But then I decided that at the very least, the world could to with a little bit more expression of gratitude, no matter how cliched, hackneyed, or redundant it might be. I'm thankful for my many blessings all year round, but this is the time of year we talk about them. So I'm going to talk about them today, and hope that I do just as well next May of showing my gratitude for these things as I do this week — albeit maybe not in a very public blog post. :)
My family of kind, compassionate, funny, giving, and talented men and women. For better or worse, they've seen me through a whole lot and I'm so glad to say we have so much fun together. There have been tremendous ups and downs over the last 25 years with these people, and the ones I count among this group today have earned every privilege that comes along with being family.
My dear friends, many of whom deserve the title of family too. The people who show me love all the time, who encourage me to chase dreams, who hold me a little bit tighter when they know I need it, who I laugh with until my insides ache, who understand me in ways I always thought impossible. The people who make me believe that "friends are the family you choose."
The blogging community, without whom I would have felt very alone at certain points this year. I've made some incredible friends since starting up this place, and though some of you live hundreds or thousands of miles away from me, I hold you so close in my heart. You guys have seen me through personal and professional challenges this year, you've supported me in my goals, you've encouraged me to reach new finish lines, and you've helped me nurse a cracked heart more than once. I used to think about the support of blog friends as "the kindness of strangers," but that's really not true. We're not strangers, not anymore. The conversations we've had, the secrets we've shared, the jokes we've laughed at together mean we're no longer strangers, merely peering into one another's lives on the Internet. Blogging means opening up our worlds to others out there, inviting them in, and implicitly, perhaps sometimes foolishly and without real reason, trusting them to treat us with kindness. I'm so honored to say no one in this community has made me want to close those doors. So to you, my dear friends — who just happen to live in different cities, states, and countries — I'm so grateful to know you.
My ability to run. This year, I became a runner in what is no doubt one of the most shocking transformations of my life — at least, if you asked anyone who knew me a year ago. Running has introduced me to incredible people. It's shown me so many sides of myself that I never knew and let me know strengths I didn't imagine I had. It's taken me to beautiful places and taught me valuable lessons about pushing boundaries and setting realistic limits. It helped me to stop being a daily cigarette smoker. Running has changed my life in more ways than I can count, and I can't imagine what I would look like today if I hadn't started.
My job, even though it isn't my dream job, and it has its flaws. It affords me the opportunity to earn a respectable living for myself and be independent and live a life I love. It allows me to work side by side with a very dear friend and share laughs every day with sweet and kind girls whom I'm lucky to know.
My yoga practice. Yoga means more to me than I think I can really put into words here without making some people feel ill, so maybe I'll leave it for another day. But yoga is another experience that has led to countless positive things, people, and adventures for me. I'm grateful that I discovered my practice and the ability I've had to nurture it over the years, this year in particular.
And the infinite "little things" that I admittedly take for granted on a daily basis — my health, my independence, my ability to work and make choices and create a life for myself, my ability to stay connected with people I love no matter where they are from Afghanistan to Japan to the far, far-away land of South Jersey, the food I'm able to eat and sustain my body with every day, the clean water I have to drink, my access to quality health care, my access to entertainment and my (albeit limited, however by my own doing) leisure time and activities, and all the things we're often so quick to complain about but that truly do make us lucky beyond words.
For all this and for each and for every day I have the option to write it, think it, and know it, I am beyond thankful. And regardless of how many posts like this appear in your feed today, and how many of you skip over this (I don't blame you), it wouldn't kill me to say it once in a while, ya know?
Happy Thanksgiving. Have a wonderful holiday, however you celebrate.
And if you aren't celebrating, happy Thursday and have a wonderful weekend.