The autumn season feels better than ever this year. Maybe that's because Southern California switched from sweltering afternoons to ideal ones, just with less evening light. It's that time of year where my house needs neither heating nor cooling.
With these idyllic temperatures and Thanksgiving on the horizon, I'm officially treating November as "Gratitude Month." No trick.
I'm working on being thankful for what I have and not getting hung up on what I don't. My gosh, my family truly is awesome. Dina is my soulmate. We're two peas in the pod, and I love and appreciate her so much. Sophie and Chloe are two happy, with-it teens, and I wholeheartedly love and appreciate them.
I believe gratitude is counterculture to mainstream American pop culture. Buy this. Buy that. I'm never good enough until I get that car or shirt or Michael Jackson jacket. Hey man, we didn't start the fire. It was always burning since the world's been turning.
Gratitude is probably a state of mind more than anything — and it's not always easy. The economic system we live in, capitalism, is competitive, difficult and cruel. Plus, we're living in some sort of post-truth, billionaire scare-a-thon where I'm forced to read Elon Musk and Donald Trump's names in the news every single day. We can't avoid those two, apparently.
I see violence and crime and homelessness and inequity all around me, and of course I want our societal ills to disappear or at least lessen. But in my actual day-to-day life, I count my lucky stars that I'm a middle-class high school teacher with upper-class sensibilities and a world-class education. By the way, a world-class education is the gift that keeps on giving. It means that each day is a learning experience, and I don't know any better way to live.
I stumbled across a quote from fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld the other day that I keep thinking about. He said, "I'm open to everything. When you start to criticize the times you live in, your time is over."