Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A non-exhaustive list of things for which I am infinitely grateful

First, a moment of silence and love for all of you who, through distance or circumstances or loss, are unable to celebrate Thanksgiving in the way that you want or with the people that you love. Infinity of hugs to you. 

My friends: I hope you know that you don't have to do something just because it has always been done. Because I want to is enough reason to do anything. Because I don't want to is enough reason not to do something. You don't have to make all the foods or buy all the things or see all the people if those things fill you with dread instead of joy. This day, and all the days, may your minds be open to wonder and curiosity, may your stomachs be full of all the delicious nutrients and may your hearts be bursting with love and gratitude. 

And now a non-exhaustive list of things for which I am infinitely grateful:

* Clean water. Clean air. Shelter. Food. Healthcare. Education. Human rights. Hugs. Everyone should get to have these things. Every single human everywhere. 

* Wild spaces. Mountains to climb, canyons to explore, trails to roam. Some parts of the earth and of ourselves should always be left wild.  

* Books, blogs, music, movies, TV, art. For making me laugh and cry and better able to understand the full range of human experience. 

* Financial independence. I don't owe any money to anyone for anything. That is a freedom and a luxury I don't take for granted. 

* My parents, who loved me for the weird, independent, adventurous kid I was, who nurtured my love of reading and running and writing and who taught me that I could be anything I wanted to be (but that of all the things a person can be, the most important of those is kind). When I was a baby I would habitually climb out of my crib and throw myself on the floor (Why? WTF who does this? I cannot explain this other than to say that it is just so very me). My parents were probably worried or scared I was going to get hurt or maybe they were just like what kind of weirdo child do we have, always trying to skydive without a parachute? The best part of this story is that my parents put pillows all around my crib. They never stopped me from climbing, they just gave me a soft place to land. And that is love: the freedom to adventure and explore and be yourself, knowing you always have a soft place to land, a home where people love you no matter what. (I won't get to spend Thanksgiving or any holiday or any day with my dad ever again, but so much of who I am is because of him that it feels like he is always here in some way, every time I laugh or run or save money or say "you gotta be freaking kidding me." One Thanksgiving when I was little, Dad and I wrote a story called The Turkey That Got Away about a turkey who hid under the hunters' tents to avoid being killed for Thanksgiving dinner. And every year I hope that somewhere out there some turkeys got away). 

* My friends. I have met so many amazing people in my 37 years of life. People who opened their doors and their arms and their hearts to me. People who were there for the joy and the sorrows, the failures and triumphs, the beauty and the pain that is life. Genuine human connection is, hands down, the very best part of being alive (sorry, cookies). And my life has been filled with it, thanks to you. 

* Dogs. This requires no explanation. Dogs are the actual best. 

* Husband Man. More than anyone else, Pete has seen me, all of me, all the ridiculousness and sass and motion and feels and fierce independence (at times detrimentally fierce) that I am. I am a lot. I know I am. For some people it is too much. But I have never had to make myself smaller in any way in my relationship with Pete. I have been my whole bigger-on-the-inside self from day 1, I have pushed and challenged us to be better people and partners, and 1173 days and 2 giraffes later, he's still here. He always says he loves everything about me, and maybe one day I'll believe that could be true. All I know is Pete is my home, my soft, funny place to land. (By soft, I mean strong, Honey. So big!)  

Lyric of the moment: "Thank you, friends. Wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you. I'm so grateful for all the things you helped me do..." ~Big Star "Thank You Friends"

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