I’m thankful for my imagination. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a creative drive, an insatiable need to express the thoughts and ideas that bubble up in the mad scientist’s cauldron that is my mind. Awareness of this creativity began around eight or nine, when I first began playing with Star Wars toys, and instead of replaying the movie over and over, I would create my own storyline and remake the characters into what I wanted them to be. Then, my cousin Sam introduced me to Dungeons and Dragons, and my imagination found an outlet that to this date is unrivaled. Despite the stigma attached back then (I don’t know if it’s still the same today), role playing games were the most positive and productive form of entertainment I ever encountered. Developing characters and then later sketching out adventures as Dungeon Master brought me out of my introverted shell and helped me learn how to interact socially. And being encouraged and praised for my creativity gave me an inkling of self-confidence at an age when I had none.
I’m a writer because of my imagination. Writing is my form of expression for those bubbles in the cauldron. I’ve attempted a couple of times to walk away from writing and not look back because the life is difficult and often lonely, but each time, the need to release my pent-up imaginings would gnaw and gnaw and gnaw at me until I had no choice but to pick up a pen or sit down at the computer. I write this blog for much the same reason. Right now, with my current career in education, I simply don’t have the time or energy or concentration to work on a novel day in and day out the way I need to, so the blog allows me to release my creative desires and maintain my writing skills without having to focus as much as I would for a full book.
The only downside to my imagination an creativity is that I have difficulty remembering details precisely as they occurred. For instance, I can rarely quote a movie line verbatim because I’m usually rewording the line how I would have written it. So my friends often have to correct me when I attempt to quote something. To me, that’s a small price to pay for this amazing gift. I love being imaginative and creative, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I’m eternally thankful and grateful for my imagination, for my creativity, for my ability to make something where before there was nothing. It’s a special gift, one that I cherish and revere.
I’m thankful for my intelligence. Please, don’t take that as arrogance, for I am well aware that there are many, many people much smarter and more talented than I am. I am simply grateful for the intelligence I do have. I feel like I have a good balance between book smarts, street smarts, wisdom, and common sense. I’m able to learn new skills fairly quickly and can process information fairly well. I can carry on conversations over a wide range of topics and enjoy learning new things. I’m not a specialist in any one area, and in this age of hyper-specialization, that has probably held me back in my career, but I’m thankful to be able to perform fairly well in many different areas, as opposed to being limited to one rigid career-path.
I also don’t need any “news” commentator to tell me what to think or feel about current events, whether it be Keith Olbermann or Bill O’Reilly. I am quite capable of thinking for myself. I can also comprehend that life is full of complex shades of gray, and virtually nothing is as simple as black and white. The more I learn about him, the more I respect Richard Nixon because he was much more dignified and statesman-esque than the cartoonish buffoon that has been painted all these years. Other than his deeply rooted paranoia, probably born from the Cold War, he was a strong leader and a good president who inherited a terrible mess. I believe the same of Bill Clinton. Sure, Faux News and Talk Radio painted him as a radical liberal, but he was much more of a moderate who strove for compromise and cooperation over strict ideology and partisanship. That’s why American companies posted record profits, unemployment shrank, and wages rose during his administration. Everyone prospers from cooperation. I’m grateful for the intelligence to see these complexities, instead of blindly following party propaganda.
Every single morning, I thank my creator for blessing me with the intelligence to be self-sufficient. Few situations arise where I don’t have the intelligence and common sense to develop and follow a plan for overcoming those obstacles. Each day, I encounter a throng of individuals without that capability, people who are dependant on others for their day-to-day existence. On the other end of the spectrum, I’m also smart enough to know my own limitations, which to me is more important than knowing what I can accomplish. Having the wisdom to accept that I don’t know everything and can’t do everything allows me to find assistance from someone who is an expert in that field. I’m thankful to have the intelligence to know both my strengths and limitations.
Knowledge can be a powerful tool, and each and every day of my life, I’m thankful to have a brain that functions fairly well.
I’m thankful for my passion. In all facets of my life, I’m a passionate person. It’s what makes me a writer and a teacher because my passion for language drives me to share it with the world. It’s what made me a decent football player. I wasn’t the most physically gifted person and was certainly under-sized for a lineman, but my passion pushed me to lift weights and run mountains and push my body to its limit to be the best I could be. Passion is what makes me a good father because the love for my children fills up my heart and spills over the edges. There’s no containing the passion I have for my sons, and I’m thankful every moment of every day that I have gotten to experience that level of pure love.
Of course, being a passionate person does come with a few disadvantages. It’s not something that can be turned on and off at will, so when I’m upset, the passion amplifies my emotions and I get really upset. It sometimes makes me hard to be around because I get so consumed with whatever I’m doing that the rest of the world disappears. And when I get hurt, the pain is deep and enormous because it too is amplified. Those things sometimes make being a passionate person a difficult burden to bear, but I wouldn’t trade.
I don’t do anything half-heartedly. When something sparks my passion, I’m full throttle, head down, no-looking-back 110% going for it. That doesn’t mean I always succeed, but it does mean that anytime I fall short, it’s not from lack of effort. In every aspect of everything in my life, I am passionate, and to me that is one of my strongest positive attributes. I live my life to die with no regrets, and a major part of that comes from allowing my passion to stir me. I realize that some people who don’t know me very well may be surprised to hear me describe myself as passionate because I often come across as so laid-back and mellow, but underneath that calm exterior is a highly emotional person who squeezes every drop I can from life. Still waters run deep, and I’m thankful to be such a passionate person.