Choosing to be Thankful

ALPERN AT LARGE--It's hard to say if being positive has any traction these days, but I'll play the role of the "naive doctor" and try a go at it.

It merits repeating that partisanship goes both ways ... because while Trump has no problem "going low" those claiming "when they go low, we go high" have no problem going lower. Yet sooner or later we want answers, not problems, shoved in our faces.

After all, we're all united at the horror of fires, shooting sprees, unaffordable rents, inappropriate and unsustainable medical inflation, and an election cycle that beat the heck out of all of us. We're tired, and we just want to slow down in an era where now, Now, NOW! is the working paradigm.

But for those of us surviving all this … and who want to continue … a few thoughts are in order:

1) Tomorrow is another day ... except for those no longer with us. I've lost a few good friends--for good--over the past year. They weren't supposed to die ... but they did. They aren't supposed to be gone ... but they are. If it's the burden of the living to carry on with the memories of the departed, then I guess I'm as burdened as anyone ... but they're worth it.

2) Happiness is a choice ... and so is Pessimism. The world will NOT end tomorrow, and for as long as Humanity has been around the fear of "it's all over!" has clouded our collective existence. There are certainly challenges, but either choosing not to engage (either out of an awareness that there's nothing that can be done, or just plain cowardice) or the choice to engage is always there.

3) Either it's a glass half empty, or a glass half full. Of course, it's always both, but that choice of viewing the glass as half full is certainly one that is more healthy for both the heart and the mind, and the body and the soul.

So perhaps a thought or two about what we HAVE, rather than what we DON'T HAVE, is worth a shot. Compared to the misery of others on our planet, and throughout history, we're pretty damned lucky to live in an era and a nation where if we reeeeeeeeally don't like things, we can MOVE to what we perceive to be greener pastures. 

So it's off to work on another bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived day ... as it is for the rest of us. At least we're around to complain about it though...and if we WANT, we can be grateful and thankful for what we can do if we so choose:

Which is to give thanks to whatever circumstances, family, or Higher Power we choose to give thanks to, and thanks for.


(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of both its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure and Planning Committees. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at alpern@marvista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)