It's hard for me to find things to be thankful for lately. The most overwhelming thing in my life isn't a positive thing, sadly. It's easy to take a cancer diagnosis and think "This is everything in my life and it's all crap." I make a conscious decision, nearly every day, to combat those negative thoughts and instead claw and fight them and kill them with good feelings. Once I've fought off the negativity, the positivity becomes apparent and obvious.
I'm writing this the day before Thanksgiving and I'm here to say that in spite of the negative, I have a ton to be thankful for.
I'm thankful for the fact that I have friends and family who absolutely refuse to let me go down this path of treatment and recovery alone or unloved.
I'm thankful for the fact that 18 months after I started using the term "maker" to refer to myself I'm at the helm of a growing business that's making a few extra bucks for me and making people happy with the things I make.
I'm thankful for the people have taught me so much that I could never begin to even list all the things I've learned. The YouTubers, my maker friends, my teachers in Fusion360 and wood working. Without them, I couldn't even attempt to do anything I actually am doing now.
I'm thankful for the fact that I have half of my basement dedicated to being my shop, a place where I can go to create whatever I want limited, at this point only by my imagination.
I'm thankful that that shop is stocked with every tool I could ever want, and most of those tools were purchased with proceeds earned from making things using those same tools.
I'm thankful that daily I'm working on something for someone, and even when I'm not I love making things so much that I make things for myself or teach myself some new skill.
I'm thankful that I have a "day job" that starts late enough where I can get up early and work on my passion projects before I even go there.
I'm thankful for my best friend, Megan, without whom my life would just not be the same. No matter what I'm going through I have her to lean on. I've never in my life had a friend I love and value as much as her and I've never had a friend who returned what I put into the relationship as much as she does. I don't even know where I'd be without her. I'm glad that I'll never have to find out. And last, and absolutely not least, I'm thankful for my wife. When I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, my immediate thoughts were all me. Me me me me me. Selfishly, I hardly gave any thought to how she felt about it. My wife is my rock and she has been an absolute rock star in helping me get through what is admittedly the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with in my life. Even though initially I was very self-focused, I've come to the realization that in a real relationship cancer isn't something "you" get, it's something "you both" get. We both have cancer, I'm just the one dragging it around all the time. For now. And I say for now because I'm also thankful for the team of doctors who, as I write this, are coordinating on my treatment. I have a gastroenterologist, a thoracic surgeon, a radiation oncologist, and an oncologist who are all talking nearly daily to make sure I get the best treatment possible. The doctors, the nurses, the technicians, and everyone else are focused on getting me better as quickly as possible so that I can walk out of the hospital after my surgery in February and go back to living my normal life again.
This isn't strictly about making as my posts usually are, but it is about gratitude, and sometimes we need a reminder that even when things are their darkest we still have a lot to be thankful for. You're not a bad person for needing the reminder, so take a few moments today and think about it. Think about your challenges and what's focusing you in the wrong direction, then kill it with the positivity around you. When you acknowledge all the good you won't have to make an effort to crowd out the negative; it'll disappear on its own.