The older we get, the more we are thankful for every single thing – things we once never thought about but now are important.
Here is one small example. For most of my life, I have hated my legs. Even when I was so thin that I could pose as a starving waif, my legs were heavy.
But lately, I find myself feeling really grateful for those legs.
I felt it especially as I was carrying a kayak up a slight hill, having to step carefully over the rough terrain. While I was carrying the kayak, I said a short thank you for legs sturdy enough to do that job.
When I was biking yesterday, instead of thinking how I need to steel myself to pedal more miles, I said a prayer of thanks. I remembered to be grateful for having legs that can pump and pedal.
I think that's what happens to a lot of people as they get older. Instead of lamenting what they can no longer do, they are thankful for what they can do.
As we get older, we sometimes feel thankful for simple things we once took for granted – like being able to breathe easily. I have a friend who is happy as a kid when he can breathe easily enough to dance two numbers in a row. He spends his nights on oxygen so he knows the blessing of being able to breathe normally.
I did a Father's Day interview with a guy who voiced the thought that as he ages, he is happy about what he calls "the craziest things" he never thought of when he was young.
"I'm happy when I see another sunrise," he says. "I'm happy when I can go to the bathroom."
He says he means this as more than the bathroom humor that people often joke about.
"As we age, we all get problems," he says. "In fact, no matter how old we are, there are bound to be problems of some kind. But we can be happy through anything, if we set our mind to be," he said.
We were sitting around a table at the time with a few older folks. They were all nodding their heads in agreement as they listened to him.
They talked about not having much as kids but still being incredibly happy.
Manny, my girlfriend's father, said he grew up poor on New York's Lower East Side. "My parents and their six kids lived in a three-room apartment and we had less than nothing. But I don't think a rich kid could have had a happier childhood," he said.
Before he passed away I was privileged to call Bob Elliston a close friend. Those who remember him know he was one of the happiest guys on earth. We had to know he was inordinately happy because Bobby told us that at every opportunity.
The Palmerton man also told us what made him so happy. Right at the top of the list was his wife, Ruth. He never called her that. He called her Queen because she was his queen.