A Publication of WTVP

Last month the U.S. Census Bureau reported that more Americans over the age of 65 were continuing to work last year, whether by choice or necessity.

I’m thankful that age 65 is “the new 45,” and that I’m in the prime of my career!

The Census Bureau states that the median income of a family of four in 2006 was $65,093, causing middle-class parents to make tough choices when trying to balance their time between work and family.

I’m thankful that when my children were younger, I had the option of working part time. Many of today’s families do not have that option.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that the number of private sector workers eligible for an employer retirement plan has dropped from 52 percent to 43 percent since 2000. According to a 2006 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 42 percent of businesses with less than 50 employees offer health insurance. The Census Bureau reports that workers in small firms are three times as likely to be uninsured as workers in large firms.

I’m thankful that my small business can offer a modest retirement plan and a group health plan and that all of my children have some form of health insurance.

An Associated Press article states that more than 30 percent of small business owners report working an average of at least 10 hours a day, compared with only 19 percent of the general population. Nearly half of small-business owners say they work on holidays, and 15 percent show up seven days a week, more than twice the number of non-business owners.

While I’m in that group who works at least 10 hours a day, I’m thankful that I can turn off those electronic gadgets when I need to relax.

Government statistics show that up to 65 percent of Americans are obese or overweight. With the super-sizing of meal portions and that internal voice that says, “Clean your plate—other children in the world are starving,” it’s no wonder. It’s very difficult to make healthy food choices when convenience and instant gratification are today’s modes of operation.

While I love something sweet at the end of a meal, I’m thankful that I can feel satisfied with just a bite or two of chocolate ice cream….usually.

As we approach the holiday season, I am reminded again and again of all I have to be thankful for. I’m thankful every day for good physical and mental health. It’s so easy to take for granted, but it is a foundation upon which to build your life.

Finally, I’m thankful to be living in America, where the American spirit prevails over threats of terrorism and recession. We are all privileged, and for that I am thankful. TPW