I can’t stress enough how important it is for happiness to spotlight the things in life you are grateful for. I know I do this a lot, but being the week of Thanksgiving (and being on a short schedule), I thought I’d express my gratitude again.

I am going to start with the obvious. This is a paragraph I’ve used before, but I am sticking with it because it still rings true. I’m grateful to my family I am genetically related to: starting with my parents. Oh, I also have to include my Aunt Barb in this. She was like a second mother in many ways. Yeah, they weren’t perfect but, they were perfect for me. Even when they gave me bad advice, like “Take French.” They always meant well. Also grateful to my sister as I would have been even more spoiled if I was an only child. Yeah, my first years were great, but it was nice to have company. Sure, I wanted a dog or a brother, but life doesn’t always give you what you want. It teaches you to adapt and be flexible. I’m also super grateful for the wide variety of cousins I have that span the country and the globe. You really present me with a lot of interesting perspectives. I love you guys even if I don’t often say it.

Now I’m super grateful to my wife and son for their support and encouragement and putting up with me all these years and all my “little” faults. (If you must know I am the world’s worst singer, yet I still occasionally sing without realizing it.) I tell everybody the secret to being a moderately successful writer is to have a spouse or a significant other who has a real job. Our dog Daisy also gets kudos for making me play with her outside even when I didn’t think I wanted to. I couldn’t do what I do without you guys. I just can’t stress this enough. You make me a better me.

Being holiday times, I am super grateful to my niece Natalia and great-nephew Felipe for being here for both thanksgiving and my 65th birthday. It means the world to me! You prove people can have strong bonds without a genetic bond.

I also must mention my other “adopted daughters”: Ana-Caro and Iris. You guys mean a lot to me! I also have to say gracias to all my Costa Rica nieces and nephews and in-laws. I can’t name you all but you bring great perspectives into my life. Specifically to Andres I have to say, thanks to the Browns for letting the Bills beat them.

To my “pickleball daughters”: Laura and Mary. Thanks for being part of our lives even when not playing pickleball or ping-pong. All my other pickleball friends who have become more than pickleball friends: Lisa, Marisa, George, Mary, Tom, Condor, Dave, Becky the list goes on. Thanks, you are all fun to play with and to talk to.

To my oldest friends: Tom, Chris and Ron. Thanks for knowing me for decades and decades and still being friends. I also have to thank Ken Bell’s family for still being friends; Ken is missed but not forgotten. As for Kathy I forgive you for hitting me with that jart. It made me tougher. Plus I am mostly sure you didn’t do it on purpose.

John Zakour lives in Geneva. He is a freelance humor writer with a bachelor’s in computer science from SUNY Potsdam and a master’s in human behavior. He is a chief happiness practitioner. He has sold thousands of gags to strips and magazines and had over 50 books published. He writes his own syndicated comic, “Working Daze,” which has anywhere from 30K-100K daily readers. His “Positive Vibes” column runs every Thursday. Contact him at johnzakour@gmail.com. Or, check out his blog at workingdaze.blogspot.com.

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