I don’t like to write pieces about being thankful. I think they are cliché, overdone, overproduced, clickbait. I’ll write about being thankful if a prompt is sent my way, but it is the last title in my mind that I think of.
But here I am, writing one, by my own free willingness to.
This year I have discovered that immense pain can sometimes bring immense joy, learning, and change that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred if the decisions that led to the pain weren’t made. There is no way to predict how our decisions will affect the outcomes of our lives, but I have learned that it is better to reflect than to regret.
I am thankful for new jobs, new businesses, and a change of career. I’ve left jobs, I’ve started jobs, and I’ve started businesses. It is easy to forget that nothing is permanent, that jobs can change in an instant, and that I must always be challenging myself. Settling is not happiness, and I’m thankful that I’ve become comfortable with uncertainty. I’m thankful for the ability to start a business, to make an attempt to create jobs and an impact in the world, and even if it fails, I’m thankful I had the willingness to try.
I am thankful for new relationships. My relationships taught me that at the right time, there are people who will love you when you may not be ready and that is when you will be most ready. I have learned that telling someone you love them one thousand times a day because they make you a better, more stable human even when the rest of your life is shattering is difficult and frightening but worth it. Because nothing compares to loving someone who equally loves you as much as you love them.
I am thankful for the friends that stayed with me this year. Being friends is ever-changing, as people move and people change themselves. To stay friends with others is an accomplishment, because it takes effort, patience, willingness to connect your life with another, especially when rocks are thrown and keeping afloat becomes strenuous. I am thankful for those that have battled for me through figurative wars, who have been dedicated to helping with my growth as much as their own growth, and for cared for me even when I was not a person to care for.
I am thankful for the friends I lost. I have learned that I will discover the true nature of people in the most burdensome of times, and I am thankful for those who weren’t willing to stay instead chose to leave. It is hard to see space for new things if I am unwilling to let things go. I’m thankful for learning to let go this year, even if that means letting go of those I once believed were the right influence to have in my life. Life is learning to surround yourself with people who think like you, and I’m thankful for those that chose not to think the way I did.
I am thankful for living somewhere new. I left a hometown for a place that was freely, randomly chosen so I could start anew. I’ve learned that it is impossible to start fresh in the same place that tarnished my heart. I am thankful for spending days discovering, exploring, connecting with new surroundings. I am thankful for finding a new home, for finding somewhere that I feel like I finally belong.
I am thankful joy. Finding joy in new places, new people, new challenges. For finding joy in the little things, for rediscovering life and for realizing it is alright if life moves slower than planned. There is no cost to joy, but there is a mental effort everyday to find joy, and I’m thankful that I have learned to embellish this.
I am thankful for pain. I am thankful for the moments that broke me apart, that destroyed my body and my skin, that fractured my relationships with others, that brought me to depression, that made me question everything and everyone in my life because after the hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes past, only the pieces were left were the ones that mattered most. I would not have seen this without the pain of the earth falling beneath me, and I’m thankful for surviving the storm.
I am thankful to be alive because if you asked me 10 years ago what I would be thankful for on this day, I would have said that day ceased to exist.
But each new day is something to be excited for, alive for, and every day, I remind myself to be thankful for being present to give thanks.