This is Thanksgiving. Allow me a few words to share on this day and for the holidays:
I have been recently called a Jewish American Texan, a JAT for those in the know, but I prefer to call myself an ABC, an Ameropean By Choice.
This newfound status offers great advantages: I get to live in this wonderful union of European states, at its parliamentary center in Strasbourg with my German frau and my half German/half American child; I get to work much of the year in France and Italy, and travel everywhere else; I enjoy living a cultured, artistic life in a place where it really can be appreciated; and most people here, even those who dont speak English, can still say Nuclear better than most Texans.
Of course, there are some draw backs: being told desolé, c’est mon dejuener by the French civil servant after waiting 3 hours in line at the Post office; watching the mouthful of meaty heart disease in any German or Polish breakfast, and basically having to deal with all things Swiss. But Im thankful that one can always leave Switzerland, which I did.
So therefore, this is about being thankful. But what does that really mean as we celebrate this day? Thankful means feeling blessed with what one has, not what one wants. It means celebrating where we are, not where we wish to be. It also means forgiving all the errors and mistakes we and others have made in the past. But the future hasn’t happened yet, so we cant really be thankful for that, unless, of course, we win the lottery. Then we can be thankful for the future, taxes or not.
I stop to consider what I am most thankful about. I still have my hair, maybe because it goes with my occupation. I still have my health, despite the many hours I spend in a controlled air cabin 30,000 feet above the ground. I still have my body even if my spine thinks otherwise. I still have my music career, despite this industry filled with intendants and critics that constantly make me reconsider. And I still have my family with me, and my perfect, adorable daughter, despite all the reasons why others might decide differently. And I still have my sister, Lord knows where she is in the world. I still have my mother, despite the lung cancer ravaging her body, and I have my father, despite the economic crises that forced him out of a job. So, there, Im thankful. Im blessed beyond belief, for the simple reason that it could always be worse, and it is worse for millions, if not billions, of others.
Its always interesting to make comparisons. Sure, Id love to be Dudamel. Or James Bond. Or a millionaire, or strong as an athlete or as beautiful as Brad Pitt. But Im not any of these. Im just John. An Ameropean by Choice. And that’s enough. And thats why I celebrate Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays,