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This Thanksgiving I’m thankful to (almost) be 40.

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After a decade of “Thanksgiving Shout Outs,” I changed my tune last year and got a bit more personal. This year I’m going to continue that trend.

It’s funny how you can both feel deeply grateful for something, but also have trouble wrapping your head around why.

That’s me as I write this post.

Because I have become incredibly appreciative for this stretch of my life. At stretch that, like most humans who are staring down turning 40 – kinda freaked me out.

Wanting to be a bit more proactive with this moment, I followed the example of my older sister and started a “40 before 40” challenge full of bucket-list-like items. And while I began this endeavor with some bigger ideas, I found myself gravitating more and more to really simple things as the list grew. Things like…

Restarting the tradition of bowling with my family on my birthday.
bowling photo

Eating a food I’d always been a bit leery of (tongue…it was delicious, btw).
picture of tacos

Going to that restaurant I’ve wanted to visit for decades but just…hadn’t.
red canyon lodge

Watching sunset from the divide on the way home from Ogden.
sunset photo

Finally riding that trail I’d always been curious about.
riding the skyline trail

I love adventure and exploration, but I used to believe that unlocking the joy inside those moments took something big. Something daring or risky. And as my body slowly has stopped letting me do some of those things, I think I was silently mourning the loss of opportunity for the adventure and exploration I craved.

But these last six months have convinced me otherwise.

They’ve shown me that life is full of amazing, simple moments of joy and – more often than not – a passport or months of preparation aren’t required. Instead, all it seems to take is an afternoon outside instead of at the computer, an hour at the park with the kids instead of working, or leaving my phone in my pocket and looking up at the people and places and amazing things that surround me. That, and the ability to see how awesome those moments are in an of themselves not how small they may seem to other people’s lives or other types of adventure.

For whatever reason I couldn’t see that when I was 17, 24, 32, or 36…but I can see it when I’m 39. And, along with some other lessons that come with life and years, it’s made this stretch perhaps my favorite yet.

And for that, today, I am deeply grateful.

Thanks for being one of those amazing people that surround me. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with the amazing people that surround you.

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