Today is Thanksgiving. I’m currently on vacation for a few days in Colorado, but I took some time a few days ago to really think about what I am thankful for. While riding on the plane to Colorado, forced to be off the Internet (unless I wanted to pay $15 and let’s be honest, that’s insane for 3 hours of access), I had a moment or two of clarity.
What am I thankful for? I am thankful for so much. I am thankful to have a warm place to live. I am thankful to have a job that I love, in a city that I am crazy about (New York City), with coworkers that I genuinely enjoy and can be myself around, wonderful friends spread around the world both from the SEO industry and my travels, and so much to look foward to in the future.
Let me tell you a story
I have come realize that it is incredibly rare that you find something you love to do, with people you loe to do it with, and you get paid to do it. I was riding to the airport the other day, to go to Maryland for a day to talk with a potential client. I was tired and maybe a bit cranky too.
My driver was this Colombian man whose name I never got. We started talking, as I am prone to do with people. He asked where I was going, what I was doing. I told him, then asked him how early he had started driving people around that day (this was about 8:30am). He said “Oh you know, about 6:30. And I have people to drive after this, but at some point I have to go pick up my daughter from high school. It’s her first year and she doesnt’t know that neighborhood, so I go pick her up. She’s very special to me, you see. She’s my oldest.”
I smiled and said “Oh that’s nice of you.”
“Yes,” he said, ” but I let her down the other day. I was 45 minutes late picking her up and she was angry at me. But I told her ‘Bonita, I have to work very hard and I needed that money. It is hard for me to take time to come get you, but I must.'”
At this point, he told me how he had been laid off from his second job as a dishwasher at a restaurant (remember, this man is probably in his late 40s) and now he has to drive people around seven days a week. “I never see my family. I have to work all the time. Times are tough, you know. I work hard and try to save some money, about $200 a month, but it seems like every time I do, then a big bill comes up and it is gone.”
He then told me about the farm he owns in Colombia, and how his extended family lives there and works, but they constantly ask him for money. He can’t trust them and thinks they are stealing from him. He would fly down to close up the farm and kick them off, but he cannot afford to. He spent his life savings to come to the States about 20 years ago, illegally.
This man, whatever his name is, made me realize a lot in such a short ride. I realized just how blessed I am, and probably how blessed all of you who are reading this are. We have jobs, we have families. This man is blessed too ith a family, but I almost felt selfish for how fortunate I have been to find a job in an industry that I love.
This Thanksgiving, I ask you to really think about what you are thankful for. Also, realize that others are not as fortunate as many of us are. Do what you can to give back. Have a spare coat in your apartment? Give it to the homeless. I’m going to do this on Monday when I get back to New York. Kow someone who can’t take care of their house because of illness or age? Help them out.
Be thankful, and allow others to be thankful for you.
I’d love to hear what you are thankful for in the comments.