Thursday, November 7, 2013

Giving Thanks

We’ve all seen—or perhaps even been the ones writing—the 30 days of thankfulness posts on social media. While I can’t seem to help myself from making jokes when I see some of them (I make jokes about everything...don't get offended), it truly is nice to see people expressing gratitude for the simple things in life.

Ok, I really couldn’t help myself, but it’s just one joke:

Nonetheless, I’m thankful that so many people are thankful, and I have numerous things to be grateful for as well in my own life. However, I also am quite aware that—since I can’t even commit to dinner plans more than two days in advance—I am most likely incapable of committing to posting on the same topic of thankfulness for an entire month. Let’s face it, there will invariably come a day within the month that I would rather post something snarky, funny, or completely irrelevant.

It’s my social media, and I do what I want.

As a result, I weighed my options and decided a blog post would have to suffice.

This has been quite the up-and-down year in my life, complete with the ever-changing journey of “finding myself,” determining priorities, making changes, and growing up. People have come and gone, and I have allowed myself to go from the lives of some. At times, I have slipped from the optimistic-to-a-fault person that I have always been into someone who saw nothing but stormy skies and hard times. Yet, it has all been part of a process that has shaped me and made me stronger, and for that, I am perhaps more grateful than anything.

I am thankful for the people who never left my side—even when I turned into a Debbie Downer for a week or two. These are the friends and family members who are the most important part in my life. They are the saints who will answer the phone in the middle of the night to tell me that it’s all going to be okay—even when they had already convinced me of the same thing hours earlier. These are the people who will offer a hug when times get rough, celebrate life’s victories with you, laugh about nothing, have random dance parties in the living room, and enrich your life. I’m blessed beyond measure to have these people in my life, and I cherish them. Thank you.

I am thankful for the people who have left my side—and in some cases my life. Upon the exit of some, I felt broken. Yet, their absence taught me a great deal about the things I can overcome and the type of people I need in my life. I have since realized that there are some people whose presence in our lives is meant to be merely seasonal. They come in, they stay for a while, they may even leave their mark or change our lives in some way, and then they leave. When they leave, we have a chance to rebuild, pick up the pieces and learn our lessons. This makes us stronger, and I will always be grateful to be strong.

I am thankful for new beginnings. This year, I became an aunt and learned so much more about the beauty of life. Words cannot express how much my sweet niece blesses my life and how often I thank God for her.

Sarah Kaylee teaching me that there is always a new day—and a new generation to help inspire.

I am thankful for my family. We’re quirky, and we have our own set of flaws—but we’re always there for each other. They make me laugh, they help me when I’m struggling, and they’re always my biggest supporters. From grandparents to aunts and uncles and cousins, I have a wonderful extended family. Then, of course, I have the most supportive parents, the sweetest sister and brother-in-law, the most amazing little brother, and the most adorable niece possible. I love them all dearly.

I am thankful for life’s struggles, for hard lessons learned, and for the times when things seem to be all chaos and no clarity. These are the times in which we find what we're made of and allow us to see both previous and future times of happiness with greater respect.

I am thankful for dreams that persevere, even when there does not seem to be a clear pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

And, sometimes, we get a glimmer of the sun shining off of that far-off pot of gold. These are the little moments that keep us going, and for those, I am incredibly grateful.

I am thankful for optimism that continues to shine even into the darkness of uncertainty.

I am thankful for new friends whose presence in my life gives me a renewed hope on the connection of human hearts.

I am thankful for good music—regardless of genre—that gives me a running soundtrack throughout the day (whether it’s deep music of the heart, or a hilarious interjection into an all too serious moment).

I am thankful for the stars at night that remind me of simple beauties.

I am thankful to have a wonderful house to live in, and a phenomenal roommate with whom to share it.

Thankfully, my roommate puts up with all my silliness, and even joins in the fun!

I am thankful for my dog—and for my roommate’s dog—who always remind me that unconditional love does exist.

They also remind me that sometimes the most unlikely pair can become great friends.

I am thankful to have a sense of humor, because life is hilarious—and because life without laughter is not really worth it all.

I’m also thankful to have silly friends who share my silly sense of humor and aren’t afraid to act a little crazy with me from time to time.

I’m thankful for this crazy roller coaster ride we call life. Even with its ups and downs, it’s absolutely a beautiful mess.

And, finally, if you stuck through reading this entire post of garbled thank-you notes, you’re probably one of the people I love, and I’m thankful for you. 

Thank you!

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