National Labor Thanksgiving Day

Today is November 23, 2020. In Japan it is Kinrō Kansha no Hi or 勤労感謝の日 in Japanese. It’s meant to be a day to celebrate labor, the productivity of Japanese people. Appropriately, it’s a National Holiday and lots of people have a day off from work.

Except for me, of course.

But I don’t resent it. I find it extremely fitting that I would be working on this day. And I am pretty grateful that I can still say that I have a job. 

Before I go to work, though, I’m taking the time to appreciate the above fact. I have a company that remains strong despite this pandemic. On the way to the train station, I passed by the stack of letters sitting on the kitchen table. One of them contained my paycheck. It came a few days ago, but I am not in a hurry to open and cash it–because I am at the point in my life where I don’t need to worry about money.

How many people can say that right now?

I hope I don’t come off like I’m bragging. I am just really grateful that I am in such a good place.

As I am writing this blog post, I am sitting at a cafe, a place called Paul’s, sitting in front of wide-open windows facing Sapporo Station. I’m watching the people walk by. I just finished my luscious croissant, my slightly sour coffee.

I feel really blessed. I’m really glad for this quiet time for myself. This is the epitome of what it means to be grateful. I mean, damn. I can still do this. In the middle of a pandemic. With money in my wallet. With legs that can still walk. With a body that is still relatively healthy.

This Japanese holiday also happens to fall in November, the month of the American Thanksgiving tradition. In this spirit, I am writing about the things in my life that I can still be grateful for, that I can appreciate for its simplicity.

However, if I’m being honest, I am grateful and terrified at the same time. The truest truism that I can think of right now is: This, too, shall pass. That whatever good I have will go away. But the converse is also true, that whatever bad I have in life will go away, too. 

On the way here, I was riding the train and I was just thinking randomly whether this was it. That this was the point that I have dreamed of, that this was financial security.

It’s funny to be thinking about this in the middle of a pandemic. I was on social media just mindlessly scrolling through and saw one of the posts saying that they’ve been unemployed for the last four months and that they had started crafting to pass the time. They were trying to sell their products and I just thought to myself that I’m glad I still have a job as I grab my things and pack it in the bag I will bring to work. 

It’s funny. 

And yet it’s not. 

I always am an optimist, but there’s also something in the back of my mind that says don’t be too positive, that someday, shit will hit the fan and I need to be ready for that.

I think I am. Kind of. At least I know that there’s something that will help me when the troubles do come. I still have my family. I still have my health. I have a healthy savings account. For all good that will help me when I’m sick. Will it really help me, though? Probably not as much as I think it will, but it’s a good buffer for me. 

Anyway, the whole point of this is to pass the time while I wait to walk into work. 

Again, life has been good to me. 

I am forever grateful.

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