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Author and fellow dream chaser, Dr. Terry Paulson, says that gratitude is the secret to finding your way to happiness and optimism. When you are thankful, your attitude has to come along for the ride.

What better day to be thankful?

Today I am thankful for many things, one of which is you.

Thank you for making time in your day to visit me here at Beyond the Gray. I hope that some of my words are able to lighten your heart, inspire your soul or, maybe, just maybe, bring a smile to your face.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yesterday I woke up with the euphoric realization that we are leaving for vacation in exactly one week (it’s funny how much easier it is to get out of bed when you know that you only have a few more days of “the grind” to endure).

But then I went online (big mistake) and my euphoria quickly gave way to dread as I scanned the headlines: “Athens Bank Blaze Kills 3 as Greeks Protest Cuts” and “General Strike Paralyzes Greece”. 

Oh wait it gets better…

“Today’s deaths happened at a bank in downtown Athens, where protesters hurled homemade gasoline bombs at police in riot gear, who responded by firing tear gas and stun grenades.”

Yep, this is where I’m going to relax and recharge my batteries…sounds nice doesn’t it?

Naturally, everyone has been asking me if I’m worried/scared/still planning to go, etc. Ironically (and I’m not sure why this is, maybe just sheer desperation to get away for a while?), I’m not really phased by it. Maybe it’s because I spend so much mental energy trying to manage the risk and unforeseen problems in my own life that I just don’t have the energy to worry about Greece’s meltdown right now. Or maybe it’s because it’s so unbelievable that I’m choosing not to believe it’s as bad as they say. After having to cancel an awesome tour of the U.K. last year at this time, and then foregoing our annual winter vacation to the Caribbean, the fact that my long-awaited trip to Greece is faced with such pandemonium makes me…well, laugh (not b*tchy, “ignorant American” laughter, just the “this figures…wtf?” kind).

Despite the homemade gasoline bombs and stun grenades (what are stun grenades anyway?), here is the silver lining of my tear gas-scented cloud:

  1. Being an ’80s baby, I missed out on the Vietnam-era protests and riots, so this will be my first. Or, at the very least, I’ll get to see a very “real”, uncensored side of a new place.
  2. Enough Ouzo ‘n Diet (the Greek equivalent of Captain ‘n Diet) and all will be well again.
  3. We’re only spending a few days in Athens and then heading off to Delphi, Mt. Olympus, Crete and Santorini (where there are no gasoline bombs and stun grenades, at least not whipping through the air…or so I hear), so some relaxation and recharging may still be possible.
  4. The value of the euro has dipped below $1.29 for the first time in over a year, which means I’ll be able to buy a lot of cool local “stuff”.
  5. And finally, the best part of all? I’ll come home with some interesting stories to write. After all, they key to a great story is in the conflict, right?

Anyone have any similar vacation debacles they’d like to share?

Taking the leap into something new can be scary because the downside is usually pretty clearly defined, whereas the upside tends to be vague and ambiguous. For Michael J. Fox that leap involved retiring from a hugely successful acting career and diving into the great unknown of life as a Parkinson’s patient and advocate.

“I had no idea what the future would hold for me once I stepped out of the comfort zone of my television career. I certainly didn’t envision myself creating a foundation that would have such an impact on not only my life, but the lives of countless people I will probably never meet. What led me to that choice may have been God or may have just been an emerging practical need to do something positive. The purpose that you wish to find in life, like a cure you seek, is not going to fall from the sky…It requires the faith to take risks and a rejection of the bonds of fear. I believe purpose is something for which one is responsible; it’s not just divinely assigned.”

As you think about following your dream, don’t forget to consider the upside. As Fox (and the other legends we’ve read about) shows us, that “thing” you desire to do has the potential to change the world.

Conversation starter: What are the upsides of your leap?

Read along! This month we’re reading Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist by Michael J. Fox.

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