Rich, I tell you!
No, no, I didn’t win the lottery.
Last night (Sunday, December 29) was the annual Almost New Year’s party of one of our dearest friends from our university days. And after living so long in a country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I find I have moved the date of my annual stock-taking, the day that I count my blessings and review the past year. Now I do it at Paul’s party. This has the added advantage of moving the stocktake after the solstice, when the balance of the year has shifted toward the light, when I know [Seasonal Affective Disorder|my mood] will get better now before it gets worse again.
Here’s this year’s tally:
- · We are all healthy, sound in body and mind.
- Oh, yes, we all three of us get ill from time to time. I have a cold as I type, Alex has been coughing nights, and Martin isn’t doing too hot either. But these are passing things.
- · We have a nice house
- It’s pleasant, on a good street, with good neighbours. The mortgage is affordable, and will remain affordable even if interest rates go up.
- · We have secure, well-paid jobs in these times of redundancy.
- I hope I’m not tempting fate by saying this. But we’ve both survived one round of redundancies in our workplaces. We’re even paid enough to be able to work part-time and still have enough money for our needs and our desires. We are, to use the phrase of one of my former colleagues, hardcover book rich.
- · We have time
- Working part-time means we each spend entire days with Alex. I get two days a week with him, Martin one.
We even have time to spend on our hobbies. Martin does web-type stuff and plays the drums, and I bind books.
- · We have love
- Martin and I are heading for our tenth anniversary. The years have not always been easy – no long-term relationship is universally smooth. But even in the worst times, we have never stopped loving each other.
Now we have Alex, not yet two, and we love him more than we can express. He loves us too, though he does not yet understand the concept.
We have loving families – brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, a whole network of relatives. We may disagree from time to time, but that never gets in the way of the love that ties us together by marriage and blood.
And we have dear, dear friends, some we see often and some we see less than once a year. (A fair number of them came to Paul’s party.) I have friends I have never met in the flesh, but still am enriched by (and ones that, I hope, I enrich).
And so many things that we have, that so much of the world lacks, don’t even make it on the list. Our water is safe to drink, we have plentiful food (more than plentiful – I need to lose weight). Our home is safe from confiscation and our health from epidemic disease. We have a voice in our governance, and the right to say what we please in public. Realistically, we fear no violence in our daily lives. We even have access to cheap public transport and good quality health care.
What can I say? We are rich.