don't think you are crazy. And lastly, treasure every day because life can change at a moment's notice. Be thankful for the seconds, minutes, hours and days that you have on this planet with your family and friends because those are the things that are important in the end.

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