(Believe it or not, 4-year-olds grasp the concept of Thanksgiving very easily if we simply substitute “thankful” for “likes a lot”. Of course, coming from Ryder, one can expect cars, vacuums and gummy bears to be on that list.)
I decided that I too wanted to make a list of the things I am thankful for; but let’s be honest, you can likely guess the contents: my beautiful boys, my wonderful extended family, health, happiness… yes, it’s all terribly predictable.
And so I began thinking about the little things I’m thankful for. You know, the small stuff that in the end, somehow made a huge difference. Sometimes I laughed; often, I cried; but for the most part, I am thankful.
I am thankful that I was never a conventionally pretty or popular girl. Being ignored for most of my high school life was likely the greatest gift ever. For when other 15-year-old girls simply had to toss their hair or flirtatiously giggle, I had to be funny, witty and interesting. Yes, I was the forgettable girl with the great personality – the one the boys didn’t want to be set up with. At the time, I spent countless nights wondering how I could make myself more popular, more trendy and definitely more pretty. But in the end, the fact that I had to depend on my wit and charm – not my looks – allowed me to develop my inner beauty. Later, when I finally blossomed, not only was I a looker – I was charismatic and likable, too.
A Charitable Cause.
I am thankful for my first boyfriend. He was a cute, popular boy and for some reason, decided to pluck me out of social obscurity. One day, huddled behind the high school portables, he asked me to be his girlfriend. I thought I’d combust with happiness! We ended up “dating” for 2 months – a lifetime when you’re 16 years old. To this day, I still don’t know if I was a “She’s All That”-esque charitable cause (certainly no on else could figure out the attraction – not even my friends!) but I’ll forever be thankful that he spent a small portion of his life making me feel so special. The confidence that ensued helped me keep my head held high when other boys rejected me (sadly, my social life did not pick up after that brief stint – see Inner Beauty).
I am thankful for books. For the scores of authors who have taken me on adventures, journeys of self-awareness and have tugged at my heart with tales of love and betrayal. Books that have been my companion on rainy afternoons, long Go-Train rides and certainly during the wee hours of morning when I should have been sleeping but was too engrossed in the story to let go. I think about the weekend when I read the entire Twilight trilogy and did nothing else, and smile. I think about the authors who take the time to tell their story – dedicating years, or decades, to the cause – knowing that they may face rejection at multiple intervals. I am in love with books.
A Broken Heart.
I am thankful for the man I almost married. I am thankful that he unceremoniously dumped me over the phone after promises of marriage and kids. Yes, I can laugh about it now! Because extreme heartbreak calls for extreme measures: I (gasp) joined an online dating service and met the man of my dreams. It’s easy to see with my hindsight goggles that I wouldn’t have been happy with my life had I pressed on. There wasn’t anything wrong with him, and there wasn’t anything wrong with me – but there was something wrong with us. I am thankful I accepted defeat rather than champion a lost cause.
The Sister I Never Had.
I am thankful for my best friend. There was a time when we talked alike, dressed alike and liked the same boy bands. And then we grew up, but we never grew apart. Today, she is more family than friend. I say this because I take her for granted; she is expected to listen to me whine about my often monotonous daily life. I cancel dinner dates because my child has an ear infection. I forget about her feelings from time to time, and always forget to bring her birthday card (I think I presented her 32nd birthday card to her at her 33rd birthday, or something atrocious like that). But she has the kindest heart and the most sincere spirit of anyone I’ve ever met, and I am grateful every day that she loves me anyways, as I love her.
I am thankful that no matter what happens in my life, and no matter where life may take me – I can fall to my knees in prayer and ask for the strength to persevere. Faith, beliefs and religious views are a very personal thing, and I don’t wish to quote the bible or impose my beliefs on anyone else. But at many points in my life, I’ve found solace in the fact that I can unload my troubles with the fervent hope that someone is listening.
Letter of Termination.
I am thankful that I quit my day job. Four years ago, I received a letter in the mail stating that my position as a Customer Satisfaction Specialist would no longer be available upon my return from maternity leave. Yes, I panicked. I had been groomed to take over the corporate world; since completing university, I hopped from one business environment to another, always with the intention of moving up. However, after contemplating my fate, I decided to throw caution to the wind and do what I always wanted to do – write stories. Today, writing stories is my job. And my job is awesome.
A Tall Glass of Haterade.
I am thankful for bullies. I am thankful for every rumour started, every whispered insinuation and all the hurtful gossip that surrounds women who have achieved a certain level of success. Blather on! Because while all that chitchat is happening in the background, I’m working. And I’m working my ass off, without a thought of compromising my integrity by involving myself in the drama. Enjoy your Haterade! I’m too busy counting my blessings – and my bank deposits.
I am thankful for my readers. At this very moment, you could be on any other website (I vote for Epicurious.com, if you must leave) and yet you choose to spend a moment in your day with me. Every time I hit “publish”, it is with the intent that someone will read my thoughts, views, or random rants. Thank you for your feedback, support, laughs and hugs (even virtual ones) – they reinforce my social media existence, and drive me to continue telling stories.
What are you thankful for? Happy Thanksgiving!