Ok, yes, it’s cliché to write about what you are thankful for on Thanksgiving. Several-years-ago-me would have rolled my eyes at the thought, just as I rolled my eyes at all things holiday related because of the commercialism and forced nature of it. I still despise the commercial side and don’t decorate or celebrate in any big way (because by the time Christmas rolls around we’ve been subject to decorations and holiday music for two goddamn months already in every store and on every street corner!), but I have adapted slightly and brought a little holiday spirit into my life in my own way.
Adult life goes by fast. I mean, remarkably fast. I look back on events that happened five years ago with certainty that they only happened a few months ago. Sometimes it takes literally months of planning and trial and error to finally get together with a friend for lunch because our schedules are so hectic and rapidly changing. And I still am unconvinced that 40 is just around the corner. So, the way I see it now, it’s nice to have a day on the calendar dedicated to giving your beloved some extra attention, to appreciating your parents, or to reveling in the fact that you are alive on this amazing planet for another year. It doesn’t have to be commercial at all. There doesn’t have to be a big sit-down dinner or a parade or a massive family picnic. It’s about taking a moment. And so, especially because my life satisfaction level is currently around 96%, today I’m taking a moment to write about what I am thankful for in my life.
My close friends, not-as-close friends, and acquaintances. There’s always someone to go to lunch or happy hour with, try new exercise classes with, down a box of wine with at home, plan exciting adventures and vacations with, learn something new from, get outdoors with on those randomly gorgeous winter days, get much-needed advice from, and even to do little favors for you when you need a helping hand. I know a lot of amazing women and I’m proud of all of them for everything they’ve accomplished and for being the great people they are.
My dad. An all-around good guy enjoying his retirement, who calls to fill me in on all the Buffalo news I’m missing out on. Good talks.
Ironman, who I’ve known for six months already. Talk about life moving quickly! But how grateful I am to find someone so caring, emotionally open, generous with his time and affection, passionate about his work and living well, curious about the world and exploring it more (with me!), and so unbelievably sexy! His presence in my life was entirely unexpected this year and, at times, I am overwhelmed by its positive impact.
And of course, Trotsky Bear. My hiking buddy, mood raiser, dropped food vacuum, body warmer, entertainment provider, and all around little love bug.
I work for a software company that provides a highly competitive salary, excellent company-paid benefits, and lots of perks such as Free Food Friday, the ability to work remotely (and spend more time in Dallas!), and paying for my expenses to attend a technical writers conference last May, from which I came back with an idea that is changing the content management for our whole company as well as my role in a direction that is right up my alley. Speaking of which, that’s the other amazing part of my job – my boss. I work for someone who completely trusts his employees to get their jobs done but also supports us however we need, who cares about us as people and as employees with real career aspirations, and who is great at identifying our individual strengths and passions and configuring the team in such a way that we all get to work on what we are good at and what interests us. I feel incredibly fortunate to have landed this role a year and a half ago, purely through luck of timing and a really good professional network.
I live in Boulder, Colorado! I mean, seriously. What else can I ask for? A clean, beautiful city full of highly-educated, friendly people who care about healthy lifestyles, where there is lots to do, butting up against stunning mountains and landscapes, with 300 days of sun a year, and a major airport less than an hour away. And I’m in a position to be able to afford living in a standalone house with a yard for the dog that is walking distance from several of my friends and most in-town activities I like to do.
And My Landlady…?
I’m going to throw in an odd category here, one that relates to why I’m posting this under Sanctuary. I moved into a fully furnished place, but the landlady really went above and beyond. Before I moved in, she bought a whole new set of linens for the bed and a new set of towels for the bathroom, stocked the bathroom and kitchen with soap, put toilet paper in the bathroom, and bought new silverware, a set of wine glasses, dishwashing liquid, a kettle, and even laid out a new toothbrush and toothpaste on the bathroom sink! Furthermore, there’s no central heating in the house and she knew my dog was going to be crated during the day while I was at work. One of the free-standing heating stoves is next to his crate and she was worried he would be hot. She bought a separate space heater for the bathroom so I could shut the door and not have the pipes freeze there, but the temperature in the bedroom would be ok for Trotsky. That was very thoughtful. Oh, and the tea towels. I can’t forget to mention the tea towels because, as you might suspect, they have chickens on them!
If you don’t feel like you have much to be grateful for this year, hang in there. If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that happiness comes and goes in waves. On this day last year, I was utterly miserable in my relationship and not too thrilled with work either. My life satisfaction level was closer to 40%. But a lot changed for me in 365 days. Some of it I had to take initiative on and really work for, and other parts of my life changed themselves in ways that I never could have foreseen one year ago. So if this hasn’t been your best year, get out there and push for what you want, and I’ll cross my fingers to send a bit of luck your way.