It’s thanksgiving today. I opted out of the family holiday tradition of going home to my mom’s. It’s the first time in my life I haven’t spent the holiday with her. It’s not that I didn’t want to spend time with my family; it was just that I needed to spend some time with myself. I’ve let my anxiety get the better of me over the last 4 weeks and my health has paid the price big time. My eczema flared to the worst it’s been in years. I had to go on steroids to get it back under control. Even when on the steroids I was not feeling 100%. So I took a week off of work. Originally, my boyfriend and I were going to take a trip somewhere. We had seriously talked about going to Colorado to visit some friends, but things never materialized. I then contemplated not taking the week off, since I didn’t really have anything to do or anywhere to be, but I realized that this was the first time in my life that I was going to be able to take time off to do whatever I wanted. I wasn’t taking time off because I was sick or because I was traveling, I was just taking time off to enjoy not working. What an idea!
It has been fabulous! I have done absolutely nothing of importance. I haven’t deep cleaned my apartment, I haven’t caught up on laundry, I haven’t cooked a week’s worth of meals. I’ve read, I’ve napped, and I’ve gone to movies and out for drinks. I’ve met up for breakfast and taken my dog to the dog park, but most importantly I’ve written a lot. It’s been liberating to have the time to get what’s in my head out onto paper. I feel like I’ve been able to lift a weight off my shoulders. Sometimes I can see things so much clearer when they are right there in front of my face. Last night I wrote for two hours straight, whatever came into my head. Five pages later, I had answered questions that I had been struggling with for the last month. Over the week my skin has cleared up and I’ve stopped itching. It’s amazing what stress and in turn relaxing can do to your body.
So, back to today being Thanksgiving. I believe in being grateful for things in my life every day, but I struggle to slow down enough to recognize them sometimes. So in the tradition, and since I didn’t have to sit around anyone’s table and do this, here is what I’m thankful for.
The classic: I’m thankful for all my family. Special shout out to my mom, who is not only the most amazing mom I know, she’s also my best friend. She has kept me going when I didn’t know how to myself. My brother who has every year taught me a little more about myself. He reminds me not to take things so seriously and to go with the flow. He has been my rock when I’ve needed him most. I’m so grateful to have him in my life. My cousin, Nicole has been far, far away the last few months. We haven’t been able to communicate like we normally do, but the emails and letters and time we’ve spent talking together is invaluable. I talked to her tonight and it was seriously the highlight of my day. She always makes me laugh.
To my friends, especially Brooke, Jenna and Andy, your emails, phone calls and texts are sometimes what keep me going through my day. I don’t think I realized until these last few weeks how wonderful it is to know that someone is thinking of you, when you feel like you have no one around at all. All my other friends have been wonderful too. They are there when I need to talk or don’t. They have rallied around me when I’ve been sick and have supported me when I’ve been down. I’m so thankful to have people in my life like that.
Now on to the not-so-classic list. I’m thankful for my bed. We all know how much I like to nap, but napping aside; I’ve always felt like my bed is my safe place to land. I’ve mourned deaths in that bed, I’ve cried over relationships in that bed, I’ve talked about great life plans in that bed. I’ve read great novels and listened to amazing music in that bed. There are some days there is no place I’d rather be.
I’m thankful for my pets. My Luxie, though she was a terrible, terrible puppy, has turned into one of the sweetest dogs I know, and I’m not just saying that because I’m her mom. She is the perfect mix of chill and playful. She is always happy to see me when I get home, she doesn’t hold a grudge and she is the one thing in my life that I know will never let me down. I love her so much. My piggy, Bono though he is a recent addition, has been so awesome. I love his little face and how he squeaks good morning to me every day. I love that he destroys carrots like Gallagher to a watermelon. I love how he cuddles right up onto my lap when I watch tv. I love my Mr. Pig.
I’m thankful for my Kindle. I’ve had my kindle for a couple years now, and it has totally changed the way I read. I was one of the hold outs at first. I truly enjoy holding a book in my hands and smelling the pages. I love wandering through Barnes and Noble on a Sunday afternoon. The convenience of my Kindle though, is irreplaceable. I love that it has further fostered my love of reading.
I’m thankful for music. Some of my best memories involve music. Either a song was playing in the background or I was watching a live band, but somehow music always brings me back to a place in time. I love the stories people tell through their music. It’s like getting to see a little piece of their life, make an imprint on mine.
I'm thankful for my therapist. Yep, I see a therpist, I'm not ashamed in fact I truly believe everyone should see one. She helped me out of a terrible depression when I was diagnosed with MS and when my husband left, and again when my dad passed away, but most importantly, she has helped me to see the strong, confident, worthy woman I didn't know I had inside of me. This year was one of the first times I felt like I was able to apply what I've learned about myself to my real life. I have stood up for myself in situations I normally would have shied away from. I found my voice and I'm finally learning how to use it.
Finally, though this probably sounds totally cheesy, I’m thankful for my freedom and for those that fight to keep it that way. I am fortunate to live in a nation where I can protest against things I think are wrong and I can vote to support things that I believe are right. I can say what I like to who I like whenever I’d like. I can travel safely through my city. I can sleep without fear of military arsenal exploding down my street. I can pray or not pray to whomever I’d like and I can detest whomever I’d like. We’ve got it pretty good here. Despite high gas prices and high unemployment rates, we still have our basic rights and I think we all forget too often that our rights, are not afforded to others around the world. I cannot fathom living in a country where I had to speak in whispers about the government or worry about food rations. So I am thankful for the freedom that has been provided to me and is kept sacred by countless men and women in the military. Sacrificing their lives knowing the effect it may have on their own families and friends, for our freedoms, that is something to truly be thankful for.