It’s Thanksgiving! A time for thanks – and hard truths.
Gratitude is not just being thankful for what’s good or easy; for me, gratitude is even more powerful when we can cultivate it for things that challenge us.
So on this day, I’d like to share a few things I’m grateful for. Some are gifts that overfill my cup. Others are tremors that shake me and cause my cup to spill. All of them help make me who I am. They remind me it’s not a question of the cup half full or half empty – it’s gratitude that there’s a cup at all. Without further adieu:
- I’m thankful for my amazing team of UWC alumni who are working to make the United World Challenge a reality.
- I’m thankful for you, the supporters and champions of the UWC Challenge.
- I’m thankful for Atlantic Campaigns who organize the Atlantic Challenge race, a unique global platform to share UWC’s story and realize my dream of rowing an ocean.
- I’m thankful for SpinDrift Rowing for designing an ocean rowing boat that’s stable and fast; and I’m grateful for all their patience and help with this campaign.
- I’m thankful for all the past ocean rowers who provide invaluable advice; I’m standing on the shoulders of giants.
- I’m thankful for philanthropist Shelby Davis for awarding me with my UWC scholarship in 2004 and providing so much support for the UWC movement.
- I’m thankful for UWC of the Adriatic for showing me the world, taking me from a tiny town in mountains of New York to a global diverse village, setting me on course to make the most of this one dear life.
- I’m thankful that before UWC, I spent a great deal of time alone as a kid, because it taught me independence and that I can be my own best company.
- I’m thankful for having experienced depression at several times in my life, because it’s taught me to believe in the power to heal, given me inspiration to make my days count, and helped me empathize with others.
- I’m thankful for strained relationships that challenge me, for they shine light on my own shortcomings and where I can grow.
- I’m thankful for my sleepless nights, because when I toss and turn in bed, I can see with clarity the things I must address or accept in my life.
- I’m thankful for the challenges in preparing this row, because when I get to the start line in La Gomera in December 2019, I will feel stronger than ever, having overcome so much to get there!
Finally, I’m grateful for UWC for showing me the difference between government and people – between culture and tradition. Appreciating this difference is one reason I’ve learned to see Thanksgiving as an opportunity. An opportunity to honor the practice of being grateful (culture) while not honoring the false narrative of where the holiday came from (tradition: retelling a myth invented by government to support a nationalist agenda).
This is just the start of the list. But I’m also thankful for the opportunity to get off my computer! So for now, will stop here.