Let’s not take our many blessings for granted
From time to time, I think about the past, and something made me think about my grandmother the other day. Born in 1900, she grew up on a farm in Wisconsin. Grandma began her life with modest means and was always thankful for what she had. She taught us grandchildren to do the same.
A number of baby boomers (I am one of many in Honolulu) and later generations fall short in appreciating how rich our lives are. We live in an island paradise that some people only get to visit once in a lifetime. On occasion, I contemplate this as I walk through Ala Moana Beach Park and remind myself how lucky I am. So, here are the three things I am most thankful for.
» No. 1: my loving wife's understanding and support. I retired in 2006 after 22 years of service as a naval officer. Up to that point, I didn't have to worry where the next paycheck was coming from. Now that I am working as a real estate agent, that is no longer the case. Running my own business and building a client base from scratch is no easy feat. Thankfully, my wife continues to earn a steady income while I'm developing a thriving real estate practice. She hasn't complained once and has been my biggest cheerleader throughout this challenging process. I am so lucky to have her!
» No. 2: modern medicine. I have a close relative who has a rare form of cancer. Due to its rarity, this particular cancer has received limited attention from the medical community. Nevertheless, a few dedicated doctors have conducted research, developed more than one drug to keep the disease in check and have achieved limited success removing it surgically. Without the monumental efforts of these medical professionals, my relative's quality of life would not be what it is today. In fact, my relative might not be alive.
Despite the negative press the U.S. health care system receives, it is still the gold standard by which the world measures medical care. Next time you visit your doctor, thank him or her for all they do.
» No. 3: freedom. This includes the freedom to live where I want, to work in the profession I choose and to speak my mind. We are entitled to this, right? Well, not everyone enjoys the freedom we Americans do. We simply take it for granted. We owe a great debt to those who defend our very way of life. I'm talking about the men and women who serve in our armed forces. They protect us every day, at home and abroad, from the jihadists who despise our liberties and seek to destroy our lifestyle. They keep us safe from those who want to hurl us back hundreds of years to a time when most men had very few rights and women had none.
I, for one, am most thankful for the sons and daughters who serve our nation with pride.
Michael Zimmerman is a real estate agent affiliated with RE/MAX Kai Lani in Kailua.