A Deeper Understanding of Gratitude

Almost a year ago, I received a diagnosis I did not expect, terminal pancreatic cancer.


When I received the diagnosis, I didn’t know I’d get another 365 days to live. I was not given any odds that I’d still be around a year later. So it makes every day such a gift because it’s a day I didn’t think I’d have.


There have been days that have been filled with exhaustion and other days that have been filled with laughter, but, believe it or not, each day has been filled with gratitude.


I recently read that it is not until the end of your life that you truly understand how to live. I will say that things don’t bother me anymore because I realize in the grand scheme of things, 99% of the stuff we worry about doesn’t matter.


There are so many wonderful things we get to experience in this world. I’d like to think that I’ve lived my life with gratitude, but now each day is filled with a deep sense of gratitude for all the blessings life has given me.


Some people might think about what has been taken from them when they are diagnosed with a disease, but what it’s given to me is an appreciation for the people around me; it’s given me an appreciation for all the things I’ve loved, and the people I’ve met, the people who have influenced my life. So when I get to thinking like that the positive things in my life so far outweigh the negative things that it’s impossible not to be grateful.


-I’m grateful for my family who has set an example for me all these years, held a high standard for me and been supportive and excited for me. They’ve never been jealous or condescending about things I’ve done.

-I’m grateful for all the students I’ve had who have enriched my life in some way and provided me with 1,000 children that I’ve had a small part in raising. That has created people I look up to and admire amongst my former students. I’m so grateful for that.

-I’m grateful for the people who have supported all the crazy things I’ve tried to do in my life; who went along with me when it was nothing more than an idea and no guarantee that any of it would work.

-And I’m grateful for my wife, her support and her acceptance of me as I am.

-I’m grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had. I’ve lived my bucket list, so I don’t come to this point in my life where I have a lot of regrets or “Oh gosh, I wish I had done ______.” I did those things when I had a chance. I’ve lived my bucket list and that’s good enough for me.

What we all need to know while we are living is that gratitude is just a simple math formula. When you make a list of all the things you have a be grateful for: family, friends, school, opportunity, CEO and the people who care about you, then write a list of all the things you are worried or concerned about or the things you think are unfair, you’re going to see that the good things in your life by far outweigh the bad in your life.