At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
— Albert Schweitzer
It’s easy to talk about Thanksgiving in abstract terms; this whole concept of being thankful should be simpler, but it’s easy for me to get ensnared in the day-to-day drama of living, picking up only the little issues and forgetting to step back, breathe deeply and just feel grateful.
First of all, I live in a free country — a place I can discuss anything like, befriend anyone I choose, love as I see fit and hold any job I desire. I’m free. In all the ways that matter, I’m free.
My loving, supportive family slings an arm around me anytime I’m down. My mom and dad have given me every opportunity to succeed, and the absolute last thing I’ll ever do is fail them. My sister is my best friend in the universe; I can’t wait to grow old with her at my arm, both of us laughing at ridiculous TV shows and running out to get Slurpees whenever we’ve had tough days. My grandparents, Maw Maw, aunts, uncles, cousins — everyone has a special place in my heart. I forget how lucky I am to have a happy, healthy family, but I want that to change.
I’m thankful for a sense of purpose — a tranquility that comes from knowing I have a job where I’m appreciated and validated. I love editing, design and my work for a newspaper, but know in my gut that I’m meant to write — and that passion guides me in everything I do. It reminds me not to take myself too seriously, and all the unpleasant stuff that happens? Yeah, it’ll all wind up in a novel someday. Everything that happens — annoying, awesome, frustrating, fantastic — is making me who I am . . . as a person and a novelist. So I can’t feel angry knowing all this nonsense? Great novel fodder.
And my friends! Whether we met in high school, college, at one of the various jobs I’ve held over the years or through the blogging community, I’m so grateful to share my life with such awesome people — and to share theirs, too. Once upon a time, I so feared being vulnerable to the point that I completely closed myself off, lying to myself by saying I was happier that way. Now more than ever, I see just how untrue that was . . . and am thankful to have learned how to be open to the possibilities of honest friendship. I can’t ever go back to how I was before!
Books make me feel grateful — the added experiences, the shift in perspective. A wonderful book can absolutely change your life, and I’ve found several this year that reminded me what it is to be human. Each one seems to find me at just the right time, just as in Sarah Addison Allen’s The Sugar Queen! There’s no better way for me to step outside myself than to grab a novel and settle in for change. It’s relaxing, invigorating, restorative — basically everything good in the world. Books are just awesome.
I’m thankful for music and the special place it has in my life; I’m thankful that my mother taught me to crochet as a kid, a hobby I love intensely! I’m thankful that I finally got my Etsy business up and running this year, and have so loved making scarves for orders this fall.
The travel I did this year was amazing — and completely put my life in perspective. I started out in London, found myself in North Carolina and recently traveled to California. A different lesson accompanied me on each vacation, and I’m definitely a different person for having gone. I’m thankful that I was brave enough to do what, a year ago, would have seemed totally crazy to me! And I’m very grateful for the friends who were with me on those journeys.
What else am I thankful for? Health. Food. Gainful employment. Love — both lost and found. Humor. Movies. Celebrity crushes. A beautiful sunset. Photography. This blog, and the book blogging community! And you, for sure, for reading this.