2019 has been great to me. My health is great. My relationships are great. My family is great. My prospects are great. And my go to word is apparently great. As I reflect on all that I am thankful for this is what I found.
15 Things I am Thankful For This Thanksgiving
1. The first laugh of the day. My friend Diana Keough, whom I share Milwaukee, Ohio, Atlanta and Columbia, Missouri connections with, introduced me to the concept of the first belly laugh of the day. I have since noted the first laugh of the day. It is something I am grateful for every day. And I try not to think too much about my belly.
2. Laughing until I cry. This is one of my favorite experiences in life. I have done it twice in the past 2 weeks. One of the times was when I found out that the number one song in America when my co-worker Sarah was conceived was Boys 2 Men’s smash hit, I’ll make love to you. (Thanks Paul and Debbie) You can find your own conception song here.
3. Travel. Travel is my favorite. It opens the mind, enhances creativity and empathy. And it creates life long memories. Or at least until the dementia sets in. My family and I did some really fun travel this year. Including a road trip that took us from Wisconsin to San Antonio, where I wanted to start a pie shop called Pie Alamo. We went to the Pacific Northwest. We visited British Columbia. Which I would have named Canadian Columbia, but nobody asked me.
4. Randomly seeing people I know far from home. I love running into people I know randomly. It makes the world feel smaller and full of surprises. This year I ran into friends totally randomly and unplanned in Seattle (Andy Bosley), Fort Worth (The Smith Family of Mequon), at basketball tournaments (college teammates Bobby Smith and Bobby Myers), at a hotel in Chicago (PJ Cannon) and at Ikea (Terry Schmitt).
5. Great new books. I love to read and learn. I am thankful to authors who write great books. And I am thankful to discover those books. This year I have added some really great reads to my library.
- The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown
- The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill
- The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan
- The Millionaire Real Estate Investor by Gary Keller, Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan
- The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T.J. Stiles
- Coolidge by Amity Shlaes
- Indianapolis by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic
- Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
- Born To Run by Christopher McDougall
6. Seeing my two oldest friends in the world. My first memories in life were when I lived on a farm near the shore in Lincroft, New Jersey. My bestest friend was Steve Withycombe. I saw Steve in Seattle this summer for the first time since 2002.
My actual oldest, oldest friend in the world, is Andy Shirk who lives in Dallas. I thought we met on our own in Columbus, Ohio in 2010. However, soon after we met our parents dropped the bomb on us that we actually have known each other since I was born. Our parents lived in the same apartment complex at the time in Mansfield, Ohio, back in the 1970s. And they had pictures to prove it. I saw Andy and his hilarious wife, Megan in Dallas this spring. I am super thankful to have friendships that have lasted over 40 years.
7. The Weaponry The advertising and idea agency that I started in 2016 continues to be one of the greatest chapters in my life. I love our team of Adam (Henry), Kristyn (K-Lil), Kevin (Lower Kayse), Sarah (Ice), Simon (The Harper), Jeanne (Genie), Calla (Super) and Sally (Eggs). Plus our like-family-members Diana, Sue, Gary, Julie, Monica, Tony, John and Todd.
8. Clients It’s awfully hard to play advertising agency if you don’t have clients. I am a volcano of thankful lava for everyone who has trusted us enough to work with us in 2019.
9. My Family I am endlessly thankful for my wife Dawn and kids Ava, Johann and Magnus. I am at truly at home any place where the 5 of us are all together.
But wait, there’s more!
My parents, Robert and Jill, and my sisters Heather, Alison, Donielle and their families are amazing, and I got to see everyone this year.
But it doesn’t stop there!
My Mom is one of 9 kids (The Spraus) and my dad is one of 12 (The Albrechts). And I am extremely thankful to have so much family to call my own. Heck, I am even thankful that my Grandma Albrecht passed aways this year at 99 years old, because it gave my family a great reason to get together, and let’s face it, she was really old.
10. My friends I am lucky to have wonderful friends from many different chapters of my life. I am thankful for how they have all added to my story. Here are just some of my special friend groups.
- High School friends (Hanover High School, Hanover, New Hampshire)
- Vermont and New Hampshire Friends
- New Jersey friends
- College friends and roommates from the University of Wisconsin
- College track teammates
- W-Club members
- Milwaukee friends
- Atlanta friends
- Columbus Friends
- Work Friends
- People I met on airplanes
- Quebec Friends
- Dionne and Friends
11. Enthusiasm I am extremely thankful that I have as much enthusiasm for life and its mysteries, adventures and challenges as I ever have. Sometimes I think I have too much. And so does Dawn.
12. Faith This has been a wonderful year of faith for me and my family. My daughter Ava and son Johann took their first communion this year. Ava is in Confirmation class. Dawn and I have taught Sunday School and generally feel both the joy of giving and receiving in our church community.
13. Entrepreneurs I am extremely grateful for all the entrepreneurs who have supported and advised me. Entrepreneurship can be isolating or it can be uniting. I am thankful to be united with so many talented, experienced and sharing entrepreneurs. I belong to a great CEO roundtable group through the Metro Milwaukee Area Chamber (MMAC). And I have a strong tribe of entrepreneurs who I lean on regularly (Richards, Hilimire, Bandy, Florsheim, Salamone, Wong). And I am always open to adding more.
14. A Comfortable Home As the weather has turned colder, and the winter wind and snow have arrived in Wisconsin, I am extremely thankful for a warm and comfortable home. As Maslow’s knows, a comfortable home enables you to enjoy more joy in life.
15. Blog Readers Thank you to all of you who take time out of your busy day to read my blog. I appreciate your time, likes, comments and shares more than you will ever know.
There is a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. The people in your life, laughter, knowledge and magical accidents are amazing gifts. If you have those things you can count yourself among the richest people on Earth. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!