In the United States, we are about to celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday where we get together for a meal with our loved ones and reflect about what we are grateful for. Personally, I don’t just save my gratitude thoughts just for Thanksgiving; I am grateful for many things year-round.
But 2017 found me challenged to find things to be grateful for. It has been a trying year for me. My beloved cat Cosette died a year ago almost to the day (technically 2016, but it was close to 2017, so it counts). Then in July I was laid off at my job, a position I had held for 20 years. And in August, as so many of you know, my beloved aunt died. It was the latter that sent me into a tailspin from which I have not yet recovered. I have taken to heart all your kind words, dear readers, and it helps. Still, I am still grieving.
But, despite all this, I am hugely thankful for so many things. Here are just 10 things in the plethora of things I’m thankful for. Though they are numbered, they are not listed in any order of importance.
1. I’m so thankful to have Ari in my life. I oftentimes reflect what an amazing girl she is: kind, loving, thoughtful, and deeply caring about others’ feelings. She is oriented toward math and science, and to this day, says she plans to be a medical researcher, finding ways to cure diseases, such as cancer. She’s only 9 years old, so she may eventually change her mind, and that is fine with me. But her kind, authentic intent is there, and I love her for all that she is. She is very much her own person, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
2. I’m thankful that my aunt was an important part of my life for so long. I was lucky to have her as a parent, and it was a privilege to know her so well. She has brought joy and love to my life and taught me the meaning of being non-judgmental and loving unconditionally.
3. I landed a new job! I am currently teaching part-time at a local community college. Although I still miss working with my colleagues-turned-friends at my former job, this current position is truly a step-up from where I used to be. I simply Love. This. College.
4. Speaking of friends, I made a new one — ironically thanks to being laid off. She and I always had a great rapport and talked whenever we were lucky enough to work on the same campus. After I was laid off, she was understandably quite upset and took the news very hard. So she reached out to me. And we’ve met a couple of times for breakfast. Turns out, we have a lot in common and have become good friends in a short amount of time. At our last get-together, which was less than a week ago, she and I discussed grief. She gave me the most meaningful advice, card and plaque; they were so heartfelt, I cried. And I realized that had I not been laid off, we might not have become such close friends.
5. I am so happy to have so many friends. They have lifted me up during the bad times, and they continue to do so. And they are supportive during the good times. I couldn’t ask for better friends.
6. I am lucky to be NED (No Evidence of Disease). I don’t know if I’ll always be NED, but for now, I will take it.
7. I am grateful for starting to blog again after a long hiatus. Truth was, I was being eaten up by grief, but blogging is therapeutic, and, in difficult times, I should turn to writing, not turn away from it.
8. I am thankful that our house is our home. It is filled with laughter and joy and happiness. We have fun together and love each other, and I couldn’t be luckier.
9. I’m grateful for our cat Hemi, who is a sweet member of this household and gives unconditional love — all his waking hours. It’s why we gave him his middle name, Romeo. When I first got the cat, his name was Hemi. He purrs like a Hemi engine, so I kept his first name.
10. I’m thankful for the blogosphere, #BCSM, and you, my dear readers, for being so supportive of me and for just being you. I appreciate your readership and am looking forward to another year of blogging.
What are you grateful for? Please feel free to share.