Every year on Thanksgiving I offer a reflection on the good fortune I’ve had in travel, mile and points and to be able to interact with so many wonderful readers over the course of the year. And as difficult as 2021 has been for so many – let’s face it, it’s a dumpster fire, and we thought nothing could match 2020 – I’m even more thankful than I’ve ever been.
- First, for my family’s health. When people ask me how I’m doing, as part of a polite start to most conversations, I usually offer that I’m doing wonderfully compared to most of the world. Sure there are things that aren’t going my way, but what do I have to complain about? So far at least I have my health, and my family does too.
I am genuinely grateful to the bioscientists who delivered remarkably effective vaccines that have allowed most of us to return to mostly normal life. How on earth are we not throwing ticker tape parades for these people?
- Second, for the good things that Covid has wrought. The last two years have been terrible for people in so many ways. And the scales tipped heavily on the horrible side. But that doesn’t mean everything about the pandemic has been horrible, and I’m not sure we appreciate enough (or at least talk about enough) the small bits of joy that wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t spent so much time at home.
With business travel grounded so long I got to have dinner with my now-three year old daughter nearly every night. I get to meet her every morning when she wakes up, and share duties with my wife putting her to bed. And it’s not something I’d have ever gotten, because she’ll never be a toddler again. Intertemporal substitution – “I’ll make it up with more dinners and bedtimes later” – isn’t exactly the same thing.
- Third, for my readers. I get to interact with brilliant and thoughtful people through this blog. Sure, the comments on posts often descend into madness (it’s the internet) but I’ve gotten to know so many people. And online friendships are all so many people have had, I’ve been practicing at it since the start of this blog in 2002 (and really going back to my BBS days in the mid-1980s).
A couple of months ago I heard from a reader I hadn’t heard from in years, and he offered one of the nicest tributes to me and to my blog imaginable. He began as though I might not remember him, and it might be some sort of imposition to reach out. Of course I remembered our past correspondence.
If there’s one thing I think I have to offer writing for 19 years here, it’s a memory. I remember when things have happened before, been promised before, and how they worked out. And I try to offer some of that context to the day’s developments. I remember most of the people I’ve had the good fortune to get to know since I began in miles and points, and it’s sustained me this year even more than in others.
I thought I’d take the Thanksgiving opportunity to express my thankfulness for each of you that reads my blog and interacts with me throughout the year. I’ve said this many times before but I really do consider myself one of the luckiest people, and certainly much more fortunate than I could have ever imagined.
I’m deeply shy, which some people can find off-putting when I meet them (thinking that by not being outgoing with them I must not be interested, or somehow aloof). The written form has allowed me to connect so well with many. And I’m grateful for those connections, although I don’t share nearly as much detail that’s personal many of you know me very well from my writing — certainly my opinions, my quirks, my sense of humor. This hobby has enriched my life in so many ways, including less obvious ones.
This blog has done that for me as well. In many ways it’s still the same personal blog I first started, I write and share what is interesting to me. I usually write as though no one is reading, and I’m shocked when I get a call from an airline’s or hotel’s communications shop because a C-level executive is unhappy with something I’ve said. (Or when one of those C-level folks comments here or drops me a note, as happens so often too.)
Now there are just a whole lot more people reading the blog than when I started and I appreciate each and every one of you. Even the ones that are trying to insult me! I don’t always have as thick a skin as I should, but I try my best, because each and every reader has something to teach me or challenge me. And the positive feedback touches me deeply.
So thank you. Thank you. I look forward to continuing to share this journey together, and I appreciate this opportunity to reflect — and to acknowledge.