While I believe we should be thankful every day, I found myself feeling a little extra emotional the last few weeks when it came to my appreciation for life. Something has been triggered inside of me that has been building up for some time now. A tiny spark has turned into a full-blown bonfire. You know, the kind you dance around with your closest friends and family as the snow falls while drinking mugs of hot cocoa (with extra marshmallows) with warm hearts and warm butts. That's the kind of gratitude I'm feeling.
So let me take a moment to reflect.
These are just a few of the things I'm feeling especially grateful for at this moment.
1. My dog. I know this doesn't come as a surprise to you. But after numerous visits to the emergency vet this year I have truly come to understand how much this little pooch means to me. I'd do anything for her health and happiness. Her loyalty to me is a reflection of my loyalty to her.
2. My cat. I get a lot of remarks about how Cricket has stolen the limelight from my old girl. But in all honesty getting a dog has only helped me grow fonder of my sweet Thomasita. She has become the best version of herself since our family grew. And she, too, suffered a couple health scares this year that really put into perspective how much this little fur ball and I have been through together in 15 years.
(Side Note: I am grateful for mornings with these two. Waking up with Cricket next to me, legs in the air, head on the pillow and Thomasita next to my head, pawing at my nose. I tickle cricket until she stops snoring and wakes up, she and the kitty give each other Eskimo kisses and then they chase each other out of the room, leaving me there with the best of the warm fuzzies).
3. My folks. I say I go home once a month so I can do my laundry. That's actually a lie. At 36 years old I go home once a month because I truly have learned to appreciate my Mom and Dad. Because I cherish every moment we all have together. Right now we are all lucky enough to have our health and our freedom from some of the struggles life tends to present us with. And I won't waste a second of time when it comes to the opportunities I have to share with them.
4. My career. My first job in radio was fifteen years ago. And fifteen years later I still look forward to getting up and going to work each day. With every new contract, I celebrate. With every new responsibility, I find excitement in the challenge. My coworkers are family. My listeners are friends.
"Do what you love and you'll never work another day in your life."
5. My tiny one-bedroom apartment. In five years since my house foreclosed, I've lived in a cute little apartment on a cobblestone street in my favorite neighborhood in Spokane. My rent is cheap. My neighbors have become some of my favorite people. We all have keys to each other's doors. And while my dishwasher has been broken for a year now and my tub drips constantly and my faucet doesn't attach to my sink, I love every square foot. The wood-burning fireplace and vintage tile. The way the trees bloom in the spring then turn the most vibrant of orange in the fall. Listening to my neighbors playing guitars and singing puts my heart at ease. It truly feels like HOME.
6. Subie-2. My new ride has become my second home. She keeps me safe when Spokane drivers scare me silly. She has saved me on gas and maintenance and so much stress. She's already dirty. Covered in muddy paw prints on the inside and dog nose prints on the windows. And she's perfect in every way.
7. New friends. It's been almost two years since I quit drinking and gave up the party lifestyle. And in doing so I've had a hard time meeting new people. But the few I have met have become staples in my life. It's true - you are who you surround yourself with. And I'm so proud to be surrounded by the incredible, inspiring, motivated, passionate, successful individuals I've been lucky enough to start calling friends.
8. Old friends. There's not many left. But to the handful who have stood by me as I've continued my journey of self-discovery and living my best life imaginable, I am beyond grateful. My Tawny. My Kelsi. My Sarah. My Dana. My Pam. My Emily. My Jackie. My biggest fans. I can only hope they know that I'm their biggest fan too. I just have a hard time expressing it and showing my gratitude sometimes. But I thank the stars above for being blessed by each and every one of them each night.
9. LIFE. I recently re-connected with an old friend who has reminded me how precious life truly is. He is a survivor. In every sense of the word. It can all end so abruptly. And I don't ever want to leave this earth with regret. So I will continue to say I love you. And I'll keep hugging strangers. I'll keep spending every dime I have on adventures. I'm never going to take Mother Nature and her healing powers for granted. I'm going to keep laughing and smiling and living in my bubble of optimism. And I'm never, ever going to stop being grateful. 365 days a year. 24 hours a day. Because life is beautiful. Even when it hurts.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. May you find joy in every second.