Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is clearly a time for eating heartily and raising a few toasts, but this year I do feel a stronger sense of thankfulness than I have in recent years. The past year has been one of my most transformative, and there are many things to give thanks for.

As I write this I sit at my family’s home. It’s the first time in three years that I’ve had to travel to “come home,” and it feels good to be with my parents and sisters. Truly, the most important thing I’m thankful for is my family. I’m blessed to have people in my life that are always there for me. We don’t get to choose our families, but we can choose to build strong relationships with our family members. My sisters are my best friends—what more can I say? Tomorrow we’ll sit together once again and enjoy a bountiful meal, making good conversation, laughing over jokes that only we get, and being our uniquely weird selves.

I’m also incredibly thankful for my friends. There are too many to name, but I appreciate the friendships that have been resurrected, strengthened, and created over the last year. My life grows richer every day from all of these relationships. Last week was the seven-year anniversary of the death of one of my best friends. When I woke up and realized what day it was, it totally threw me off. Could it really be seven years since he left my life? And yet he hasn’t completely left. Another aspect of friendship to be thankful for is that it stays with you, no matter if the person is physically there or not. I can’t see him or speak to him, but the memories sustain me. I’m still thankful for all the time we had together. Life is not to be lived alone—I’m thankful that so many amazing people either have been or continue to be a part of my experience of this world.

Of course, as any reader of this blog should know, I’m thankful for delicious food and cheerful drinking. I still can’t believe all the incredible experiences I’ve had over the last year. A year ago at Thanksgiving I had just booked a flight to Hawaii and a hotel room with a balcony overlooking the ocean. It was one of the most amazing trips I’ve ever taken and I fell in love with that beautiful island, tasting local cuisine and getting into the rhythm of relaxed Hawaiian time. I also traveled to Boston, Maine, Philadelphia, and spent lots of wonderful days in New York City with some of my favorite people. I went to Portland, Oregon, twice. I've been all over the damn place! And in all these locations, as well as in my day-to-day life, I enjoyed great food and imbibed a variety of tasty drinks—not only consuming meals but taking each moment to learn a little and continue to explore this great world. 

I’m also incredibly thankful for moving to New Jersey and starting a history doctoral program. I get to read and write on a subject that I love. I’ve met amazing people. I get to travel and experience new things. Almost everyday I sit back and smile, realizing I’ve been incredibly lucky and blessed.

Life is good.

We all have things to be thankful for. Tomorrow is not just a day for succulent turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, delicious stuffing, and sweet pumpkin pie—it is truly an opportunity to reflect on our existence and be thankful for what we have.

To everyone who reads this post, I hope you have an exceptional Thanksgiving this year and that you take just a moment to think about what is important in life and give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving!

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