With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us this week, it is naturally the time of year when you get inundated with the “what I’m thankful for” articles and blog posts. There’s nothing wrong with that, as it’s certainly a good thing to reflect on one’s blessings to be sure. But for whatever reason, we have never done one of those ourselves, until now.

Something about this past year, as it quickly winds down, seems different, and as such, for the first time since we started publishing blog articles many years ago, it felt somehow necessary. Maybe it’s because we are being constantly bombarded by so much fear, negativity and polarization these days. The very earth we inhabit is facing a dire climate crisis, there’s a never-ending political circus playing out daily in the news, children are being gunned down in schools, and even the way we discuss and debate these weighty issues has become considerably less civil it seems to me.

Or maybe it’s due to the fact that the past year has been a difficult one on a personal level for both Jarrett and I. As many of you know, Jarrett lost his father early in the summer, and a just a few months later, my father had a stroke and was hospitalized for several weeks afterwards.

Whatever the reason, in light of all of that, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to spend this month’s article talking about some of the things we are thankful for.

Losing Jarrett’s father was a devastating blow, but I think I can speak for all of us who knew him when I say that we are truly grateful for the hundreds and hundreds of fabulous memories we have of the time we shared with him. He taught us all so much, and those lessons and the memories will stay with us forever. They will be passed on to our children and theirs after that, and in that way, will continue to live on for many years to come.

Seeing my father suffer the destructive effects of a stroke was shocking, and having him move in with us while he rehabs and tries to work his way back has been challenging. But I am thankful for the time we have spent together as a result, which otherwise wouldn’t have happened. I’m thankful that my wife and children are getting to spend so much time with him at this stage in life and get to know him in a way that they never could have from the odd visit or holiday dinner table. I’m thankful that he is making progress in his rehab and I am truly thankful for the nurses and therapists, who work so hard to try to get him back to being independent again.

Jarrett and I are both thankful that our children are healthy and thriving. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae as a parent and fail to see the big picture. Grades, performance in sports, whether they made their bed – these things matter, but not really. When you see the latest school shooting on the news, you realize that at the end of the day, you just want them to come home safe. Above that, you hope they become good people and live generally happy lives. The truth is that all four of ours are just good kids, and we’re so lucky for that. They’re dynamic and funny, thoughtful and kind, and in the end, that’s all you can really ask for.

We’re thankful to both have amazing partners to share this journey of life with. Of course, they are the ones really running the show, and I could have spent this whole article just talking about them and how lucky each of us is to have found a partner like Janine or Tracy. That would be a bit self-serving I think, so I’ll just leave it by saying that each of us is truly thankful to have hit the lottery in the wives that chose to be with us in the first place, and surprisingly continue to do so.

Berkeley is a bit of an odd place to grow up in that so many people either stay here into adulthood, or come back later in life. The result however, at least for us, is that we have an amazing group of friends with whom we go back so far. Having such a support group is very much a blessing and we are grateful to all of our friends who continue to support us, and each other, so strongly.

Finally, we are thankful for you, our incredible clients, who put your faith in us to help you and your families navigate through your financial journeys in life. It seems a bit obvious to say that there would be no Topel & DiStasi Wealth Management without all of you, but it’s true, and we are sincerely grateful for the trust you put in us. We take that responsibility very, very seriously, and strive to get better every day because you inspire us to.

As I sit here and write this, I feel a bit silly because I know I could go on and on, and because of that, maybe this whole article smacks a bit of braggadocio. I also know that in writing it, I feel a bit better- lighter of mood and heart. Maybe that’s the point. Perhaps it’s not really just about thinking of all the good things and people we have in our lives, it’s also about letting go of some of the bad. And in doing so, it helps us to have a more hopeful and optimistic view of the world as we look forward.

And in that spirit, we hope you all get a chance this upcoming holiday season to spend some quality time with loved ones, and reflect on all the good things that you have as well.