Happy Thanksgiving 2017! I hope you are all enjoying some wonderful mashed potatoes and get to take that glorious post-Thanksgiving nap you’ve been dreaming of all year, but for now, I’m happy you’re here, and I want to tell you a few things I am thankful for this year. Sometimes I think we can forget what Thanksgiving is supposed to be all about amidst the mountains of food and tempting Black Friday sales, so here’s the little angel on your shoulder reminding you to be thankful for all that you have in your life and all that is to come. I love you all, and I wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings.
This year, I am thankful for…
1. The endless support of my friends and family.
Moving to a new city after college and starting a new job is incredibly jarring. All of a sudden you’re not surrounded by thousands of people your own age and you’re having to pay bills and be responsible for every aspect of your life. I’d love to return my adult membership, but since that doesn’t seem to be an option, I’m forever thankful to have friends and family that have supported me every step of the way in this journey. I am lucky enough to live in a city with my favorite (only) brother and his girlfriend, who feed me on a regular basis and accompany me on adventures around town, and I have friends who set aside their Friday evenings to Facetime with me after a rough week at work or call me when I send them a cryptic text message about feeling lonely. I recognize that not everyone has this in their life, and I am so so thankful for the people that stand behind me every day, put up with my incessant text messages, and let me sleep in their beds when I come to visit them. So to my friends and family that I love so dearly, I don’t know what I would do without all of your support, and I definitely don’t thank you all enough for everything that you do. Thanks for being in my life!
2. The roof over my head and the ground beneath my feet.
We take such simple things for granted on a regular basis, but being able to call somewhere with four walls and a roof home is an absolute privilege that I am thankful for every day. According to End Homelessness, over half a million people experience homelessness on any given night in America. That’s a staggering amount of people that don’t have a bed to go home to or a warm meal to satisfy their hunger after a long day. Countless people around the world are displaced from their homes due to disasters (natural and man-made) that are ripping their countries and families apart on a daily basis. That is absolutely heartbreaking to have to endure and my heart goes out to every single person in the world that doesn’t have a place to call home or doesn’t feel safe in the place they are supposed to call home. If you can, hug your parents. Thank your roommate. Give yourself a high-five. Whatever you do, go to bed tonight knowing that you are one of the lucky ones.
3. The opportunity to pursue what I love in a city that I love.
Post-graduation, I moved home to Florida to look for jobs. I ended up finding one three months later that took me to Nashville, TN, a city I had dreamed of living in for years. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to move 12 hours from home to start a new life in a new city. I am very aware that many people are not able to do such a thing, and I will never be able to express how fortunate I am to be able to explore a new city while also pursuing a career I love with the support of my parents, brother, and friends. I am thankful I get to make a new place home at such a young age.
4. The ability to travel, explore, and adventure.
I truly believe it is not the objects in your life but the memories you create with the people you love that matter most. In only the few short months I have been out of college, I have been able to visit my loved ones so much more now that I am independent, making my own money, and don’t have to spend Sundays in the library. I took a road trip to visit a friend I hadn’t seen in a year, I bought a last minute plane ticket to go to my first college homecoming, and I’m getting to travel to see a musical at the beginning of December before I go home for Christmas. So, I guess I’m thankful for the understanding that memories last far longer than things, and for the fire for adventure that lives inside me. I want to try new things every day and challenge myself to get everything I can out of this life before it’s too late. So seriously. Book that plane ticket. Take those three days of vacation. And just go.
5. The passion to be my best self.
As I get older, I come to understand that not everyone seeks to be extraordinary — but I do. It’s a fatal flaw at times, but I’m slowly coming to realize that it is a gift that so few are given. I’ve always wanted to be the best, from my days in kindergarten when the only way you could be the best was to get the highest jump off the swings. That drive never left me. And sometimes it leaves me in a pit of despair feeling like I’m not as pretty as her or as smart as him, but I have slowly come to realize that I don’t need to be better than anyone else — the only competition I have is myself. I can only be the best me, and you can only be the best you. So that’s what I strive toward every day — the optimal version of myself. Smile more. Give more. Move more. Be more than I was before. And that’s all I, or anyone, can do.
6. The understanding that learning never ends.
I am so thankful for my passion for reading because it means I get to be a student for the rest of my life. I think the greatest thing we can do with our time is continue to learn and grow as humans into our best selves. I am thankful for the opportunity to enjoy the culture of a large city, explore museums that teach me about others passions in life, and read books that enlighten me to what is going on in the world. Be your own teacher and set your own lesson plans. Never stop learning.
7. The appreciation I have for today.
Each and every day is a gift. I know how cheesy that sounds, trust me, but it is undeniably true. Each day is a new day, and you get to decide how you spend it. I am thankful for the opportunity to make my life my own with every passing day.
I wish you all the happiest of Thanksgivings! Let me know what you’re thankful for this year in the comments below.