Take stock.

When I was little, I was fascinated by the moon, the stars — the whole of space. I wanted to be an astronaut, but I was terrible at math and science. I settled for a telescope and enjoyed the heavens that way.

During elementary school, I decided I wanted to have horses someday. That day has not yet come, but in the meantime my life has allowed me to volunteer for them, learn to ride them and take drives to not-so-distant pastures where I’ve fed them bunches of carrots, leafy green tops and all.

In high school, I said I wanted to be a writer. Well, part-time writer, part-time psychologist — whatever that meant. While you won’t see any of my books stocked in Barnes and Noble and while I don’t have an office where I listen to or counsel others, these days I write daily about things for which I’m thankful, and I look inside myself to discover the genesis of such gratitude. I am a writer and psychologist after all.

In my 20s, I was dating someone who ended up getting a DUI while he and his married client were on their way back to her hotel. We broke up. I vowed that the next person I’d be with would make me feel safe and bring me peace. I haven’t found that person yet, but in trusting my path I now know myself better than I ever thought I would — and there is peace. I made my own vow come true.

When I finished school and starting working full-time, I wanted to make a difference. But working on national campaigns for cars didn’t do that, working in sports marketing didn’t do that, and analyzing clients’ data still doesn’t do that. Yet everything I’ve learned and am learning may ladder up to something still, something that makes a “difference” — and I suspect that it will be one of those lovely, serendipitous moments when it arrives.

As humans, we want. We promise. We vow. We shoot for some things and end up on their outskirts, while we hit the bullseye for others. I think that all the things we’ve ever wanted have really come true in one way or another. If better parents were wished for, perhaps becoming the type of parent you never had is how that wish came to fruition. If wealth is what we’re after, we have it every day — we might not be rolling in it, but we have access to technology, a roof over our heads, air in our lungs and food to sustain us. If what we’re after is balance, perhaps you’re finding it here right now — reading through various sites, blogs, and letting your mind wander until things feel somewhat more whole, more aligned, more Zen. Anyone who says life isn’t fair hasn’t stopped to smell the roses or sat in awe of everything that’s right with it. It’s easy to see what’s wrong and what’s missing, but looking around and taking stock of everything good is a game-changer. No, it’s a life-changer.

For taking stock, realizing the good, embracing the small and aiming for the stars, I am thankful.

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