Published in the San Diego Union-Tribune, November 26, 2018
Thanksgiving has just ended. In keeping with the season and tradition, I would like to share some of the things that I am grateful for.
1. My son-in-law gave the holiday party for 238 of our closest friends and family. My only obligation was to bring the wine — two bottles and 237 straws (not plastic) — and to affirm that I would continue to root hard for Michigan (his family alma mater) throughout the playoffs.
2. I am deeply saddened by the fires raging to the north and by extension, grateful that San Diego has been spared so far. The images of a family standing by the side of a road watching their house burn are beyond tragic. I often write about standing in the other guy’s shoes — but in this case I do not think I am capable of fully understanding the pain, no matter how hard I try.
3. The elections are over — almost. Democracy can be messy, but me personally, I am a bit tired of always having to clean up the mess. There are not enough mops and brooms, and I would like to vote for less mess. The recounts in all the states should be done by late February 2019. But look at the bright side: we do not have to vote again for 704 days.
4. I am appreciative for the “ecosystem” of this fine city. It is without question one of the great fertile places to launch dreams. The support systems are enormous (admittedly, having 193 technology incubators does seem a bit of overkill), but to be young, smart, ambitious — and in my own view — and female — well it is a good time. I am dazzled by the cornucopia of San Diego entrepreneurs with the desire as well as the ability to change the world and make it better.
5. The city has big opportunities to expand the “innovation economy,” and the commitment of our leaders to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) — regardless of the aisle — to this priority can be a defining moment for us.
6. I am grateful for the passion and dedication of our caregivers, the entire community of people who serve us — particularly our fire fighters, police officers, life guards, doctors and nurses. Much of the year, they are invisible. This seems like a good time to call them out. I promise to never take them for granted. We often thank them after they have saved us – I am all in for doing it in advance — like pre-funding your IRA.
7. On a very personal level, I am thankful for random good fortune and good luck — not for me, but for Ms. Nicole Rockstead, my executive assistant of 26 years and for her daughter who was at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks and was saved from the mass shooting by jumping out a window — a window she just happened to be standing near. She could just as easily have been killed. No words on that one.
8. So think about it — fires, shootings, accidents, deals gone good, deals gone bad, same with children, marriages and careers — I am humbled by the various turns of the world — most all of which we have no control over. We think we have personal powers, but at the macro level, we are rather insignificant.
9. But at that same moment, we are also powerful. We can make strong efforts at the micro level — our community — and that wave often grows into a tsunami. It is the infamous “butterfly effect.” I am in the game every day, because you just never know which caterpillar is going to sprout wings.
10. No gratitude list would be complete without the simple words — my wife and my children.
11. And finally, for health. I thought recently about Paul Allen — even with a couple billion dollars he couldn’t buy any more time here. My wife and I support the Challenged Athletes Foundation. When I see a quadriplegic swim at La Jolla Cove, I am both inspired and in tears. Again, those are shoes I cannot stand in.
My wish for all of us is that we play the cards we are dealt, not only with skill, passion, grace and dedication, but also with humility. Remember, there but for the grace of God, go I.
Rule No. 586