thankful for the good and the bad

redtreeWell, folks, here we areThanksgiving Eve. For some of you, Thanksgiving is already here, has already come, is already gone. Then again, some of you may not even celebrate Thanksgiving. I sure didn’t when I lived in Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Tonight, I am thankful for many things, but I wonder, what are they for? Is it only the good things I appreciate? The luxuries? The kindnesses? The love? What about the bad experiences? The ugly ones? The horrid-nesses? The hate?

To be honest, I am thankful for all of the experiences in my life, including the bad ones. I’m thankful for my rock-climbing accident, for my bad grades, for the times I got caught doing wrong, for relationships that hurt me. I’m thankful for the scratches on my car, the times I was late, the jerk who stole my purse, the plans that have gone wrong. Why?

Because those experiences have made me me, and taught me to be a better person, and helped shape my values, and helped me better relate to you.

My bad experiences have made the good times in my life sweeter, the love richer, the meaning deeper. After all, if all of life were good and perfect, wouldn’t “goodness” lose its meaning? What is “good” without “bad”?

Hmm.

As for me, my Thanksgiving will be spent running a 10k, Sacramento’s 20th annual “Run to Feed the Hungry,” in the morning and helping to cater a special Thanksgiving meal for a family in the afternoon. It should be a good time. I hope your Thanksgiving iswaswill be a wonderful time, too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Without bad, there would be no good. Without sad, there would be no happy. Without pain, there would be no joy. Without hate, there would be no love. —Unknown

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35 thoughts on “thankful for the good and the bad

  1. Happy thanks giving! We don’t celebrate it here, but I have recently met some Americans who are all running around Beira, frantically looking for a turkey! I suspect they may have to settle for chicken this year! Hope the race went well :-)

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Lianne! The race went really well! My official time was 50:50, which means I was running just over an 8-min mile! I was pretty happy with that… And lol the Americans looking for turkey. That cracks me up. When I go abroad, I’d rather embrace the local traditions rather than worrying so much about remembering my own.

      • Absolutely, I think that mostly they do around here! The guy that went in search of a turkey has a great story – hoping to write about him next week. He has moved to Mozambique from the states for good, has built himself a mud hut in the middle of the Mozambican bush and mostly lives on beans and rice! I’ll let him have his turkey just this one time! Well done for the race – my gosh, I have just started cycling and I think maybe, possibly make that time on wheels. But probably wouldn’t make the whole race!

  2. dalo2013 says:

    Hey Jess, Happy Thanksgiving, and great post. I like the dichotomy you create with the question about needing both ‘yin’ and ‘yang’. There is a chapter in the Dao de Jing that discusses this very point, but not as poignantly as you :-)

    You can even throw a little of Paolo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ into the mix as well in regards to all the turmoil we go through in life… Have a great holiday weekend, and good luck with the 10K and dinner.

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Randy, and I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, too! The run went really well — I set a new PR — and so did the dinner… I’m glad you liked the perspective I brought here. I’ll have to look at the Dao de Jing, and I really hadn’t thought about the Alchemist! I read that book in Hong Kong. Coelho is right that no life is without turmoil…

      Anyway, thanks again! Hope you have a great weekend ahead! This is my favorite time of year in Hong Kong. :)

  3. Mabel Kwong says:

    If we don’t feel sadness or frustration, we will never truly know what happy feels like. I guess we can only be thankful for our bad experiences if we look at them from a positive perspective. Sounds like you have a good Thanksgiving planned, I hope you have fun! Here in Australia we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving…but it doesn’t mean we can’t be thankful for the little things like food and water that we have :)

    • Jessica says:

      Exactly Mabel. Why I’m not exactly saying we need to be thankful for everything bad in our lives, at least, when viewed from the right perspective, we can use those things to *give* us even more perspective and to learn! And yes! We can all be thankful every day. This life is a gift and every day is precious. Hope you have a great weekend!

  4. Happy Thanksgiving Jess. A thought-provoking post as always. We don’t celebrate it here either.

    If all of life were good and perfect, wouldn’t “goodness” lose its meaning? What is “good” without “bad”? How true that is!

    Here is my version:

    I’m thankful for staying alone, missing my family, for the bike accidents, for the dent in my tank, for the days when I tore my hair apart and for the hair-cut experiment that went horribly wrong…. ;)

    • Jessica says:

      Hahaha, Allwin! Your comment made me laugh. Yes, as a I said to Mabel above, while we don’t necessarily have to be thankful for the bad things, they can at least give us perspective and help us appreciate the good things more!

      Hope you’re having a lovely weekend!
      Your friend,
      Jess

  5. 1stpeaksteve says:

    Life teems on the dangerous side of the coral reefs…where the waves pound the coral. Where the predators are. On the calm side of the reef is sand and few animals. So we need some element of adversity.

    I could just deal with a little less! Ha ha!

    Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

    • Jessica says:

      I know what you mean, Steve. The bad times can be a positive thing when viewed from an open-minded perspective, but we can only take so much pounding. It’s the good times that make the bad times worth getting through…

      Anyway, hope you had a great day. Happy Weekend!!

  6. oldironhoss says:

    and ur thankful for the bad boys in ur life -

  7. bhuwanchand says:

    Happy Thanksgiving day, have a good one with your family. Admire the cause for which you are running on this lovely day. I hope it balances out all the calories that you would be gaining in the sumptuous meal later on.

    I agree that this day and in fact all festivals days give us the bright hope to go through the rest of dull/ dark days of life. With these moments of happiness that we share with our loved ones we get the courage to face the tougher days and challenge in our life.

    • Jessica says:

      I’m glad you feel the same way! Yes, every life is a balance of good and bad, and we definitely need the good to get through the bad, and the bad to help us better appreciate the good!

      My Thanksgiving was wonderful. The run went well, and even though I didn’t have a Thanksgiving feast, I had a great time catering a meal for others! Hope you have a lovely weekend! It’s always wonderful to hear from you. :)

  8. Happy Thanksgiving to you too Jess! A good post for the day & weekend!

  9. Terri Nelson says:

    Hope your race went well. I love the quote and may put it on my wall.

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks, Terri! The race went really well! I ran the whole thing in 50:50, which is just over an 8-minute mile and far better than I’ve done before… I liked the quote, too! Hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving! I’ve actually been thinking about you! Hadn’t heard from you in a while.

  10. Jean says:

    Is that tree in your area now? Lovely photo. Best wishes for a memorable thanksgiving.

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Jean. No, the photo isn’t from here. Unfortunately, California doesn’t get a lot of fall colors. I love this photo, though. Got it off of Pinterest. I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, as well!

  11. Thankful for the good AND the bad. There’s a thought…well thought. :0)

    Hope yours was as pleasantly hectic as mine…

    • Jessica says:

      It was a busy day. A run in the morning and catering a meal for others at night… You went to Missouri, yes? It’s time for me to respond to your message!

  12. One of my favorite expressions, “strength is born of adversity.”Great blog, sweet lady!

  13. Your attitude is something of a model for all of us. Yes, we should be thankful for both the bad and the good that happens in our lives. Because as you say the bad gives us a chance to become better persons. A wonderful post. And I love that beautiful picture!

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you so much, Otto, and sorry it took me so long to respond to your lovely comment! I think we all should be thankful for the good and the bad… We are all luckier than we know just to be able to be alive and breathe and walk every day. And I’m so glad you like the photo. I wish that I could take credit for it!

  14. Jennie Saia says:

    I used to say I had no regrets. I stopped because people thought it was sanctimonious; that I was saying I hadn’t made mistakes. But I meant what you mean – even at my worst, when I hurt other people, I learned from it and became better. If I took any of it back, who knows what I’d be like now… it’s like those time travel novels where the tiniest quirk of fate actually shapes a person’s whole life.

    • Jessica says:

      Jennie, thank you so much for reading and commenting. And please forgive me for taking so long to respond! You and I absolutely think along the same lines when it comes to regrets. I’ve said for a long time that as long as I make the best decisions I can based on the amount of information I have at any given time, then I have no reason for regret. I don’t think most people intentionally set out to make mistakes or to hurt other people… You’re right — it is those experiences that help us grow and learn and become the people that we are. I am definitely a better person because of some of the crappiest stuff I’ve been through, including some of my own mistakes!

  15. So beautifully said, Jess!
    Living is about the ups AND downs, when things flat line that means we’ve also flat lined. We’re here to experience, and everything counts as an experience, whether “good” or “bad”. It’s all in the eye of the beholder anyways, right?
    I love this post ~ I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!:D
    ~Andrea<3

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Andrea! It really is about the ups and downs. We certainly can’t avoid them! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, too! I need to catch up with your blog.
      Much Love!
      Jess

  16. Sam Han says:

    Happy belated Thanksgiving Jessica!

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