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Here’s what I’ve learned…so far!

While maturing, I’ve learned this so far — to be thankful.

Throughout our lives, we are taught to listen — to the voices and wisdom of our parents, teachers and elders. Therein sits the conundrum.

Don’t get me wrong — I believe in listening to those voices of experience. Without that input, we would not be able to learn how to think for ourselves and I’ve learned to listen to them even if they drive me nuts at times. And, along that wisdom gathering trail of life, I’ve learned to think for myself, too.

The conundrum raises its head at this point — how do we meld together all that listening and self thinking to make sense of what’s going on in our lives? Is what’s good for another, good for me? Just because another person has an opinion, should that be my opinion, too? Why do we think wisdom comes with age? Aren’t young folks able to know and opine wisdom, also?

Oh so many questions leading into that puzzling thing we call life.

With all this talk about listening and thinking, here’s what I’ve learned so far — to be thankful for each breath, each step, every scent, sound and touch and to really notice the people, places and things around me. That’s really not so much wisdom as it is just plain common sense.

Ah, but don’t we learn common sense from others? Of course! But, we have to be open sensed enough to feel all the touches on our lives. That’s being thankful.

Who/what are those touches on our lives? Well…

Let’s start with our families. They give us life, nurture us, pick us up and give us both pats on the back and pats on our behinds. We deserve both. You know how it is when a beloved long absent family member suddenly appears in your doorway, right? You are overwhelmed with joy and happiness and the closeness of that person takes over your entire being, and you, once again, feel that feeling you learned sometime ago — love.

That emotional feeling of love reminds me of what it’s like to take a sip of Sandeman 40-year- old Port. If you’re a port lover, you know what I mean and, if you’re not a port lover, that’s fine. Just know the overall sweetness of the liquid is comforting and as it enters your body, you feel yourself relax. It’s like it wraps its arms around you and says: “I’m here for you. Relax and be thankful for the day.”

Another touch on our lives is our country. Wow! We should be thankful for the wisdom our founding fathers (Yes, they were all male!) bestowed to us in the form of our democratic values via our constitution and laws. These basic values of decency have been under attack lately but our values will prevail.

It’s like a bottle of Edna Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that I tasted many years ago. It wasn’t over the top luscious but it had a serious mellowness to it that led to a beautiful light cherry finish and it grabbed me. Every so often I open a bottle of it, and am, once again, welcomed into its world and I am so very thankful for it. I’ve told my family it’s to be the last thing I taste.

We should all be thankful for the opportunities we all have — yes, we screw up some of them but we usually regain our feet and latch onto another chance at doing the right thing. We have so many opportunities that it’s hard to keep up with them sometimes — how many people have you thought back on and said: “I wonder what would have happened if I’d stopped and talked with that person?”

It’s like opening a bottle of M-A-N Chenin Blanc from South Africa. What a great surprise to be able to find a bottle of it and to have the chance to taste its fine soft citrus flavor. A real treat in the closeness of today’s world.

We should be thankful for our healthcare workers who are putting their lives on the live for all of us. When needed, they touch us with care, devotion and expertise. Many of us could give remarkable stories of how these fine people have impacted our lives.

Very simply, I raise a glass of Barefoot Bubbly Prosecco to our healthcare servers. When chilled, the wine satisfies, gives comfort and makes you smile.

Lastly, I am thankful for the educators of yesterday and today. They helped form me, my children and you. Their devotion during extremely stressful times is mind boggling and I will always give them due praise and honor. Do they get everything right? Probably not … but … they have always done what they believe is right and it’s up to us to use our heads to determine how all their teachings fit into our lives.

To all of them — past and present — I sip a glass of Smoking Loon Red Blend. Consisting of grapes from many sources in California, it’s a pleasure to drink and let the spiciness wipe away your anxieties.

So, what have I learned so far? To be civil, to be open to doing long standing traditions differently and to always be thankful for the chance to have the chance to be thankful.

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!

Cheers!

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