This week’s column

Orange County Reg­is­ter — North County News-Tribune; Date: Nov. 28, 2019; Sec­tion: News; Page Num­ber: A2

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.

Happy Thanks­giv­ing!

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].

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