We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. - Thornton Wilder
It’s hard to believe that the Thanksgiving holiday has arrived. Work gets busy, life becomes hectic, and then before we realize it, we find ourselves with only a few days remaining in the year.
I have learned the holidays take on different meanings as we age, and that our stage in life typically dictates how we celebrate a holiday season. For some, the holidays will bring great joy. Others may find the season brings bittersweet moments, or even sorrow. Many find this time of the year overwhelming with all the festivities, travel, and expectations, while some will use the holidays as an opportunity to slow life down for a time. For me personally, I know I will experience each of these emotions and perspectives during the holidays, with varying levels of intensity.
Thanksgiving however is a time which I believe offers all of us a unique and special opportunity, regardless of how we experience the holiday season. Thanksgiving is rooted in gratitude, and it is this spirit of gratitude that provides us the opportunity to reflect upon and remember everything for which we can and should be grateful. As you experience Thanksgiving in the next few days, I would urge each of you to take a moment and look beyond the food, your travel plans, early Christmas shopping or other activities and plans, and reflect with gratitude and gratefulness on all that is important in your life.
As has been my tradition for many years, I am grateful to have the opportunity to share some of what I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving. Some are significant, some may seem silly, but all are meaningful to me.
This season, I am thankful for:
My children, watching them continue their journey as they take on partners, grow in their work and careers, embrace their unique skills and interests, learn from their struggles, and enrich the lives of others, all while giving me the opportunity to continue to be their father and share in their lives;
People who contribute their personal resources of time, money, or both for those among us who have very little, need so much, or require something specific that they could never provide for themselves;
Carpenters, laborers, brick masons, concrete finishers, electricians, plumbers, and all the other craftsmen who work with their hands, rely upon the strength of their backs, and take pride in what they accomplish on a daily basis;
Memories of those who have gone before us, we miss them horribly, but know our lives are enriched and better because of who they were, what they taught us, and by the life they led;
The ability to exercise, to stay active, and to realize the blessing of health as well as the obligation it requires of us in return;
My front porch at the coastal home where we live, it’s the place we welcome friends and family, enjoy food and drink, listen to rain during a storm and the frog’s croak afterwards, read a book, amuse ourselves people watching, conduct the occasional business meeting, solve world problems, complain about the tourists, laugh at jokes and anecdotes that are only funny because we want them to be funny, and just enjoy the beauty around us that God has created;
Artists, those who write, paint, make music, craft, shape, or simply create something that did not exist before, ultimately allowing the rest of us to enjoy their talents and their work;
My favorite restaurants, the places where they know me, welcome me, make me feel special, and turn dining out into more than just a meal and a place to eat;
Hardware stores, because sometimes a guy just has to have a place where he can go do a little shopping even when he doesn’t need anything;
Public golf courses, especially the ones in smaller towns all across our country, where you can show up, pay a few dollars, get paired up with a stranger or two for next four hours, and enjoy a round of golf at a place where its more about the love of the game and not the membership roster;
Construction Superintendents, on-site leaders building the great structures of our country while persevering through multiple obstacles that would break most people, all because they have a love for building;
A sunrise or sunset over a marsh, crossing a bridge over a mighty river, or the vista from atop a mountain;
Counselors, social workers, ministers, and all the mental health care professionals who strive to help others understand, cope, adjust, and often survive when life becomes overwhelming or begins to feel unbearable;
Food pairings, which for me includes fresh-made pasta with a nice Brunello, berry cobbler with homemade ice cream, fish with grits, peanut butter and chocolate, and a loaf of warm sourdough with a pinot noir;
The support staff at A M King, who keep the company engine running by working diligently, executing flawlessly, always being considerate, and every day without fail caring about the work they do to make our success possible;
Taking a surfboard to the beach, paddling out into the ocean, waiting for a suitable wave, and knowing that even though my skills and abilities are no longer what they once were, realizing the moment of being in that place feels no different than it did 40 years ago, making it again magical and meaningful;
Family and friends, whether they be old or young, southern or northern, black or white, gay or straight, rich or poor, democrats or republicans, carnivores or vegans, it doesn’t matter. They are the people in my world who make me smile when I see them, who take the time to text or call occasionally, who laugh at my jokes and listen to my opinions, who teach me when I need a lesson, and who will always be there whether I need an ear or a shoulder. They make life fun, make living meaningful, allow me to be a part of their lives, and expect nothing in return except love, respect and decency;
All of my colleagues at A M King, who through their hard work, passion for excellence, high level of integrity, and the content of their character, continually demonstrate they are the best in the industry;
And Jen, my wife, my best friend, and my soul mate. She supports me, cares about me, and goes above and beyond for me. But more importantly, she brings me joy, allows me to be myself, and makes every day we are together a blessing. I am better because of her and fortunate that so many years ago she chose me as the person with whom to share her love.
I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving holiday.
Brian T. King is the founder of multiple businesses encompassing design, construction, real estate and manufacturing. A well-respected construction industry CEO, Brian enjoys offering guidance to young professionals, rising managers and entrepreneurs on a variety of topics – from personal and professional growth, to work/life balance – through his blog, CEO Perspectives series, national podcasts, and speaking engagements around the country.