I had a colleague say to me yesterday, “All right, four things you are thankful for…go!”

I couldn’t answer. Not on the spot like that. And not in such an offhand manner. I’m not one for the casual when it’s truly personal. I told her I’d get back to her. I never did.

I did think, however. And my four are as follows: My wife, my children, my health, my writing.

Now, I probably could have answered with those four yesterday, easily. But each deserves a bit more depth.

My wife: No one else besides a writer’s spouse or partner knows how much a struggle this choice is, how much we question ourselves. No one else is close enough to see all the revision, both internal and external. Yes, writing is a craft, but done well, and with purpose, it is more. it is revelatory and can change you. Having someone willing to accept those changes is a godsend.

My children: I’ve heard from many about how children can “get in the way” of goals. Sure they can, and that’s okay. Sometimes life asks you to think about your direction and alter. Fortunately, my children have provided me motivation. I began writing for myself. I wanted to be able to say, “I did that. Check me out.” Not anymore. My children have humbled me, and in the process have given me more inspiration to write than any agent or contract could. I need to make good on this time I spend, because all of it is time away from them. It had better be worth it.

My health: I have a laundry list of medical issues–type 1 diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, allergies and a broken back. Yesterday, at my allergist, the nurse took my vitals and then asked me, “Are you a runner?” I’m not. CrossFit keeps me in all-around shape. I said, “I workout. Why, what are my numbers?” My Blood pressure was 102/60 and my pulse was 50. In spite of my hurdles, I maintain. “Health” is a relative term, and so far I’m managing to keep it in check. Without it, I would not be able to do all of which I am capable.

My writing: I am still over the moon about Running Press publishing Tap Out. It is difficult for me to conceptualize that next year at this time my novel will be on the shelf. Unreal. But more than the contract, my writing expresses how much I’ve grown. I’ve been trying my hand at writing seriously since I was in my early twenties. Over ten years later it makes sense that with diligence I’ve improved. Thank you Kate McKean and Lisa Cheng for seeing this.

There are my four. I think this answer is better than what I could have shot off yesterday. I think I’ll send this link to my colleague. Her interest was genuine and I appreciate the prompt to take a moment and reflect. We all should.

Happy Thanksgiving.