Several of my friends, starting on the first of November, posted on Facebook one thing they are thankful for each day, and I didn’t do it, but I thought it was a good exercise in thinking about (or at least looking like you’re thinking about) what you’re thankful for. So, I want to take a minute and list 22 of the things I’m thankful for, to make up for not doing it along the way.
I’m thankful (in no particular order):
- that I’m alive and kickin.
- that I’m healthy.
- that I finally have health insurance in case I ever become less healthy!
- for my apartment that’s warm, cozy, and feels like home.
- that I have enough free time to write a blog.
- for all of the technology I have that makes my life so much damn easier than it could be.
- that I have a family that stressed the importance of education to me and my brothers, and who didn’t leave going to college as an option.
- that I went to a small liberal arts college first before moving on to a big research institution.
- that I had professors that not only had faith in me, but made me enroll in harder classes, rewrite papers over and over again, and ask the harder questions – all to make me better at what I do.
- that I was confident enough to follow my passion (trying to understand humanity) as my career, even if it won’t come with a big paycheck.
- that I have a family who’s okay with that decision!
- that my hard work at Valdosta State University paid off and I was able to get a scholarship at SUNY Buffalo for my PhD (didn’t need any more student loans piling up!)
- that I always have enough to eat (which is good since I love food).
- for all the opportunities that I’ve had to travel to many different places.
- for all the memories that I’ve made in the past 25 years – the ones that make me chuckle to myself when I’m stressed out in the library.
- that I am a pack-rat and I keep way too much stuff, from scraps of paper, to random forks, to every single movie ticket stub, because then I can go through it all – like I did a few nights ago – and relive all of those memories!
- for the coffee I’m drinking as I’m sitting here.
- for the big, comfortable bed that I reluctantly got out of this morning.
- for all of my friends – in all of the different countries – who I’ve shared Thanksgiving with over the past several years. They’re what makes not being able to go home okay :)
- for all of my friends – the ones I’ve had since second grade, and the ones that I’ve only made in the past two and a half years. They keep me sane and keep me from losing all faith in humanity.
- that I found my partner and best friend, who I love, who loves me, and who makes me know that life is going to turn out great. And I’m especially thankful that he puts up with my ornery ass.
- And most of all, I am thankful for my big, loud, and sometimes ridiculous family. I’m thankful that while we may not be “traditional” in every respect, both sides of my family instilled in us traditional values: respect for ourselves and for others; compassion for those less fortunate and for those who live life differently than we do; a strong sense of responsibility to ourselves, others, and the community; humility tempered with a good dose of self-confidence to go through life, standing up for what’s right and helping to solve situations that are wrong; and most of all: love that acts as the foundation for everything else; it’s a love that sends you handwritten cards, just because; that makes you homemade meals when you come home; that sends you “candy money” even when you’re 25 years old; that worries about turning “your” bedroom into a guest room even seven years after you moved out; that mails boxes of goodies and a Christmas tree across the Atlantic Ocean to make sure that have “that Christmas feel” while you’re studying abroad; that drives 400 miles to watch your play, football game, or awards ceremony; that “likes” everything on Facebook, no matter what; that would rather support you as you pursue your dream 1,100 miles away instead of encouraging you to live closer to home.
So, that’s what I’m thankful for today, and every day. I know that I got lucky to have all of these things, and that some people don’t get to experience them all. But, I’m thankful that my family is so open and willing to share that ‘family feeling’ with everyone that comes our way (and I think we have more “honorary” grandchildren, cousins, children, and siblings in our family that we do actual blood relatives)!
So, I hope you all have a good day and enjoy spending it with whomever you’re with! I’m about to head to the kitchen and do my part for a Turkey Day feast :D