It is no secret that the quality of our lives is directly affected by our attitudes. Life isn’t the outside stuff, your marital status, the way you make a living, the clothes in your closet or the place you live. Life is what goes on between your ears. Life is your thinking, your perception of things. When you choose to focus on what is bad, negative and hard, you manifest a difficult and deficient life riddled with pain. If you focus on the things that bring you joy and approach each day with ‘an attitude of gratitude,’ you will experience abundance, light and love.

Life was not easy for the Pilgrims, yet they were grateful and celebrated their endurance, good fortune and abundance with a feast. Americans continue this Thanksgiving tradition on the third Thursday of November by gathering with family, friends, football teams and a turkey dinner. Is that enough? Don’t you think our lives would be infinitely richer with gratitude extending into our daily lives?

This month, Moonshine Ink publishes the winning answers on ‘why it is so flippin’ hard’ to live in Truckee-Tahoe. I had the opportunity to read several of the essays and was greatly impressed by the clarity of the people who cared enough to respond thoughtfully, addressing some very real challenges we face living in a gorgeous resort town. I was also moved by their willingness to take responsibility and action to sustain and develop the environment we love. One respondent asked, ‘Who said it was supposed to be easy?’ Did the Pilgrims expect it to be easy?


I interviewed locals in Truckee-Tahoe’s favorite cafes, asking them this question: ‘What are you most grateful for about living in Truckee-Tahoe?’

Truckee Fire Department’s Battalion Chief, Greg Burch, has been here for 30 years and, while he is very tired of the winters, he is most grateful for our summer climate.

Blanca Lighthiser, Truckee resident since 1976 said, ‘Everything. I love the small town. I grew up in New York City and the contrast is amazing. It’s the opposite of being anonymous.’ She added, ‘This fall was breathtaking, driving to work and seeing the colors…’

Golf pro Brian Floriani is grateful he found a job in his profession in the mountains. He runs the Golf Digest School at Old Greenwood.

‘Outdoor recreation,’ said sports instructor Randall Fleming, who is willing to make financial sacrifices to live here and do the things he’s passionate about.

‘Truckee people,’ answered one woman who doesn’t live here, but commutes to work from Reno.
Jenny Fellows, mother of three, gave me a big smile and sighed, ‘Oh, boy…The wonderful community of people. How everybody helps each other out. And the direction the community is going. There is more and more, thanks to the hard work of locals.’

Her three and a half year-old son Heath said, ‘Playing.’

When I asked Kelly Weingart what she is most grateful for about living in Truckee, she said, ‘That’s cool. The mountains. They are a nice backdrop to life.’ She recently moved here from Wisconsin.

Barista, Priya Pugh, at Tahoe City’s Gear and Grind is grateful for the community atmosphere, locals helping each other out. ‘That and the weather.’

A contractor with a to-go cup of coffee in his hand responded, ‘Have you looked outside lately?’

Rich Brenner said he didn’t want to over-think the answer, but that there were so many things. ‘I am so happy and grateful that Truckee is a place abundant with inspired minds. They made a choice to come here, and in that choice they find clarity here.’

Michelle Gartner has been here for eight years, since she left her high-tech marketing job in the Bay Area. ‘Oh, wow, there are a lot of things, the lack of stress, the beauty and enjoying the outdoors.’

Dana Arlien, a child psychiatrist who lives in Incline Village, is ‘very grateful for the trees and the whole lake vibe.’ She refers to the fact that Lake Tahoe has been named one of the ‘Power Places’ in the world along with Stonehenge and New York City. ‘You can feel it.’

Lou Raso, owner of Truckee Book and Bean is most grateful for our clean environment and the clear, cold water that comes from our taps.

Commercial action sports photographer Greg Martin is thankful for the atmosphere, the people and outdoor living.
Some other answers…
• Clean mountain air.
• Serenity.
• Being so close to so much beauty all of the time.
• The lack of congested traffic.
• The public schools.
• West End Beach.
• Moonshine Ink.
• KidZone.
• Truckee-Donner Recreation and Parks Department.
• All the great cafes.
Tape this list to your refrigerator to remind you of all of the reasons why we are so blessed to live here. Add your own answers to the list and see how much better life gets in Truckee-Tahoe.