I’m writing this at Detroit airport, en route to Dubai via Heathrow. By rights, I should be writing the usual stuff about how traveling to exotic places isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – the mantra of the seasoned traveler. But as it’s the day after Thanksgiving, I thought I would suck it up and – in the best of American traditions – write about something I’m thankful for.
Three things in fact.
So here we go (and I should add at this point that I’m only doing this because I know no-one reads these Lost in the Maize blogs!)
My job. I’m constantly reminded of what I am not good at. I can’t run a mile. I’m cack-handed when it comes to anything practical. I don’t take directions well. I’m easily distracted. So it’s pretty amazing that I’ve ended up in a career where these things don’t matter! OK so it can get wearing chasing after funding, working 48 hour days and being chased around by 101 people who all – mistakenly – seem to think that you work for them. But let’s be honest, when you have the freedom to work with interesting people, explore fascinating new ideas and sometimes even make a small difference to people’s lives, what is there not to be thankful for!
My wife. Despite appearances, I’m not sucking up here or being overly-sentimental. The fact is that everything I’ve done over the past twenty three years has been possible because of the love and support of my wife. In fact, we’re really team-Maynard, with me the flash tip-of-the-ice-berg, and Clare the hidden but vital stuff that makes everything possible. OK so maybe that sounds a little schmaltzy (and glosses over the reality that we’ve had to work as hard as everyone else to keep things together). But the truth is that we are a great double-act, and for that I am very grateful.
My kids. OK so this is beginning to sound a little over the top, but, let’s be honest here, my kids are awesome. Just don’t let them know I said so! What gets me every time – and I’m sure other parents see this – is when they are clearly better at things than I am. Alex – my youngest – is already a way better musician that I ever was (he plays the oboe). And My daughter Jade can actually write – compared to me, who just pretends. She is currently within a hairs-breadth of completing a 50,000 draft novel in 30 days, as part of NaNoWriMo – now that’s impressive!
Of course, there are plenty of other things I’m grateful for – my parents and wider family for a start. But these are the three things that floated to the top as I sit here getting ready to board the plane.
And, if I was completely honest, I’m actually grateful for the chance to travel. Alright so I bitch about traveling as much as the next person. And admittedly it is a bit of a killer at times. But how else could I travel to places like Dubai, London, Salt Lake City, even Cincinnati (the next two weeks’ itinerary), and have stimulating conversations with intelligent and interesting people?
So I admit it – I’m even grateful for the travel. Just don’t expect me to admit it ever again.