Some thoughts on gratitude (and Wil Wheaton)

I was just reading one of Wil Wheaton's blog postings (You may ask yourself, "well, how did I get here?"), and I realized something. Wil, along with most or all of the people whom I am fans of have a deep sense of gratitude. There are many famous actors and writers that I couldn't care less about. People who I will happily watch their movies or read their books, but I won't follow on Twitter or stand in line to shake their hand. The people that I would consider myself a fan of are the people who seem genuinely grateful for the opportunities they've had, and to the fan base that creates demand for their work.

Thinking about this I've come up with he theory that gratitude is humanizing. People who believe they have earned all that they have with no recognition of those who've helped them get there, come across not only as self-important dicks, but are also simply unappealing. I've liked Wil Wheaton sine his days as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. As a boy I wanted so much to be like Wesley and live on a starship doing sciencey things, but I wouldn't call myself a fan of Wil until I read his books and learned how grateful and lucky he was for having had that role (at least once he was mature enough to understand his luck). Dumb luck, opportunity, and in some cases skill, make a person a star, but it is largely their recognition of the "little people" that make them a person again.

This post is not meant (despite all appearances) to be an ode about my man-crush on Wil Wheaton. Instead, I've realized that Wil's sense of gratitude makes me feel like someone I've never met is my friend. And, consequently that I don't really show enough gratitude for the people and opportunities in my own life. I'm damn lucky to be in a position to be able to transition from a rancher to a photographer/blogger/webmaster; something not normally smooth or easy to accomplish. I get to work closely with my wife everyday, which is wonderful (and only occasionally frustrating). We get to travel with Ruth's business, and visit places we'd never be able to afford otherwise. I can spend as much time as I want playing with my two year old daughter Sophia. My commute is the three feet between our bedroom and my office. When we want to go camping, we go; there is no need to take time off, or use vacation days. It isn't that I don't have to work, I do, and occasionally, I have to work hard. But, I get to work how I want. I work outside keeping up our pasture rental land when I want, and I work at my computer blogging when I want (okay "work" may be a bit generous there).

It is a little sad that it takes me reading someone else's blog to realize just how lucky I am. I'm grateful that people actually take the time to read the drivel that I write here, that they occasionally look at or use my pictures I put on Gilded Pixel, and that people like the things that Ruth creates enough to part with their hard-earned money for them. Compared to real Internet personalities I have no following, and the money we make off the sites that have advertising comes no where near to repaying the time spent making them. But on the other hand, I'm doing what I love, spending time with my family, and creating things that hopefully a few people actually enjoy. Overall, I think I have things pretty good.