Orange County Register — North County News-Tribune; Date: Nov. 28, 2019; Section: News; Page Number: A2
WHAT A DAY
Giving thanks for everything
It’s Thanksgiving, a day originally meant for celebrating the fall harvest with friends and neighbors. It has evolved, over the years, to be a day of overeating, punctuated by football games, along with a nap so we can get to those Black Friday sales.
And we are eternally grateful for all of it.
Being an introspective gal, I like to think about the past year and what I am most thankful for. I am always thankful for friends and family, good health, and financial security.
This year, I’m also thankful for life’s failures.
At my age, I have realized that, although I am less stressed when things go right, I learn more when things go wrong. Granted, I don’t need constant chaos. I already know the stove is hot; I don’t need to burn myself to prove it.
But it only took one time of cleaning out the garbage disposal to convince me not to put rice down there.
So this year, I’m thankful for the blood tests that revealed how out-of-balance my cholesterol and blood sugars were. They were a wake-up call, shouting that I had to get serious about my health.
Twenty-five pounds later, the doctor was nearly giddy with my new and improved lab results.
I’m thankful for the raging gusher that erupted from our lawn while Dale was in Boston. Our neighbor Oscar ran to my defense, the plumber cleared his schedule to find and fix the leak, and Dale got to see a play-by-play, thanks to the magic of cell phones.
I learned all about PVC pipes and water pressure, and can now throw phrases like, “elbow joints” and “100 psi” around like a boss. (Mostly, I’m grateful that Dale came home and took over the plumbing duties.)
I’m also thankful for the many times my schedule got derailed by something unplanned. At the time, it made me cranky to have to switch gears. I do not like change, I prefer to stay with Plan A, and I take the road less traveled by choice, not by mistake.
But each time I was forced into Plan B, the results were better than my original program. Even better, I learned not to be grumpy about it, and embrace the chaos.
When I began riding in horse shows, I was leasing an experienced show horse. Copper knew what to do and where to do it. My job was to sit quietly and point out which direction to take. It was fun, and I won a lot of blue ribbons.
I didn’t learn a thing.
My past two show horses, Snoopy and Dhani, although good, require an interactive rider. In each horse’s case, I had to learn their strengths, their weaknesses, and their quirks.
After 6 years with Snoopy, I knew him well, and could ride him easily through a course. Dhani is an excellent show horse, but I’ve spent the past 2 years learning to ride him. I haven’t yet learned to keep him going perfectly, but I’ve learned to fix our mistakes as we go.
We aren’t getting as many blue ribbons yet, but I’m having a lot more fun.
So this Thanksgiving, be grateful for all the good in your life. It’s always worthwhile to take stock of your blessings. But maybe save a little thanks for the things that went wrong. They made you stronger and wiser.
Longtime Placentia resident Gayle Carline tracks those moments that shape her days as a wife, mom, computer whiz and horsewoman. E-mail her at [email protected].