What am I saying?
My life has been pretty awesome. It’s just been a few certain life events that lead me to believe that I’ve had it rough. Losing your parents, especially when they were arguably the best parents in the world, and me being merely 19/20 when it happened, is tough. But I learned how to cope and I think I picked up on some of their lessons, finally, posthumously.
Here are those 15 questions that prompt us to remember what we are grateful for:
1. Who do I appreciate? That’s easy. Mom– for always instilling a sense of pride in my heritage and roots. It may not have caught on when she wanted it to, but believe me Lois, it’s there. She has helped me become this ambitious, hard-working, and goal-oriented person that I’m proud to be. I’m proud of my heritage, my femininity, my uniqueness. Dad– for his endless curiosities about the world and his eager thirst for knowledge. His unwavering love for his daughters and wife. His dedication as a role model. His quiet demeanor, yet goofy ambiance that could put a smile on anyone’s face. His hugs, which made all the world a better place. And of course, my friends who have put up with my ups and downs. My fiance, who has seen the ugliest, meanest, and blackest side of me, yet remains loving, loyal, and seeing the beauty I have. That’s dedication. My sisters, my sweet sisters who I love more than anything else. My best friends and bridesmaids. Homies.
2. How am I fortunate? I am still bright-eyed and bushy tailed. I’m still willing to take on the world. I fight, fight and fight some more. I have everything I need to make my dreams come true. I’m in good health. I have food in my fridge. I have a warm bed. I have clean, running water. Granted they’re gone now, I had the good fortune of being raised in a loving, caring home. I have clothes on my back. A full education (and continuing). I have no debt and a happy savings account. I’ve seen other parts of the world and I’m not done yet. I could probably keep going on but I should probably try to keep some of these short.
3. What material possessions am I thankful for? My laptop, it’s my main social media gateway and the keeper of all my ideas. My phone, so I’m never far from family or friends. My car (which is thankfully, fully paid for). My photo albums, for those nostalgic moments I have. I love nothing more than going back in time thanks to my photo albums.
4. What abilities do I have that I am thankful for? My ability to love. Honestly, there are people who don’t know how and they aren’t happy. My ability to laugh, even in the midst of terrible life events. I think my lighthearted disposition helped me through many dark nights. My ability to learn fast, it’s been a necessary trait since life is fast, so so fast.
5. What about my surroundings (home/neighborhood/city/etc.) am I thankful for? I love the city of Buffalo. I love the Elmwood Village. I’ve been in the EV since before it was such a thing. I’m happy to see how it’s grown. A hot bed of intellectuals, hipsters, money-begging vagabonds (just say “Sorry” or give them the quarter floating around at the bottom of your purse, no biggie!), and awesome coffee. Seriously, don’t bother with Starbucks. Go local. It’s better. I love the diversity of the city. I value the diversity.
6. What experiences have I had that I am grateful for? Every possible event, emotion, person I’ve met, and state of mind I’ve ever been in has contributed to the person I have become. “I am not original. I am a combination of everyone I’ve ever met.”
7. What happened today/yesterday/this week/this month/this year that I am grateful for? Today : I woke up next to my best friend. I woke up. Yesterday: Another 12+ hour day was in the books and I got to curl up on the couch, with pizza and wine, and watch Angel. I love hanging out with Mr. Sam. This week: Three day weekend! My first consecutive three-days off since July! This month: Winding down and getting ready for graduation next month 😀 This year: ok, this is going to sound bad, but no one died. No one I’m close to anyway. I’ve been to a few too many funerals in the last three years. This year, no one died. I was spared this year.
8. What opportunities do I have that I am thankful for? I am about to be unleashed into the working world and I have the tools necessary to begin a career. I can start planning a wedding next year :D. I have the opportunity to continue traveling with Costa Rica being my next adventure.
9. What have others in my life done that I am thankful for? Given perspective. Given love. Given acceptance. Given me a chance.
10. What have others done that I am benefiting from in my life (even if I don’t know who those people are)? Kept our culture alive. Kept optimism in their hearts. Loved one another. Shown me who I want to be and who I don’t want to be.
11. What relationships am I thankful for? Mother-daughter. Father-daughter. Sister-Sister. Best friends. Partners-in-Crime. Mr. & Ms. Sam.
12. What am I taking for granted that, if I stop to think about it, I am grateful for? My parents telling me when I was little “we won’t be around forever.” It used to make me very upset but it was for a reason. They aren’t here anymore but it’s those few words that allow me to face reality head on. I’ve been stronger for it.
13. What is there about the challenges/difficulties I have experienced (or am currently experiencing) that I can be thankful for? I can confidently say, with no reservation, that I am a strong woman.
14. What is different today than it was a year ago that I’m thankful for? I am looking forward to the holidays. I still get these little jags of emotion that make me want to cry, throw myself up against the wall, and want to do nothing until they come back. BUT- it’s not the focus of these holidays. I’m ready to have my first holiday season with my live-in husband-to-be.
15.What insights have I gained that I am grateful for? It could always be worse, I’m just happy with what I have.