As November begins, I’m reminded of the impending holiday: Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving for me is kind of a tongue in cheek holiday. Growing up, I always spent Thanksgiving with my “mom’s side” of the family: my grandma and grandpa, uncle, and mom’s cousin. It was always a semi-fun holiday, but aside from eating food that I only ever have once a year (turkey, cranberries, homemade stuffing, pumpkin pie, amongst others), I didn’t really see the point. Couldn’t we gather the family on any day to do this? Why did it have to be the fourth Thursday of November?
Now that I’m older (ha ha), I’ve gained a more insightful appreciation for Thanksgiving. There are so many times when I’m feeling down about x y or z in my life that I don’t take time to think about what I’m thankful for - the things that make me happy. I know that sounds cliche, and nearly everyone says that this time of year, but for me it’s especially true. As I just spent the entire month of September being pissed off, I should know. Luckily (and with some help), I managed to turn my mindset around and finally take into account the things that are keeping me going right now.
After graduating in May (yay!), I spent most of the summer enjoying finally being a “real person” (aka, having a full time job, where I can come home in the evenings, veg out in front of television, and so on). In September, as everyone was headed back to school I felt... relieved. And upset. I wanted to go back to school, too! But I couldn’t, because a) I didn’t have enough money and b) I couldn’t afford to take out any more loans (see reason A). I tried not to let this bother me too much, but darnit, there are OTHER PEOPLE OUT THERE that got to go back to school!
I didn’t take into account that, upon graduation, I had a full time job offered to me, with insurance benefits and the potential (and probability) of getting a raise within the first 6-8 months or so. A job that, while nearly necessitating I relocate, allowed me to move out of Rogers Park and into a nice neighborhood in Chicago. An area I love, and have come to be very thankful for. Also, the fact that I’m working for a successful startup means that I’m working with fantastically innovative people, and every day I get to create valuable things that not only help our company succeed, but also provide solid internet resources available to students everywhere - for free! It’s not exactly how I envisioned my life in education, but it’s definitely better than some of my alternative options. Not to mention, this company feeds me breakfast and lunch (fo free!), and it’s a 10 minute walk from my house. They also allow me to “work” 9 hour days, taking an hour off in the middle of the day to go home and let my dog out. I’m not sure that ANY OTHER company would let me do that. I’m really, really thankful for the company that employs me.
In September, I had the financial means (and willpower, and promised help) to finally adopt a dog. I say adopt because, although I did pay real money for him and didn’t save him from a cruel home, having a dog is (semi sorta) like having a child. It takes an insane amount of commitment and patience... and is so worth it! I love my little man like crazy. He’s (relatively) good - he was a great puppy, and even now that he’s entered into his mischievous stage, he’s still a really good dog. Nothing beats having him curl up on my lap and snuggle with me after a long day. I’m so thankful that I was finally able to make a dog a part of my life.
I’m also thankful for my family - they’ve had my back in a really big way the past several months. When I went through some crazy chaos in June/July, my moving expenses (rent, security deposit, etc) suddenly doubled. My mom was ON IT. She loaned me the money I needed to make the transition without a hitch. She also is allowing me to pay her back the money as I can - though I’m doing my best to keep that monthly. I’m also really thankful for my dad, brother, uncle, and boyfriend, all of whom helped me move in ONE DAY, at the last minute (!!) and things went flawlessly. Though I was crazy sore for the following few days (never again will I live on the third story anything!), I really appreciated the time and effort they put into making my move as successful and smooth as it was.
Lastly, and right now most importantly, I am so very very thankful for my boyfriend. I met this amazing man while I was dating someone else - when things didn’t work out there, I finally gave “us” a chance. It has definitely not all been rainbows and sunshine - we went through a rough patch and came out of it for the better. I’m really thankful for the communication and trust levels we’ve built up that allow us to work through our problems without beginning World War III. We’re learning how to share responsibilities to improve both of our lives. He’s helping and encouraging me to be a better person, and I hope the same is true of me for him. He’s an amazing support when I’m upset, in pain, or just going through some shit that I don’t want to deal with on my own. He’s also great with my dog - he’s been to every vet visit with us, and definitely shares in the responsibility of pee/poop breaks, walks, cleaning up, and the like. He’s thoughtful and truly has my best interests at heart. I’m so excited to and thankful that I get to experience more of my life with him.
Well, that’s what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving season. But this year, I’m making myself a promise that I fully intend to keep. It’s great to think about this now, in the month of November. But I’m going to KEEP this in mind throughout the year, to remind myself that I am happy - and why! Hopefully, this blog, amongst other things, will keep that on my mind.
What are you thankful for?