My wife took the kids to her parent's house this week in preparation for our annual Thanksgiving trip to Eastern Tennessee.  The empty, quiet house, a series of incredible meetings at my new job, getting to hang out at the local EMC office and getting to have dinner with some of my co-workers all combined to help me realize just how lucky I am this year.

I have the coolest family ever.  My wife is incredibly good at many things, but she outdid herself with our two kids.  They are amazing in every way, and the effort that she puts into raising them is awe-inspiring.  The amount of things that appear for all the world to be completely random that led me to where I am, that led me to marry her and that led us to our two perfect kids is unnerving.  I am very lucky.

I have the coolest extended family ever.  My in-laws are (literally) saints, and the amount of love and caring that they shower on my family is humbling.  My brothers and sisters came down a couple of weeks ago with all of the nieces, and it was such a cool collection of smart, funny, caring people.  They have all grown as people so much, and seeing them with their kids is powerful.  I am very lucky.

I am hard-pressed to figure out how my professional life could have come together any better than it did this year.  I have been fortunate to work for the last six years at a company that I loved, in positions that challenged me and forced me to grow.  I was in the right place at the right time when that company sold for close to half a billion dollars.  I am very lucky.

The last three years of my professional life I got to work for an incredible person, who mentored me in the ways I needed most, at the time I needed it most.  I got to work with a professional development coach who opened my eyes and gave me the gift of being able to see myself from his point of view.  I'm definitely a work in progress, but being self aware, even partially, has been a big part of figuring out how I move forward.  I am very lucky.

I stumbled into a line of work where the technology landscape around me is changing by the second.  I got to interact with some of the smartest, most passionate, most intelligent people I've ever met.  More importantly, some of those people took the time to stop, pass on some wisdom, help me get where I wanted to go, show me the big picture.  David Jones, Joe Batista, Michael Capellas, Dave Donatelli, Joe Tucci, Chad Sakac, Chuck Hollis.  Tod Neilsen, Ed Bugnion, Manjula Talreja.  Each of these people (and many, many more) have taken the time over the last 12 months to have some level of 1:1 discussion with me.  Sometimes it was about a business model, sometimes it was about an idea for a better mousetrap, sometimes it was to answer stupid questions (mine, of course) and sometimes it was just to chat, eat a meal, have a drink.  So much to learn there.  I am very lucky.

I was unemployed for a week between jobs, by choice.  With the millions of people who are struggling to find work, I understand how fortunate I am.  I get to work with good people, smart people, fun people.  I get to be part of things that will MATTER in my industry.  I get to learn something new EVERY DAY.  I get to travel.  I get to be home with my kids.  I can pay my bills.  I wake up every day excited about the challenge.  I am very lucky.

 Sometimes I get scared.  I feel like this life I'm living is a train that I have little to no control over.  I wake up, I work hard, things happen.  I don't plan them, I don't feel like I'm making conscious decisions, and things continue to happen.  I think A LOT about how to not jinx myself.  I worry that I'm not deserving of the many, many blessings I have received.  I am very lucky.

I have decided that it's my responsibility to give back as much as I can.  The list of people who have helped me get where I am is long, and I need to pay that generosity forward.  I will always be available to teach.  I will always be available to help.  I will work hard to make sure that what I have, and what I know doesn't end with me, but gets passed on to the next wave of engineers looking to make a mark.  I will not be selfish.  Next year, I want someone else to think about how lucky THEY have been, and I want to have helped them get there. 

I am very lucky.  If I'm dreaming, please don't wake me up.