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February 8, 2023

Window on the World Column | ‘Tis the Season of Gratitude

‘Tis the season of gratitude. I like that season. Close on its heels is the season of giving and sometimes that is also a good season; but Thanksgiving ranks right up there in my chosen holidays. Gratitude is such a simple but powerful sentiment that gives you a chance to reset your canter through life.

I try to stop my stride for a bit during Thanksgiving week and think back over the year that’s now in the rearview mirror — the good, bad and indifferent. I endeavor to take stock of my lot, look at the journey behind me and see where we are now. I recommend this conscious exercise, a mind twist if you like — a mental challenge to see how far back you can remember!

Last Christmas was a gift in itself. We traveled to the town where I grew up and indulged in the most blissful festive season ever. There is something so very special about going back to your roots over a period of celebration and recalibrating yourself with your people. Breaking bread with friends and enjoying company in the town I love so much made my heart full.

I went to visit an old friend of mine in Arkansas in January, and I was so grateful for the opportunity to travel freely again, not to have to get Covid tests or stress about canceled flights. It was so nice to see my friend in situ after all these years and enjoy the cultural differences of her State — also go and see the marvelous Elton John on his last tour. In fact, I saw him twice this year — he was that good.

In March I went to France and, again, relished in the luxury of free travel. Though we did have to produce clear Covid tests and wear masks on the flights, our appreciation of the newfound gateway made our journey even more delightful. I shall return to that region of France again for a revisit.

I was so thankful that my daughter continued to stay the course in her nursing program — even though folks suggested she step down and take care of herself first and her career second. I saw a side of my daughter during those times that made me so very proud of her determination and, ultimately, hopeful for better days ahead. She graduated with her class last summer. I was so proud I cried. She knew she could do it and she did; a maxim that traveled with her.

We then had a super-dooper trip to Europe afterward via Dublin, a Garth Brooks concert, the Isle of Man, London and, of course, Aldeburgh. I managed to wear out two much younger people; quite the accomplishment!

I’m grateful that, despite two bouts of Covid in a year, my 93-year-old father continues to enjoy life in his own home with lovely friends and helpers and a peacefulness about him. Of course, his new life is due in enormous part to my sister making all the arrangements for him, finding his new home that turned out to be perfect and setting up a structure for his day to day where he was well taken care of, not lonely and in need of nothing. I am so grateful to her and her boundless abilities.

May, it was girls’ time on the east coast of England, and we enjoyed some glorious days — friends for over 45 years and we can still be ridiculously funny and silly together and laugh until we fall off our chairs. We are branches off each other’s trees, our roots tightly meshed and never to be untangled. Every time we say goodbye, I’m looking forward to seeing them again. I am so grateful for the art of texting and wassaping too. No matter the time zone we are always in touch, sharing photos or funny things or just checking in. Modern technology is such a blessing for those of us that live abroad.

Summer I saw husband create the most lush garden of fruits and vegetables and flowers. Though he is fairly disabled these days, he was very proud of his achievements in that arena, and we have royally enjoyed the fruits of his labors throughout the year. With a nod back to my sister Rosie and her phenomenal attitude towards adversity, I would tell him to focus on the things he can do and not stress on the things he can’t. I think he may have finally taken a little of that to heart and this will set him in good stead for the coming years. So very grateful for all of that.

Oh, and my animals — babies of my heart — how grateful I am for you! This past year, we rescued a horse, two more goats, two cows (with a third hiding in Mama’s belly), a dog or two, several cats, ducks, more turtles … and so Solace and her magic never closes their doors and, truthfully, the animals rescue us more than we ever rescue them.

And I am grateful for my work. It does not come in at last place, since it is still important that I work, though your priorities do change as you age. I partnered up with Leticia this year and that has made real estate a lot more fun and freed us both to take the trips we desire, leaving a pro behind to manage everything in the real estate world while we take a break.

I have to say that my work life has changed many times over in a positive way with us joining forces. It’s so good to be able to bounce ideas off someone and try to figure out solutions. Especially navigating this difficult, changing market, we have so much more fun together than apart and I’m so appreciative of her.

And here we are, it’s Thanksgiving again and soon I will visit my father and sister for an early Christmas with them and see my lovely friends on the coast. Always good to have dates in the diary and a sunny disposition to navigate the tougher times that inevitably arise.

In the meantime, we will gather round the turkey table with our son and his wife and toast another lovely thankful time for giving. We will shine up the glasses and put the special dishes on the table. My heart will be as full as my belly. It’s been a pretty good year and I’m immeasurably grateful for that.

Lucy Jensen
Soledad Columnist

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