I try to keep in mind all the ways I’ve been lucky in my life, not just at the holidays, but everyday. Working in a field where I so often encounter individuals who are fighting for even the most basic necessities, it’s hard not to recognize the gifts I’ve been given, because they are numerous.
Lately, with news around the world seeming particularly dire, and feelings toward certain groups of people counter to the symbolism of tomorrow’s holiday, it’s easy to slip into a place of cynicism about the state of the world. Or to begrudge some people for their perceived fortunes while others have so little. So, now more than ever, I want to remember what I have to be thankful for.
In no particular order. . .
- My husband. Because having someone in your life who gets you, and knows how to make you laugh, is the greatest feeling in the world.
- Words. And the freedom to speak and write the ones I want in any particular order that suits my thoughts and opinions. And access to reading whichever ones I choose. Fiction. Non-fiction. Funny. Sad. Novels. Short Stories. Comic books…
- Peppermint tea.
- My family, both the one I was born into, and the one I was lucky enough to marry into. Not everyone gets to feel loved every day, but this is something I’ve never had to question – even 1,000 miles from home.
- My friends. Some friendships have faded with time, but the ones that I have now are all the stronger.
- Little pugs with funny smushed faces curled on our laps, snoring.
- My health. Growing up in a household with a great deal of physical illness, being healthy is something I am conscious not to take for granted.
- My phone. For those long conversations with my mom and sister, and my friends around the country. Despite thousands of miles, we’re lucky enough to be able to stay in each others lives.
- Laughter. Especially when I’m able to laugh at myself.
- Choices, both big and small, and the freedom to make them.
- People in my life who disagree with me. Because how boring would it be to hear the same opinions and perspectives mirrored back at you all the time? And how would you ever grow?
- Elvis (Presley, not Costello).
- My education. Because the assumption that college is the next step is not a reality for everyone, even in this country. Doors were open for me that will only ever be dreams for so many others and I never want to take that for granted.
- Photographs, and the lines they draw from the present to the past.
- Spell check (but not Autocorrect).
- Dark chocolate with sea salt.
- My job. Because I get to go to work each day and feel inspired by hearing stories and seeing people help each other and themselves.
- Christmas lights.
- Failures, big and small, and the patience to learn from them. Also, having a support system that ensures that I won’t ever have to pay for my mistakes with my home or my safety.
- Perfect fall days.
- Seeing my sisters become mothers, because they are both just so damn good at it.
- Beautiful cemeteries to explore (and a mother who encouraged this bit of strangeness).
- Making plans. Because so many people in the world don’t have a promise of a better tomorrow. Of travel, of families, of wish lists or even grocery lists.
- Art. Both the kind that reminds me how beautiful the world can be and the kind that opens my mind to new ideas.
- Being raised in a state that values community, and understands the people are more important than the bottom line.
- Living in a city where I can experience so many wonderful things! Diversity. Culture. Art. Music. Museums…
- Peanut butter anything.
- Songs that are good enough play on repeat over and over.
- Pajama pants.
- That for every voice full of hate, there are thousands more shouting words of kindness and compassion.
What are you thankful for?