I'm thankful. How ironic.

I posted a version of this last Thanksgiving, but I think it bears repeating this year.

I am thankful for my family. Which is ironic, because I only have one brother, I don’t have many aunts, uncles, or cousins (not nearly as many as my parents), one of my grandpas died before I was born (as did all of my great-grandparents), and I only have one surviving grandparent (I’m 21). Still, I know that some have never met their families, while others are in very tumultuous family situations.

I am thankful for my health. Which is ironic, because this Thanksgiving, I have a cough. Still, I don’t have cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer’s, or any other life-threatening condition. What’s more, I am pretty able-bodied. Not everyone can say that.

I am thankful for my financial well-being. Which is ironic, because I’m nowhere near wealthy. Still, I am far more fortunate than most people in the world.

I am thankful that I have a job. Which is ironic because it’s only a part-time job that pays $7.40 an hour, and it’s only 8 hours per week. Still, I am more fortunate than the more than 9% of Michiganians on the unemployment rolls. And the many more who are unemployed, but aren’t counted as such. And the many who work more hours and get less in return.

I am thankful for my home. Which is ironic, because it’s no mansion. It has many of the amenities, but no dishwasher, fireplace, or dining room. I live in a suburb (Kentwood, Michigan), but you can’t accuse us of being as extravagant as suburbanites are stereotyped to be. Still, not everyone can even afford an apartment, much less a house. And a vast majority of the world's population lives in substandard housing.

I am thankful for my cell phone, digital camera, DVD player, computer, TV, and other technological gadgets. Which is ironic, since my phone isn’t fancy, my camera doesn’t have very good resolution, and I don’t watch as much TV as I used to. Still, so many in this world go without having a single one of these gadgets.

I am thankful that I am a student at Central Michigan University. Which is ironic, given that it’s no Ivy League school. Still, how many people can say they attend an eco-friendly and gay-friendly college? And that's barely the tip of the iceberg.

I am thankful for those who have consistently fought for racial minorities, women, the GLBT community, the mentally ill, the disabled, and others. Which is ironic, given that I am an able-bodied, white heterosexual male who is not classified as mentally ill. Still, I realize that the fight for equal justice marches on - and all of us have an important role to play in that march.

I am thankful for all the people who have had a positive impact on my life. Which is ironic, since they are too many to name and I have forgotten many of them. Many I have met in real life, some I have known only through the "series of tubes." But they have impacted me all the same. And yes, I am talking about the Daily Kos community and the overall lefty blogosphere, among many others.

I am thankful for him:

Finally, I am thankful that I am alive. Which is ironic, because I’m only 21, and most people expect to live a lot longer than I have. I am definitely younger than most of the people who read this post. Yet countless millions don’t even get the chance to live to half my age. I hope and pray that I will be inspired and encouraged to use the remainder of my life in a way so that, when I die, my family and friends will be able to truthfully and sincerely eulogize me by saying, "The world is a better place because Scott Urbanowski lived in it."

I am thankful for so many other things that I cannot name, lest this post be a several-hour-long read. Which is ironic, seeing as how I take them for granted so often.

You see, folks, so many of us want so much more than we have. And don't get me wrong, there are many things I want that I don't have. Yet I believe that knowing that we are so fortunate is key to contentment and happiness in life.

I bet you're a lot more fortunate than you realize.

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