September 13, 2016

Grat-i-tude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. From the Latin, gratus, it’s a favorite word of mine.

I’m focused on gratitude right now. Why? I’m a selfish guy. (No, really, I am!) Being thankful—frankly, forcing people to let me appreciate them and what they do for me and others around us, and allowing me to be kind and generous in my dealings with them—revs me up. Thanking and giving. Selfish? Let me explain myself.

I don’t do psych well. (The lingo and style have never connected for me.) I did, however, read several articles about gratitude. Why Gratitude Is Good by Robert Emmons, Ph.D., for Greater Good Science Center at UC-Berkeley stood out, for its plain language, clarity, and completeness. It tells me I’m not out to lunch. Being grateful improves emotional and physical health in measurable ways.

(Kindness and gratitude are intertwined, obviously. For kindness I offer a quick shout out to Ben’s Bells. It’s a Tucson-based organization which, born out a very personal tragedy, focuses on intentional kindness as a tool for improving lives, communities, our nation, and the world.)

More soon on gratitude, broadly. For now, I must be grateful just a bit. First off, and I hope I don’t sound too Trumpian, is this a beautiful new website? The best! I’m grateful to Grael Norton, Atilla Vekony, and Mindy Burnett—and, especially Mindy, who did the heavy lifting—at Wheatmark in Tucson. (Please check out the companion site, MarkRubinLaw. I welcome feedback about both sites.)

I’m grateful to my daughter Cate. She made herself an adult in less than a year. (The transformation was obvious when she picked me up at the Rochester airport, turned on the radio, and said, “I listen to NPR now.”) Fifty-four weeks into her work life as a chemist she owns a home and a car, has a dog and a boyfriend, and she has traveled to Japan and England. And she’s off the payroll … once we straighten out the cellphone billings. (I am also grateful for Ms. J, Cate’s mom, a fine person, and a good friend. If we focus on parental credit for Cate, she gets far more than half.)

I’m grateful to Rochelle and Irwin—my mom and her BFF—for being alive, healthy, helpful, and supportive, and for letting me be their personal chef every Sunday evening. (Because I’m mentioning family, there are my sisters and brothers-in-law, my rock star tennis player niece, my three nephews (who are all employed), my aunts, and so many others. Y’all rock!!!)

Everyone I know has friends. Mine are special. (So are yours, I’m sure, but this blog carries my name, and these are my words.) They include:

  • LB, who brightens my life every day;
  • GF, my friend for 45 years, who’s always there with wisdom and stability;
  • MLKII, my 40+ year sage;
  • CB, with whom I share a 35+ year friendship that goes a little bit dark between summer and Election Day, every four years;
  • LER, who checks up on me when it’s me who ought to be asking after him;
  • CH, who keeps me focused every day on getting stuff done;
  • LW, who did what CH does now, for 25+ years, and still pitches in here and there;
  • my Pima Medical Institute co-workers, who have given me the chance to reinvent myself as a General Counsel (part-time), and who prove every day that we can do well by doing good;
  • the elder law crew, which includes RF (and everyone else at F&C, the best neighbors anyone could ever have), SWP (one of my landlords and a most generous super-smart guy), LB (same one, always ready to refer something interesting and challenging), and so many others who, when it seems like the well is going dry, show up with a new case;
  • lots of other professional colleagues, who make practicing law a mostly joyful experience; and
  • wonderful clients—many of whom I have been representing for decades—who prepare, listen, think, decide, and pay their bills.

Apologies to anyone I missed. (Max A. Finch, get over yourself. You are a D-O-G, and you can’t effing read, but you are the one who nudges the dining room chair to the window, so that you can await me when I’m out, a loving act for which I will be ever grateful.)


Finally, thanks to you, my readers. You have followed me for more than two years, and if you’re here, you came back after my hiatus. (Starting up again is harder than I will ever fess up to, by the way.) I hope I will enrich your minds and hearts, and that Mindy’s cool new look will draw more readers. I don’t want to get maudlin, but I can’t imagine the last 31 months without a forum to spout off about anything and almost everything. Thanks!


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