Boomers, Give Thanks This Holiday

It’s easy for us to forget among the mashed potatoes, parade and football on Thursday to remember what the holiday is all about: giving thanks.

The 2012 news cycle has been jammed pack with political, economic, global and weather-related events that have impacted our bottom line. The job market is showing signs of recovery, but it still remains weak while Wall Street continues to fluctuate as it searches for solid direction.

We survived a long campaign season, a Supreme Court battle over health-care reform and are now waiting to see if lawmakers can work together to come to an agreement about our nation’s massive budget deficit. I know us boomers are keeping a watchful eye on the future of our Social Security and Medicare benefits as we try to plan for our future.

Mother Nature has also been active this year with devastating wild fires, earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes.

Despite all this, we are a resilient nation, and we need to remember to give thanks this season. My family has a tradition of  going around the table before Thanksgiving dinner and expressing what we are thankful for. We share some laughs, shed some tears but from the oldest to the youngest--we all speak what is in our hearts.

It’s been a long year for me. I was born and raised at the Jersey Shore in New Jersey and I love every inch of this 127-mile coastline that is home to 300-square foot bungalows and sprawling multi-million dollar mansions. I have fond memories of coasting down the boardwalk on my bike and riding roller coasters in Seaside Heights until I felt sick. Now that same ride was dumped into the ocean earlier this month by Hurricane Sandy. The boardwalk has been ripped up. Homes were devastated.

Yes, there were warnings of the strength of the storm, and many East Coast residents were well prepared, but no one had any idea the path of destruction this "perfect storm" would unleash on us. Other than the loss of power, some shingles gone and a gutter blown away, my family’s home was spared as were my immediate families’ homes—and for that, I am so very thankful.

My wife and I took a ride to the beach last week end and it ripped at our hearts to see the devastation so many families were dealing with. The streets were littered with trash piles more than 10-feet high as we watched families sort through the contents of what was left of their home.

My family will be giving thanks this Thanksgiving Day that we survived the perfect storm and that we have been able to help friends and neighbors who were not as lucky as we were. Thanksgiving should be more about the "giving" part this year. Sometimes it takes an emergency situation for us to remember that life isn’t all about “stuff” and what is really important at the end of the day is our family, friends, health and memories.

I can personally say that all the victims of Hurricane Sandy are thankful for the generous support and donations from people all across the country. Whether it was help digging out a bungalow at the beach, delivering water and warm food, sending supplies, volunteering or making a cash donation, we are all appreciative.

We are strong. We will rebuild. We are united.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my boomer readers, and don't eat too much pumpkin pie!