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This is 50! This is gratitude!

James Warren June 11, 2022
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This is 50! This is gratitude!

In celebration of my 50 years on this planet, I am inspired to share 50 things I am grateful for. 

  1. My calling. For people to experience hope and revelation with and through me. For my family, our community, our business, my work, the world, and myself.
  2. Darcy, my wife. I would not be here without you. Our love has withstood a lot., and proud of you for doing the work to live your best life. So grateful to walk beside you for the next 50.
  3. Christian, my firstborn and my son. You made me a father and it is the greatest honor of my life. You are one of the most gifted artists I know, and I am proud to be your father, beyond measure.
  4. Jordan, my son. Your lovingkindness, courage, commitment to justice and gentleness inspire me daily. 
  5. Evan, my son. You are a Joseph. You laugh and love and live without any hesitations. I love watching you think.
  6. Alexis, my daughter. I have never met a more empathetic human in my life. Matched by your intelligence and strength, this ability to see, hear and accept others as they are is what the world needs. 
  7. Maya, my sister. You’re the only person alive who has known me my whole life. You are brilliant in every way, and you matter.
  8. My cousins — by birth and by marriage — and extended family. You make me feel more connected and part of a family, a sense I didn’t always have growing up. 
  9. My Higher Power, the limitless source of my inspiration and my redemption. You are the universe, the beginning and the end. You make me part of something bigger than myself. 
  10. My friends. You know who you are. Friends who forgive, who stick by you, who can pick up where things left off weeks, months or years ago. To be cherished.
  11. The legacy of my parents, especially my mother, Gwendolin Sims Warren. You live in me, in Maya, and in your grandchildren every day. 
  12. A job and the opportunity to contribute with my spouse to our family. I don’t take this for granted. Everyone doesn’t always have the opportunity to help provide for their family, even when they are doing everything they can. Count this blessing and share it whenever you can.
  13. The amazing team members, partners, advisors and investors at the company we are building together, Share More Stories. It has been an incredibly challenging and rewarding journey, and I know we are about to reach a significantly greater level of impact in the world, helping companies, communities, governments and organizations create better experiences for humans, through better insights and understanding.  
  14. The incredibly creative, strategic and expert team of brand builders, marketers, experience makers I get to work with at JMI. The work we do and the impact we help clients achieve in their marketplaces, organizations and communities is transformational. The best is truly – truly – yet to come. 
  15. My sobriety. I’m taking it one day at a time.
  16. Science. I’m grateful for science. It helps us ask better questions of ourselves and one another, the world we inhabit together, and the universe in which we are but specks within specks within specks. 
  17. Faith. Yep, I believe in what I cannot see, that a better world for us is possible and just ahead. 
  18. Everyone who is fighting hard for justice and equity for all, especially for those of us who’ve had it denied, who’ve been persecuted, excluded, ignored, silenced. You are doing the work to make this world a better place. You are doing God’s work.
  19. People of courage. Anywhere and everywhere. People who see something that needs to be better in themselves, or around them, but making it better requires vulnerability and sacrifice. And yet, they do it anyway. You are heroes. 
  20. Teachers! Yes, I’m so grateful for teachers. It has been a rough three years to say the least, and it wasn’t exactly the most appreciated job to begin with. We owe you better, because you translate our hopes and dreams for our children through nurture and guidance. Literally, our society doesn’t exist without you. 
  21. Health care workers in general and nurses in particular! You rock and you keep us safe, and you help us get back to health as much as possible. Firefighters who are willing to sacrifice their lives to save ours. The public safety officers who serve people with courage and humility, who build healthy relationships with communities, not ones based in fear and distrust. 
  22. Words. I love to write them and I love to share them. And I know this is part of me, and part of why I am here. To write and say the words that I am inspired to share.
  23. My experiences, especially my mistakes. They keep me humble and help me connect to others. 
  24. Coffee, my mug collection and a great Contigo travel mug. Ahh. 
  25. Our neighborhood, which is wonderfully diverse and supportive, and has sidewalks so I can go for walks. Everyone doesn’t have this.
  26. The fact that all those years ago, I got the opportunity to row on a team in college. I am still gleaning lessons from that time in my life, and smiling unexpectedly at those memories.
  27. Community leaders I get to work alongside in amazing organizations like BridgePark RVA and the YMCA of Greater Richmond. I am humbled by the commitment to make a meaningful, significant impact in our region, and I am blessed to be part of this journey with you.
  28. Today. I am grateful I woke up this morning, to be able to live in this present moment.
  29. Bridges. Literal and symbolic. Have you ever thought about how hard it would be to get anywhere far, without a bridge? 
  30. Books. I love books. Especially the ones that don’t let us forget where we came from, who we have been, and who we have the capacity to be – both good and bad. Yeah, those are good books.
  31. Journalists. The ones who find and report what’s happening in the community, the country and the world around us, with courage, honesty, and a commitment to informing and educating us without bias. Harder and harder to do, but increasingly important to the nation and the world.
  32. Cooking and enjoying a great meal shared with family and friends. Food is my love language, you already know. Oh, and BBQ.
  33. Stan Lee and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m not a deeply knowledgeable fan, but I read comics as a kid and have watched a lot – not all – of the MCU movies. When you zoom out, they have a lot of important things to say, once again, about where we’ve been, who we are, and where we’re going. Oh, and they’re pretty entertaining.
  34. Superman. I know, you’re DC. But I don’t care, you’ve fueled my dreams since I knew what dreams were.
  35. Ants. I’ve always been a fan, and my youngest son reminded me of this the other day when he asked me what my favorite animals were.
  36. A 22-year-old sleeveless denim shirt with pearlized snap buttons that doesn’t fit me but will be with me until my dying day. I bought that shirt, and I’m going to keep that shirt, and one day, I will wear that shirt again.
  37. Being Black in America and the sacrifices of my ancestors. The struggle, the heritage, the triumph, the culture, it makes us who we are. 
  38. Hip hop and Gospel music. Raised on both. 
  39. Princeton. I messed up quite a bit, but a number of positives have endured. 
  40. Honey Nut Cheerios. These little circles of food gave me life growing up.
  41. Formula One. I love me some racing. I want to see a Grand Prix in person one day. 
  42. People of different political parties  — especially those whom I disagree with — who are willing to work for unity, towards the best version of our collective selves, no matter how futile some would have us believe this vision is. Unity is not futile.
  43. Those currently serving and those who have served in our nation’s armed services. I appreciate your bravery and contribution to our national defense.
  44. The people who do jobs that most people don’t want to do, that meet basic needs and help make our society function. 
  45. Our family’s home. Everyone doesn’t have one. Everyone should. 
  46. Slow cookers and air fryers. Magic.
  47. My glasses. I enjoy being able to see things near and far, I’m afraid of contacts and skeptical of lasik. 
  48. The four seasons. Nature’s way of reminding us that emergence, growth, barrenness and decay are all the phases of existence. 
  49. Laughter in general, dad jokes in particular. 
  50. The next 50. My future. I look forward to sharing it with you.

#grateful50 #gratitude #life 


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