In response to a facebook prompt from my Daughter to write the 5 things I’m most grateful for—five being an almost impossibly small number—I wrote the following and thought I’d post it here as well, but for obvious reasons I’m going to allow myself to go past 5.

1) Existing at all, even for a second…my consciousness has always felt extreme gratitude for the mind-bogglingly unlikely honor of inhabiting this body, here at the end of billions of correct forks in the evolutionary road;

2) Medical science, without which I (like many of us) would never have made it past childhood;

3) Such a wonderful family—parents, brothers, daughter, fiance, nephews, etc—it’s a long-odds crap shoot in which I’ve been very lucky;

4) My wonderful family of friends—human and otherwise—without whom I’d have met my demise several times;

5) All the empty staves I’ve yet to fill with music and all the music I’ve yet to write, play, arrange, produce and direct;

6) Mother Earth, for being such a Goldilocks planet, allowing us the right conditions to survive for as long as it took the road of life to lead to me being me;

7) Sister Moon, for being really more of a twin planet than a moon, stirring the seas (and subsequently the winds) to such a degree that some of us—myself included—question whether complex life could otherwise have ever come about on this planet;

8) Father Time, for being on our side. The universe is inherently a very inhospitable place for anything as fragile as life—especially complex lifeforms like orchestral composers and such—and our being allowed to exist and develop for millions of years is due to lots of blind luck where good timing is concerned. May the next huge cometary impact take its sweet time;

9) Lady Luck, for conspiring with Father Time so I can exist to write more symphonies;

10) Old Sol, without whom of course our solar system wouldn’t exist and I’d be wanting for readers, fans, students and production clients;

11) The Magnetic Field and the Ozone Layer, without which DNA on Earth would quickly become so scrambled I’d have another head growing out of my armpit;

12) All the inventors and scientists (too many to name) who have enabled us to live in an age where I can write this and you can read it; an age where I have absurdly cool tools like Stratocasters, Digital Performer and Sibelius;

13) Chocolate! Betcha didn’t see that coming.