It is Thanksgiving, which, despite whatever cultural implications it might carry, is one of my favorite holidays. It is one of my favorite holidays because it forces me to reflect on what I am thankful for, and this year I am thankful for rather a lot.
But first, some background. This time last year I had considerably less to be thankful for. Just out of a long and difficult relationship, I woke up at Reed to realize that I didn’t really have a solid friend group. Nor was I the same caliber of thinker that I am now. This past year, both I and my life have improved considerably and this is what I am most grateful for. It was not really until about this time last year that I began to really get to know the members of Babylon and I was far from what I would call a member. This time last year I was mediocre with respect to philosophy; most of this has changed. While I would not say I have become a morally better man, as my kindness is now more discriminating; I think I have become a superior man.
Today I am most thankful for the opportunities I have been given. I am thankful for the wonderful opportunities I have been given by my mother, who is paying for my education. I am thankful to have been able to work with a top notch philosopher over the summer. I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to become a good, respected, and real member of Reed’s philosophy department. And I am thankful that the Babylonians wanted to get to know me.
The truth of the matter is, one can only do so much by oneself. I have worked hard to become who I am, and I have seized these opportunities. But it is important to realize that they were opportunities, that I was lucky to have them.
Without such a fantastic mom, I wouldn’t be at Reed. This has been a gateway to improving my mind. The past few weeks I’ve been able to grasp things that eluded me completely a year ago, and it’s an awesome feeling, let me tell you! Without my philosophy professor, TC, I wouldn’t have the same love or the same understanding of the field I’ve decided to study.
Without my friend, let’s call him Tall, I wouldn’t feel like a real member of Reed’s philosophical community, and I don’t think I would be nearly as driven. He is, besides one of the most brilliant and well read undergrads I have ever met, an intensely good man.
And without the folks at Babylon, there is a lot I would not have learned. When it comes down to it, I think I am most thankful this year for Babylon; these are some of the best friends I could have. Through them I have learned to fight, to become stronger, the basics of combative shooting, a little rhetoric, and how to drink scotch in a manly fashion. But also, I have learned how to better conserve myself emotionally and how relationships ought to look. That being said, metaphysics is still a valid field of inquiry (usually). But more than that, I think we don’t really realize the value of having close friends close by until we don’t. And this time last year, I didn’t really have that. Now I have people that I can count on, people I love dearly. This year, I am most grateful that I had the opportunity to get to know them.
So, I am grateful for the opportunities that I have had. Most of all, I am grateful that I have been given the opportunity to run with such exceptionally high caliber people; it is largely due to them that I am happy and that I have become better.