On being thankful: a snapshot of where I am, right now.
As some of you may know, I recently took on a couple of therapy sessions in lieu of at-home internet access for the last month. I’ve also taken up reading more self-help books, yoga, and kindly giving myself some well-deserved “me time”. Overall, I believe I’m in a much healthier mindset now than I was pre-Paris trip.
One of the many key attributes I’ve been working on during this time was simply gratitude. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to forget to take a second and be truly grateful for what you have. Sometimes, I find myself unmeaningly saying, “thanks” — such as to strangers on the elevator when I arrive on my floor. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better to say it more often than not. However, I wanted to truly feel thankful for what I have.
Although the coined history of the American Thanksgiving is horrendous, I do like to take this time of the year to reflect on what I am thankful for. Sure, it may be a little cliché, but for good reason.
Honestly, I’m very healthy now, in multiple areas of the word. I’m grateful for that, especially since I just got over a nasty cold that lasted about two weeks. But there are also several other factors under the umbrella-term “health” that I’ve improved on in the last year.
As aforementioned, I’m in a better mental space now than I was two months/two years/two lives ago. I am truly grateful for my progress, even though I still struggle with social anxiety quite a bit. However, I can definitely tell a decrease in my generalized anxiety. I don’t necessarily get stressed out over situations or things anymore. It’s refreshing.
I feel as though a lot of my social anxiety stemmed from my previous living environment — student housing filled with roommates who were all friends with each other, and excluded me from their activities. I recently moved out, and my living environment has improved immensely. I’ve taken up homemaking as a hobby, and it’s made me very happy to be able to have that control again. To feel comfortable where I live.
Recently, I fell in love with my town as well. I get the biggest smile on my face when I’m walking around the area running errands or heading to work. It’s small, it’s quaint, and it’s just about perfect for me.
I’m in a much different relationship now than I was this time, last year. Though I’m so (fucking) grateful for my ex, I am insanely happy with my current boyfriend, Quentin. He has unknowingly taught me several valuable life lessons in the six months we’ve been together. Not to mention, he’s supportive, kind, and caring. He deserves the best, and I’m thankful to have him in my life, even though we live oceans apart.
Health & Fitness
Again, I recently got over a nasty cold, so I’m especially grateful for my current health and my ability to breathe without sniffling every ten seconds.
I’ve been trying on-and-off for years to get back into yoga, and I’m trying to get back into it again on Monday mornings with my sister. So far, we’ve only made it to one and a half lessons — no one except us has shown up, and the instructor didn’t even make it to the second class.
Pre-Paris, I was taking a trial of Tang Soo Do classes. It was really fun, and the instructor seemed really personable and interested in helping each student. I hope I can start taking those classes again, or even get back into Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, but I had to temporarily put a halt on these to accommodate for the living environment changes I’ve been making.
So much has changed in my professional area within the last month. I’m incredibly thankful for these opportunities and realisations.
Growth & Learning
I graduated with my Bachelor’s in June, and began attending the most difficult school of all — life. Actually, it hasn’t been that bad, though it’s been different to have to come up with my own “lesson plans” and find ways to keep my creative and academic juices flowing.
As I previously stated, I started reading a lot more. I try to read every night before I go to bed. You can keep up with me on GoodReads if you’d like.
I’m also now subscribed to many developer newsletters (sent to a special inbox of course). The goal is to keep up-to-date with new technologies for work. Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0, since it will affect our CMS at work. I’m grateful for a progressive growth and learning experience. There are so many resources available for me to grasp a better understanding.
According to a Google search I made on “areas of life”, this section was originally titled “School”, but I covered most of that in the “Growth & Learning” section. (Side note: I actually did sign up for an actual academic class for the spring semester — math! Thank God my employer covers my tuition.)
I decided to change this section to Work, since that is where I spend the majority of my day now. I recently graduated from Part-Time to Full-Time, and I am very thankful for this upgrade. I’m now able to support myself completely. The new job has also opened up new opportunities in several different fields. For example, the academics, as I have for my upcoming math class. I also now have health insurance and have started up my retirement fund. Adulting!
I saved up a lot on my own during my college education, because I knew I wanted to move out of student housing as soon as possible. I’m grateful to my past self for doing that then, so it isn’t such a burden now. Because of this, I was able to afford a bed and mattress, which definitely beats sleeping on a camping pad on the floor (which I did for about a week until I bought the mattress).
I’m thankful I’m able to just sit down once a month and keep a log of what I’m doing with my money. Money doesn’t rule my life — I’m in charge of my money, and I am truly grateful for that freedom. I also give myself a little wiggle room for leisure spendings, so I’m thankful to be able to head out to lunch or dinner with friends on occasion.
I’m still working on my social anxiety, but it just makes me more grateful for the people I’m able to feel comfortable with.
Family & Friends
Luckily, I still live fairly close to my parents and I was able to visit them for the weekend on Thanksgiving holiday. It was nice to see them again, since the last time I went home was for Virtual Self. My family is amazing, and anyone who hears me talk about them knows how much I love them. We’ve always been very close and I’m eternally grateful for my parents and siblings. They’re the best.
My friends are also super, super important to me. I don’t know where I’d be without my tight-knit Twitter community and IRL friends. I hate using my anxiety as an excuse. The overwhelming feeling makes it difficult to start or engage in conversations with people. This makes me especially grateful to feel welcomed regardless. And it’s nice to have one-on-one conversations with some of my favourites. You know who you are.
I’m grateful for the many interests I’ve developed over the years, particularly music, art, and development. There’s no better feeling than progression in creativity, and I’m thankful that I can feel that in my free time.
Though I’ve been fairly busy since I started working full time, I am grateful that I can leave my work at work and do some fun things. That’s actually something that I hadn’t thought of until a couple days ago when I was talking with a friend; he’s still in school and has to finish up homework when he leaves class, whereas my work projects are left in the office. That’s a new experience I’m grateful for.
As I’ve said before, I’ve recently fallen in love with my town. I’ve been trying to get more involved in volunteer work and local events, even though it’s a little out of my comfort zone. The important thing is that I’m actually trying to put myself out there.
I’m grateful that I’m a part of a lot of different little communities, especially groups that are tied into my interests. I was on a phone call the other day with my buddy and we were talking a little about the “SoundCloud community”. I feel like people have split a little more now than they had previously (which some of my Twitter anxiety derived from, but that’s another story). But I always feel as though I’m a part of something.
Thankful Closing Remarks
We have Thanksgiving feast in about an hour, so I’m going to try to wrap this up and help my family out with some preparations. Life has changed a lot, just with a new perspective of gratitude — you can really see a difference. I’m grateful for so many things in my life right now, and honestly, sometimes I’m a little afraid to show that thankfulness.
It’s important to be grateful for what you have, and it’s also important to keep in mind those who may not have things going great for them. Therefore, I’d like to close with a few links to some charities I’ve been keeping an eye on and contributing to over the last year. The first one being probably the one most personable to me.
Laurie’s Cancer Relief Fund
My aunt was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s been a huge inspiration to me throughout my life, particularly in humanitarian aide and writing. Thankfully, she has kept close friends and family updated on her treatment status in the form of blog entries and pictures. December marks the end of her treatment, and she could use a kind hand with some funds.
I was inspired to chop off 16 inches of my hair as a statement and donation to Pantene. This is the last year they’re taking donations. I announced the change and my aunt’s fundraiser on Twitter. It’s been really encouraging to see familiar names pop up in the donation feed.
As of writing this post, she’s only $5,000 away from her goal.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
My sister and I walked for the AFSP “Out of the Darkness” event in my town. We also were able to raise the funding goal right before the walk, which was amazing (huge shout out to Bradford). The charity is great, I’d recommend checking them out!
The campaign page should be open until the end of December, but please feel free to donate to the charity even afterward:
Last, but not least, I’d like to show my support for Charity:Water. Once a month (on the fifteenth), I fast for 24 hours. Then, I donate the money I would have spent on meals to Charity:Water. I got this idea from an organization called “Fast For Peace“. The difference is that they change the charity every month. Hopefully, when I’m a little more financially ground, I’ll be able to participate in both.
They’re doing a cool referral program where you can “Pledge Your Birthday” with me: