Thursday, November 28, 2013

Plenty to be thankful for

Elizabeth Zelvin

Since I've been blogging every Thursday for the past seven years, it's always fallen to me to write the Thanksgiving Day post. We all know that some people maintain a positive attitude about their lives and the world around them (glass half full) and others are chronically overwhelmed by everything that does or can go wrong (glass half empty), taking refuge in cynicism or negativity as a defense against disappointment.

Thinking about my writing career, along with all the other events and circumstances of my life, I've concluded that both perspectives are correct. Don't take my word for it. Take an eight-ounce glass and pour four ounces of water into it. Take a look. Is the glass half full? Yes. Is it half empty? Yes again. I've also concluded that I feel a lot happier when I choose to focus on the pleasures and successes rather than the failures and frustrations. Counting one's blessings may sound corny, but it probably has the same impact on the brain as listening to Mozart. And Thanksgiving is an excellent time to do it. So I'm going for a double dose of happy hormones this year: the endorphins released by the L-tryptophan in the turkey and the warm, fuzzy feelings I get from reflecting on all that's good in my life.

For starters, I'm still a published writer, and that's something that can never be undone. E-editions of all my novels and a new novella came out as e-books this year, as did a collection of my stories; the three novels were also released as audio books. Two new short stories appeared, one in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and the other in Mysterical-E. And after turning a lot of stones, I've decided to e-publish Voyage of Strangers, my novel about what really happened when Columbus discovered America.

For someone on the brink of turning 70 (the new 39, in my opinion), I'm in remarkably good health. An alarming number of people I know have debilitating or life-threatening diseases. I have to stretch for fifteen minutes every morning to unkink my back, and I take pills so I won't get what used to be agonizing migraines, but for the moment that's the worst of it. I work out every day by walking 45 minutes or more with walking poles, usually through Central Park, which is beautiful in every season. My cholesterol is fine, I have the blood pressure of a baby, I've got my father's wrinkle-resistant skin, and I'm genetically programmed for longevity on both sides of the family.

And speaking of family, I am blessed. Unlike the guys in TV shows, movies, and novels, the most important men in my life--my father, my husband, my son--have all been one-woman men. My husband works hard at his job and (I have to admit this because he might read it) does way more than his share of domestic chores. My son is one of those Gen X dads who's an equal partner in parenting. He loves his job and makes a good living, so I don't have to worry about him. Finally my two granddaughters are the light of my life. They're coming today for Thanksgiving dinner, and it doesn't get any better than that.

1 comment:

JJM said...

Although I do, of course, know what is meant by "glass half empty", I take comfort in the fact that the glass half-filled with water is still full. After all, the rest is filled with air. (^_-)