Of all the fun internet lists I see people make on social media sites, listing things they’re thankful for is the one I’m most thankful for – see what I did there? I’ve so enjoyed reading about the little and big things in people’s lives that they know they’re blessed to have. Practicing being thankful can only bring peace and joy into life. So, as I wait for the Macy’s Day parade to begin and while I put off making the dishes I finally have all of the ingredients for – I present just 30 of the things I’m thankful for this year.
1. My family - I’m feeling closer than ever with my family, not just because I live close too.
2. My impending new family – One of the best parts about getting engaged means my definition of family is growing and I don’t even have to give birth! Seriously though, it’s amazing that a group of people I feel so comfortable and peaceful around will be “officially” my family before I know it!
3. My career - I am so fortunate to work in an industry I love, for an organization I share values with, and with people who challenge and support me.
4. Going to school - Despite the time, I am grateful for the opportunity to earn an advanced degree. I’m thankful I have the resources like time, ability to finance, and brain power to do so.
5. My shelter - The size of our condo has taught me what’s important in life, it’s not material possessions or walk-in closets but rather somewhere to find refuge.
6. Our new bathroom - As I type my fiance is finishing up the final touches of paint. I’m thankful for our ability to transform the spaces in our place.
7. The lessons of renovating - I’ve learned construction will never go exactly how you’d like it to but it will work out in the end. Our vision of a modern, staunch, grey and white bathroom, has evolved into a soothing sand and blue oasis.
8. My friends - Let this just be a general nod to everyone who puts up with me, a big thanks to the people who listen to me, who I listen to, and who put a smile on my face this year.
9. My fitness- This is a BIG year for me if only just because I ran my first half marathon.
10. My fitness role models - The distance I’ve gone this year is only because of the people whose blogs I read, who answer my awkward questions, who run with me, and who invite me to races; thank you.
11. Brussels sprouts - I didn’t know I loved them until this past year and I’m so thankful for them!
12. Cheese making- Some people make beer, wine, or bread…Boyface and I have started making cheese. He’s invariably better at it then I am but I appreciate the patience it is teaching me.
13. My 25th birthday - Though I did not have a big, lavish party, I had quite a few special celebrations for my birthday – including a very memorable cookout lunch with my sister – who surprised me with cake and martinis with some new, wonderful friends at chocolate bar.
14. Skiing - Last year was the first time I had great snow out west and the fresh powder on the back bowls of Vail is something I will never forget. It’s not often I breathe air that clean or get such a rush whipping in, out, and around trees.
15. Letter writing - Nothing makes me happier than receiving mail and also the feeling I get when I drop a letter in the mail. I’m thankful for the thought and time that goes into the cards and letters I’ve received this year.
16. Weddings - I’m thankful for the weddings I attended this year. I’m beyond thankful to be special enough to people to be considered to come celebrate with them such a momentous occasion in their lives. Each wedding was gorgeous and fun. These are also the last weddings I will ever attend without thinking about how I’m planning mine, or how mine went.
17. Louis - Boyface and I officially welcomed the first new member into our family, a blue, cranky beta name Louis…after Louis CK. He may not be as cuddly as a dog or cat but he does swim up to the glass to see you. I’m thankful for how low-maintenance he is and I’m thankful for the people who have watched him when we’ve traveled!
18. The books I’ve read - My Kindle is a blessing. I’m so grateful to the books I’ve read this year, for the escape and for the wisdom. In the era of chick-biographies that I’m in, I’m thankful for Caitlin Moran and Sarah Colonna and most recently, Julie Klausner.
19. Meeting Sarah Colonna - I’m thankful for the sweet seats my Partner in Crime got us for the comedy show, for the fact we got made fun of…a lot, and for the hug I initiated with her when I got to meet her after a couple of drinks. Sorry, not sorry.
20. Water - Promise this isn’t a cop out. I’m thankful for the new appreciation for water. I’m thankful for the way it makes me feel, my skin look, and how when I think I’m hungry, I have a glass of water, it turns out I was just dehydrated.
21. Booze - I’m thankful for my wine palate, my newfound love of gin & sodas, and having a cold one while tailgating for the Browns.
22. My writing - I’m grateful to have an outlet. At times I keep it to myself and my writing is merely therapeutic, helping me to work out what I’m really upset or frustrated about. Other times, my writing goes out to the world and hopefully someone can relate to it or it makes someone else, or helps someone who cares about me keep up with my madness.
23. People moving to Cleveland/Lakewood - I love having the opportunity to be an advocate for Cleveland. As one of those young professionals who ended up here and was unsure about whether it would be the right fit, I can confidently say, I’m just as happy, if not happier than I would be anywhere else.
24. The social media community - I’m blessed for the opportunities social media allows me to participate in, from Great Lakes Theater plays to tweet-ups, I only meet enthusiastic, fun, and inspiring people.
25. Homecoming at Marietta - Despite how old I felt, I am thankful for the trip I took to my alma mater. I love the youngins keeping traditions alive in my family and I enjoyed time with professors who taught me about more than just marketing or finance.
26. Getting engaged! - I’m beyond thankful, blessed, ecstatic that the love of my life popped the question. I will never forget the moment I turned around after hearing him call my name and seeing him on one knee. It was more beautiful and surprising than I ever could have imagined. There are totally no tears on my face right now as I recollect this and realize we’re out of tissues. None.
27. Legalizing gay marriage - I still can’t even believe this is a question or not but I’m thankful for the open-mindedness of others and our ability to care less about what others are doing when it doesn’t affect our lives. I believe in marriage equality and I’m grateful to see progress being made.
28. Hope - I’m thankful for all of the hope in world. It pains me to read the news on most days but even in the darkest of events and days, there is hope. I’m never astonished but always humbled to see acts of kindness taking place and the opportunities to perform them myself.
29. Our garden - this was our second year with a garden and it was even better than last year. I’m thankful for the ability to create (some of) my own sustenance and to be able to inadvertently feed the bunny population near our condo.
30. Community service - I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve been granted over the year to be a part of something bigger than I am. Helping to coordinate my organization’s Make-A-Wish campaign is an honor and I believe in the mission of the philanthropy and so many other nonprofits in and out of Cleveland. The chance to give the gift of giving is one I treasure and will continue to be thankful for throughout the years.