It’s Thanksgiving morning, and I’m reading a USA Today poll about Americans’ attitudes about aging. Turns out, the greatest concern about aging is fear of a low quality of life —loss of the ability to care for oneself, loss of mental abilities, running out of money, not being able to drive or get around at all.

I read it with interest because I’ve been thinking about some of these issues myself. I’m getting older (my sons-in-law think I got there long ago), my body parts are begging for repair and I may be slowing down a bit. But I’m feeling pretty good, working out, and active. Better nutrition and advances in medical science have resulted in more people living longer and healthier lives. I’m thinking the idea of growing old may be scarier than growing old itself. We need to think less about loss and, instead, celebrate living our lives with everything we’ve got, as fully as we can.

This afternoon I will gather with my family and do just that, but, at the moment, I am sitting in my writing loft, outside on the patio. I feel a gust of wind come up, which causes thousands of tiny yellowing mesquite leaves to drizzle all over me. I smile at this reminder of the season of autumn leaves, as I listen to a CD playing a Crosby, Stills and Nash tune. I’m still here, teaching my grandchildren and still open to their teaching me. Later, I’ll sit around a table with my wife, sons, daughters, grandchildren, family and relatives. We will eat and laugh, and I will say thank you for being surrounded by such love and another chance to celebrate life.

In this season of appreciation, renewal and rebirth, remember to minimize your losses and come to every day with joy.