As I celebrate Thanksgiving with friends, family and others I care about, I think about the things I should be thankful for. Since I have become pessimistic in recent months, this was more challenging than I imagined. I thought more about my mistakes rather than my accomplishments. I wondered whether business will pick up and score the next big client. I was concerned whether clients will pay me. I thought about bad relationships – both personal and business. I was obsessed with things I couldn’t control.
Once I hit my thirties, I had expected to hit certain life milestones: a secure career, a loving family, some professional milestones and scoring a perfect 300 game. None of these happened. And why not? Did I set my expectations too high? Did I not “work hard” enough? Was my fate determined by my high school and college grades? Did I not impress the right people? After a few years of disappointments, I began to wonder whether the doors to my dreams were permanently closed and I should reevaluate my goals – in other words, lower my expectations.
My elders told me that I am still young and have a lot to live for. True, but I’ll be 40 before I know it. And from what I have been hearing, once you are in your forties, your mindset changes. Marriage is almost certainly about security as opposed to love. You become less ambitious and more conservative. Spontaneity gives into routines.
With that being said, it is hard for me to find something to be thankful for. I am mindful that I am alive, in good health, have a profitable practice and manageable student loan payments without having to resort to IBR. And I realize there are many others who would gladly trade places with me. But to me, being thankful for vague concepts seem superficial. Yes, we all say we are thankful for life, family and living in a first world country but how many of us mean it or even appreciate it?
So after really hard thinking, I am thankful for not doing anything that would irreversibly ruin my life – like suicide, committing a crime, or screwing over clients. I am thankful that despite the challenges I face, I have not turned to the dark side that will eventually lead to substance abuse, isolation and disbarment. I hope that the future will present better opportunities.