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Reasons to be thankful in times that are tough for many

Time for gratitude: however difficult our situation, we all still have things to be thankful for (Image by Pixabay)

In November 2007 and 2008, Moneywise wrote articles about gratitude and thanks to provide (in some small way) some positive thought-coping mechanisms for islanders experiencing Bermuda’s economic pain, caused then by a global market crash.

Then as now, unemployment had spiked; government social services were severely pressed; families were depleting savings, struggling to pay bills, and put food on the table.

Then, as now, international business in Bermuda was carrying the economic freight forward.

Then, as now, after significant business and personal losses both financial and in relationships, it was very tough for individuals to see any bright future on the horizon.

But, it did happen.

And it will again, even given the Covid loss impact and additional emotional burdens for so many.

It is often quoted that in any catastrophic challenge, getting back to the basics by focusing on what one has rather than what one has lost, helps in moving life forward.

We have to do that, don’t we? We can’t go backwards.

So, what can we be thankful for, personally? Innovation, benefits, laws to make our lives easier, healthier, and independent and our determined selves to get back to normal.

Physically, just to name a few

• Indoor plumbing – that little house out back quietly dismantled

• Access to running water – no more hauling buckets

• Electricity, just a click – storm lanterns set aside just for storms

• Microwaves

• Refrigerator/freezers, no use for Bermuda butteries now

• Home air comfort

• Vacuum systems

• Radar, short-wave radio, and GPS positioning

• Flight travel with immediate access to the world

• Automatic laundry – no more mangled hands and scrub boards

• Transportation – prior four-legged out to pasture means no longer requiring food and water

• Instant human internet connectivity with sight and sound – not a three-week letter journey, or a five-pound a minute rotary phone call

• Computer technology

• No more great wars with millions of brave souls, men and women lost

• Advances in medicine for extraordinarily better healthcare, dialysis machines, antibiotics, vaccines, cancer protocols, mortality rates lengthening out. While we can never, ever minimise our personal Covid losses, proactive preventive care and early detection saved so many lives when compared to the 1918 flu pandemic that infected 500 million people with 50 million lives lost.

Government social services

• Employee benefits

• Mandatory pensions

• Subsidised housing

• Financial assistance

• Unemployment benefit

• Legal aid

There was little to no assistance before the 1960s.

Justice, laws, Constitution

• A functional constitution

• Modern legislation covering all areas of governmental/business operations

• Full integrated court systems

• Monetary Authority

• Financial Intelligence Agency

• Human Rights Commission

• Public Access to Information

• And so much more

Take the challenge and see how many more “modern” innovations we take for granted.

Readers, you may be sceptical of the above, but more Bermuda islanders than you realise have experienced these social service changes in their lifetimes, including your columnist.

You are still here! Be thankful for yourself. Realising the amazing wonder of being human

See the “Real Bodies” Imagine Exhibition referenced below – its description reads: “With educational relevance for all ages through the sensitive presentation of actual whole-body specimens and individual organs, this awe-inspiring exhibition will reveal how your body works by exploring it from the inside out. It will leave you with a greater understanding of your own physical make-up and with a deeper respect for the machine that gives you the power of life.”

He is poised as if in flight, the musculature aesthetically and fully exposed. The straining, arms thrust forward, one leg mid-stride, the other flung far higher as if in a final kick to the finish of a long run. But this is not a photo finish of a famous athlete, or an amateur runner in a national marathon. This is (was) an ordinary working man's body, an unconscious athlete.

The brain, beautifully revealed, supported by millions of human electronic cables emanating from within and upward from the completely visible spinal cord and neck tendons. We can only experience in sight part of the labyrinth of connectors that receive every internal and external stimuli and route them as commands to the brain.

Ethereally striking, delicate and elusive as sea fans stirring under the waves, we see arteries, veins, and capillaries such as those areas of the lungs that transport oxygen, filled out in brilliant turquoise blue, and deep magenta red.

In one astounding image, a body exhibits only the entire arterial and capillary network, from head-to-toe.

The consequences of lifestyle choices are as repugnant as we imagine them to be.

• A perfectly formed healthy pink lung sits next to a distant cousin's twice-as-large completely black-cancer-ridden smoker's lung.

• A normal sized liver displayed alongside a brownish-grey carcass of cirrhosis, unrecognisable as anything human-related.

• A brain, bleakly and blackly devastated by a stroke.

The body lies supine, the arms outstretched as if in welcome, one leg is crossed at the knee, the face is a blank mask. Up close, this is a full-size body, of skin only, a shell of the beautiful creature we all are.

The last display is simply amazing; the body presented is unique, but also completely unhindered by a skin covering.

We see immediately that underneath we all share the same characteristics. We are the same in our core being.

We are seeing the composite human race; Our bodies are so complex and astonishingly wonderful.

What we can do with what we are given.

What we can do if we believe in ourselves!

Every day in every way, we have the opportunity to use our personal power to achieve our dreams.

It is not about how we dress, what we look like or where we come from. We are not skin deep.

Our true success is derived from our core being.

Do your best to look forward, take care of yourself, and be thankful for still being here.

Happy Thanksgiving.

References:

https://www.imagineexhibitions.com/exhibitions/real-bodies

Martha Harris Myron, a native Bermudian with US connections, is a qualified international cross-border financial planner, the author of The Bermuda Islander Financial Planning Primers, international financial consultant to the Olderhood Group Bermuda Ltd., and financial columnist to The Royal Gazette. Contact: martha@pondstraddler.com

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Published November 20, 2021 at 8:05 am (Updated November 22, 2021 at 8:00 am)

Reasons to be thankful in times that are tough for many

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