My Five: Things I Will Always Be Grateful For

First and foremost, I have to express how much I love music. I listen to and make it every day. In my opinion, no other art form succeeds in generating such a wide variety of emotional responses from such large audiences. Some people dedicate their entire lives to studying composition or performance, and only scratch the surface of all the different ways sound can be manipulated into art. While I am not nearly that devoted, I definitely feel that musicianship is something I will pursue for the rest of my life. While the vast majority of my time spent listening to music is dominated by the one and only Grateful Dead, I appreciate many genres. From Jazz, Folk, Blues, Bluegrass, Soul, and Rock and Roll, all these genres have one thing in common. They enjoyed most of their popularity in the 20th Century. 

The second thing I want to enumerate also had its heyday in the 20th Century. I deeply appreciate literature, from the likes of Orwell and Vonnegut to Tolkein and Kerouac. A book can tell a story in more refined detail than any other medium. Take the allegories and anthropomorphism of Animal Farm, it makes for stark contrast to the mythology of the Silmarillion. Reading encompasses both of those worlds and everything in between. There are countless novels written in dozens of genres, so no matter who you are, there are more books out there to enjoy than one person could read in a lifetime. 

Third, I am filled with gratitude and awe for the beauty of the natural world. I wish I could go camping every weekend, and spend my days going on hikes through breezy mountain valleys. I firmly believe that the Colorado Rockies are some of the most beautiful places on Earth. For me, there is no better place to de-stress than a forest on a balmy summer day. After all, the Buddha attained enlightenment underneath the Bodhi tree. 

This list would be incomplete without discussing meditation. Regardless of your religious views, meditation is a useful tool for controlling stress and becoming more focused and compassionate in your daily life. While it is possible to practice meditation without any religious component, I would argue everyone would benefit from a close reading of classics such as the Dhammapada, Bhagavad Gita, and Tao Te Ching. I believe it is best to learn about as many different ways of thinking about religion as you can, because even if you can’t become an adherent to them all, you can still learn from them all. 

It’s difficult to imagine a world without sports. My personal favorites are tennis, Ultimate Frisbee, and basketball. Athletic events are also wonderful social ones, from throwing a Frisbee around a park with the homies, to America’s Unofficial National Holiday, the Super Bowl watch party. There is also the competitive element of sports, which is a lot less fun when taken to extremes, but makes winning a lot more exciting. 

There are too many things I am grateful for to count. My loving friends and family, the house I live in, my pets, the car I drive, the school I go to, the instruments I own, the list could go on forever. Unfortunately, it can’t.