So much to be thankful for

This is a time of year that many of us take a moment to reflect on things for which we are thankful.

Living what I consider a very privileged life, I have much to appreciate. Like many of you, I am grateful for a wonderful partner and children.

Although my husband and I only have one child together, I have two step-children who were young adults when their father and I married.

They have shown me and their much younger brother nothing but inclusive caring, love and support. But I would expect nothing less from them, they are without a doubt their father’s children.

Although no one is perfect, he certainly has been my perfect life partner.

Every day it seems we help each other in becoming the best people we can be.

But I must admit I am most grateful for having the privilege of raising my son. Every phase of his life has brought new things about which to marvel.

Since he is an actor and musician, I have had the extra benefit of living the arts vicariously through his performances.

In addition to my family, I’m thankful for the many communities of which I’ve had the privilege of being a part, including this one.

They have helped me see that there are good people everywhere trying to do good things. It has helped me truly value diversity of thought and lifestyle, while avoiding the cynicism that is easy to fall into given the negativity of our current public discourse.

Finally I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to engage in meaningful work that I find fulfilling on many levels, as well as to contribute to my communities in some small way, such as in writing this column or volunteering with Shelby Emergency Assistance.

I hope that you will make a habit of reflecting on and expressing the things for which you are grateful not just once a year but daily. It’s an easy way all of us can help make the world a happier place in which to live through nurturing our own sense of contentment.

Kimberly Barrett is the vice president for student affairs at the University of Montevallo.