Thanksgiving holds an odd place in my mind. Like anyone exposed to modern culture, with its strong twist of Americana, I am aware of the holiday’s existence and many of its associated trappings. And yet I have never really paid much attention to it as an event. Of course, now that I have established myself on the western side of the Atlantic, there’s no chance of that this year.
Despite the somewhat contentious historical roots of Thanksgiving, I do quite like the concept of taking a moment to navel-gaze about the better aspects of one’s life. We’re fairly melodramatic as a species, which means that we often end up paying more attention to the bad things in our imperfect world. But ‘imperfect’ does not mean ‘thoroughly horrible’*, and making sure that there’s at least one day in the year where tradition forces us to balance out our whinging tendencies seems like a good idea to me.
Of course to fully embrace Thanksgiving, I myself need to list all of the things that I should be thankful for. Well, technically, I suppose I should also be stuffing my face with as much roast turkey as I can, watching some deviant approximation of rugby on the TV, and getting in an epic family argument. But I can start with the list.
- Despite some equipment arrival and functionality issues, my last post-doc appears to have produced some publishable data. It might even be interesting.
- It’s still early days on the new post-doc, but I believe I’m really going to enjoy my time here in Chicago. I’m getting a good vibe from both the place and the project.
- Having jumped through all the requisite bureaucratic hoops required of me both before and after arrival in the US, it should be several months before I have to wait for hours in some joyless concrete monstrosity to get a form stamped.
- I get to go to AGU this year. There will be beer, and geoblogger/tweeter meet-ups. And more beer. And interesting conversations with friends and colleagues. And yet more beer. And interesting science. Did I mention the beer?
- I live on a planet where plate tectonics creates lots of interesting geology, that I can spend my life puzzling out.
So it seems that I do have a lot to be thankful for. In fact, 2010 has been pretty awesome in ways that I would never have thought possible this time last year – and 2011 looks like it’s going to be even better. And it is a good feeling to acknowledge that. Fear not, though. I’m not going to let sunny American optimism overwhelm my British cynicism too much – which you may or may not be thankful for…
Right. Now where’s the turkey?
*Calvinists may beg to differ.