That’s Gratitude for You!

[Updated since original posting]

I have not posted anything new on here in a while. I do, however, occasionally make additions and revisions on existing articles.  Today being Thanksgiving, I thought I would reflect on what I feel thankful for.  It’s something that a lot of people do as part of their dinner festivities.  Since I live alone and have no immediate family nearby, family holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, are just regular days to me, nothing special. As I have spent 47 Thanksgivings in New York City, most of those were spent alone in my apartment. A few times over the years I had dinner with friends at their places or a group of us will go to a restaurant. Other times I might be on the road touring with one of my various performing groups.

I am the type of person who doesn’t complain or dwell on what I don’t have but always appreciate what I do have. We should all be mindful of the fact that however bad off you think you are, there are always others who have it much worse than you do.

The thing that I am most thankful for is the fact that I am still alive and active. I have survived 75 years plus of life, whereas so many of my friends and acquaintances did not make it this far. I survived the AIDS epidemic during its heyday in the ‘80s and ‘90s, when so many were not so fortunate. Up until the last decade of so I have been blessed with good health all my life. I was never sick outside the common cold. I’ve never even had a headache. I never missed a day of school due to illness. I must have a natural immunity to the flu virus, as I have never had it. Typical to aging, my short-time memory has suffered in recent years, but I still have my basic wits about me, and I can retain prior acquired knowledge and trivial facts. I keep my mind sharp by doing crosswords and other puzzles, and writing is a great mind stimulator.

I am thankful for always having a roof over my head. I’ve never had a lot of money–I still don’t–but I have managed to withstand a New York existence. I have lived alone for 50 years and have been able to pay my rent all by myself. And I have accomplished that by never having a 9-to-5 job but maintaining freelance employment throughout my adult life. Most people find that amazing in itself. I tend to live within my means, you see. I don’t buy anything that I don’t have the available cash for, therefore I don’t incur any debts and I don’t owe anybody anything. If I should want something that I cannot afford, I will just do without it. Although I needed one, I did without a piano for many years until I finally got the cash to purchase one.

Nowadays that my Social Security is enough to cover my rent, it is a great load off my mind. So even during occasional employment slumps, I don’t have to worry about making my rent for the month. I am grateful for all the breaks and concessions that I receive as a senior citizen, and I take advantage of everything that is offered me. My insurance plan provides me complete medical coverage, which include doctor visits and follow-up care, hospitalization, prescriptions, plus eye care and dental coverage.

Even with my modest monetary means, I have all the comforts of home–my computer, TV, music-generator items, plenty of reading material, records and videos at my disposal. Therefore, I am never bored. I can always find something to do. I can cook, sew, clean house and make minor household repairs. The only thing I don’t have are a washing machine and dryer on the premises. I still have to shlep to the Laundromat. But you can’t have everything. I know people who do have a washer but are lacking a lot of things that I have.

My mother passed in 2015, and I am thankful that she lived long enough to experience my adult life and musical career with me. I am also thankful for the positive, stress-free upbringing I received from her as well as her unconditional love and support. Although both my parents are now deceased, all my siblings, four brothers and one sister, are still alive. I intend to follow the example of my uncle Lester, who lived to be 111-years-old!

I am thankful that I still have my voice and am able to do what I enjoy most, that is sing. There has not been as much paid choral work in recent years as there was in the past, even before the pandemic shut down everything completely. I am grateful to have received a well-rounded education and always had many outlets and opportunities for artistic expression.

I am thankful to have many good, loving friends in my life. When I hook up with somebody, it is almost always a lifetime commitment. I have friends as far back as elementary school, high school, college and my Army years. I love sex and I am proud to say that I can still get it up! All things considered, I have much to be thankful for. I love my life and I will hate to have to give it up someday. So I am just going to enjoy it as long as I can.

Happy Thanksgiving Day, my dear Readers!