Full of Gratitude

I am full! No, I don’t mean of turkey. At least not yet. As corny as it sounds, I am full of gratitude. Now, I’ve never been one who enjoys going around the table before Thanksgiving dinner announcing what I’m grateful for this year. I’m an introvert and I tend to keep what’s most meaningful to me pretty private. But, I’ve been being asked a lot of questions lately. “So, what have you been up to?” “What have you been doing with yourself?” “How are you staying busy these days?” As though being busy is a desirable state in and of itself! I’ve been calling 2017 my sabbatical year, and here are some of the things for which I’m grateful this year.

Me at the John Lennon Wall in Prague

I am grateful for my ability to travel. It’s been a good travel year for me! I spent my 50th birthday on a beach in Punta Cana while celebrating the wedding of two wonderful people with their family and friends. I flew to Oahu in the spring with my family and made memories that are treasured more deeply now than I ever expected. I danced and laughed with friends in Minneapolis to celebrate the lives of my sister and her partner who we remember with love. I explored Amsterdam, Prague, Dubrovnik and Sarajevo with a fellow veteran in order to celebrate a friend and mentor at a turning point in, and celebration of, her career. And I can’t leave out the trips to Omaha, Grand Forks, and Fargo for learning, teaching, and spending time with wonderful friends.

A beautiful sunset in Dubrovnik

I am grateful for my ability to spend time with my family. My dad died in May. His death was quick and unexpected. As much as I miss him, I’m so grateful he didn’t suffer and that we spent two weeks on a family vacation just a couple of weeks before his death. I’m also grateful I had extra time this year to help my mom as she adjusted in the first months without dad.

My dad, Phil Keesey at a Luau in April

I am grateful that I’ve had time this year to sleep a lot, read a lot, think a lot, learn about things that interest me, and to start redefining myself after quitting a job that was a big part of my identity for several decades. Now, my desires for the coming decades are becoming clearer. I wake up with ideas and questions and the inkling of plans to develop. Some are near term ideas, some are long-term possibilities. But I know that I want to share my talents in the service of helping others share theirs.

Shortly, I’ll be taking my last trip of 2017 and will be exploring the beauty of Sedona, Arizona. It seems like a wonderful place for bringing my sabbatical year to a close. I’m so grateful.

Have you taken or dreamed of a sabbatical? What did it (or would it) look like?