| Thankful Poor by Henry Ossawa Tanner|
(First African American painter to reach acclaim) 1894
The negative is because I'm not "connected", it's harder for me to write. Nonetheless, on weighing everything up, the truth is that one of the best blessings in disguise was having my cell phone stolen. Yes, it can burden people who need to contact me for meetings, but I incidentally found that I spend my time a lot better without having internet access.
As a result, I spend more time with my family and friends and my cat Jeh Pan, who has finally forgiven me for taking such a long absence. I've also read more; the kind of thing people did when TV wasn't around. So, being without a cell phone has certainly re-tooled my time in a way I didn't expect; that's left me a lot more fulfilled, knowledgeable, and more interesting.
I can prove it. In the last two months, I learned that depression destroys neurons. An injection of young blood can regrow nerves. If senior citizens live with their grandchildren, they tend to live longer. Celebrity chefs that stay slim all approve of dark chocolate, don't eat their own food often (haha), and most of them eat-in with much simpler foods than they cook for clients. When I analyzed Bobby Flay's book on bbq, I also realized there are only generally only five ways to cook meat. See; so if you don't want to be boring, you have to read and research more.
(My commentary: I think all this social media junk is destroying the social skills of mine and the next generation. I should've taken a picture of this. When I was in Stockholm, Sweden, I saw so many younger people sitting around the table on their phones, all of them, but they were so desperate to talk to each other. They just didn't know how. If community makes you live longer, unfortunately, these people (at least according to my research) will be more prone to depression, disease, and Alzheimer. No good.)
In any event, we're going back to Thanksgiving. I'm grateful for all the lessons I've learned. I stopped by my relatives, who all said I look very healthy and attractive. I haven't seen them in two years. So that's a good sign for me.
They couldn't make sense of how I traveled the world for 15 months. They criticized me for not making lots of money. All of them! They said I need a house, a new car, and lots more money.
I gave them one answer that made them laugh and stopped their arguments in their tracks: "You only have one life." I added: "So, it's good to enjoy."
Most seniors I meet seem regretful they didn't see as much of the world as they should have. In their youth, they said they would but never got around to it. I showed my family lots of pictures of Peru and the mountains - which they seemed fascinated with. I talked a lot about the wonderful foods I ate around the world, especially in Peru and Ibiza and France.
In any event, I suppose the lesson of this Thanksgiving is to really value the relationships you have. I was reading a Chinese parable, where the king couldn't figure out the significance of life. After passing a trial - a wise old man in the mountains gives him - the wise man tells the king - "The most important time is now. The most important people in your life are those who are present before you now. And the most important things to do with your time is to spend it meaningfully with the people you're present with now."
No wonder why Jesus says that the angels rejoice when relationships are restored. In fact, he says that a restored relationship is worth more than even finding silver treasure. (Luke 15:8-10). So, for me, lots to be grateful for this year.