A thank-you-490606_1920few weeks before Thanksgiving I asked readers of the Wild at Heart Newsletter one simple question: What are you thankful for this year?

Over half the respondents chose one clear answer: Family. However you define it, whatever it means to you, whomever it denotes in your life, readers said family makes the not just the holidays but every time of year special.  Love, friends, survival, and the end of the election season were the next most popular answers, in that order. But in one of the most popular Wild at Heart surveys ever, family had more votes than all the other answers combined.

Little things

For some people it was the smaller things that brightened their days. New kitchen cabinets. Kittens. The patience of a spouse. Outlander on TV or Star Wars: Rouge One. Being born human.

Survival

Besides family, there was another common theme: survival. So many of the write-in answers were about this. About spending 14 years with two sisters taking care of a younger brother who was paralyzed in a car accident. About getting enough sight back to read. About getting through cancer and surgeries with the support of loving family and friends. People wrote about rebuilding lives and supporting loved ones on new adventures. I was honored and humbled by the fortitude, grace, and optimism shown.

 

A tradition

My husband, Ron, and I have only one Thanksgiving tradition together. It goes back to my childhood, when we went around the table and each spoke about one reason for gratitude. These days Ron and I are often not near family and friends on Thanksgiving. But every year during the evening meal (be it turkey, spaghetti, or sushi), we tell each other what we’re thankful for. We reflect on and cherish all the things that went right in the past year. We’re always surprised by how long our lists are. The more we remember, the more there is to be grateful for. It’s a lesson I always need to re-learn: gratitude is worth looking for. This year, my Wild at Heart Newsletter readers taught me that.

Thank you, everyone!

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