“The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.”
Henry Ward Beecher
This year it feels like I have too many things to be thankful for. It probably feels that way because of how much I was struggling before this year, and even in the first half of it. I was depressed and used to be completely convinced that three things would make me happy again – going back to school for a Master’s degree, getting a new job, and having a boyfriend. Well, almost exactly a year ago, I got a new job as a server. A year ago, I had a relationship that lasted five months. And earlier this year, I applied for a Master’s in counseling and got rejected. As of five months ago, I’ve been happier than I’ve been in a long time, and it has nothing to do with the above mentioned three things. I am so happy and I feel so blessed. This year, I am most thankful for God and all He has done for me.
In no particular order, here are all the things I’m thankful to God for:
- The brand new car my mom bought me: It’s red, of course, and I love it. I have termed it my road trip car/my 20’s transition into adulthood car.
- Old Man Ray: My mom is the caretaker of an old man who had an entire house to himself and was very lonely. When I left my uncle’s over a year ago, I went to stay with Ray, who had an extra room. I’d like to say I helped my mom take care of him, but she did most of the work. I mostly just kept him company. I am eternally grateful for the man who opened up his home to me for a year, who never made me feel judged or unwelcome, and who has treated me as part of his family.
- Every person who offered me a place to stay: Last summer, I felt like I didn’t have a home anymore. Though I’m grateful for Ray letting me stay with him, I hardly knew him and didn’t particularly desire to live with him. Of course, both my parents wanted me to live with them, but for reasons I chose not to. I’m also not short in supply of all the friends who said I’d be welcome to stay with them, too. Even halfway through this year, when I chose to leave Ray’s, I had so many offers for where I could stay.
- My apartment: For all the offers that I’ve had, and for as much as I have moved around, I am so thankful that I now rent my own place (with a roommate). Getting my own place was a big pain, and I wanted to strangle my now roommate many times in the process. But since June of this year when I moved in, I’ve been happier than I’ve been in years. I have freedom, and a place to spread out.
- The boxes that are unpacked: One of the things I am most grateful about moving in to my own place is finally unpacking the stupid boxes! After leaving my uncle’s, I lived out of boxes. For the first two weeks that I moved in to Ray’s, I didn’t even want to unpack my clothes. I had no intention of staying at Ray’s for very long. It was his home, not mine, though he made me feel incredibly welcome. My stuff stayed in boxes for one full year, and it was frustrating and sad to live from them. The thought of everything I had once had up on walls or around my room staying stuck in a box just depressed me. When I moved into my apartment, I took so much happiness in counting each box that I unpacked.
- Not being stuck anymore: When I had wanted a boyfriend, school, and a new job to make me happy again, what I really wanted was to not feel stuck anymore. I hate that feeling. It was the worst part of being depressed – feeling like no matter what I did or how hard I tried, I couldn’t move forward with my life. I may not be moving at lightning speed right now, but I don’t feel stuck anymore. Surprisingly, breaking up with my ex-boyfriend at the beginning of this year was what helped me the most. Knowing that I could leave an unhealthy situation, move on with my life, and not need a guy to make me happy was what completely brought me out of my depression. Of course, a new car and apartment helped too. After being rejected from school, I’ve since learned and accepted that I’ll move forward at my own pace. I’m happy in my job, but periodically look into better ones. I don’t need school to be happy, but I’ve also begun the process of applying for grad school again, this time going after what I really want, which is an MFA in creative writing. I’ve also taken a long break from dating, and found that for right now, I’m much happier alone than I can be with someone else.
- Little things: Of course, amidst all the big new changes in my life this past year, there are also plenty of things I’ve always been thankful for. I’m thankful for being able to coach color guard and working with wonderful students. I’m thankful that I was offered a new position and I’ll be teaching an afterschool blogging course starting in January. I’m thankful for my writing buddy who has kept her standing appointment with my every Wednesday night. I’m thankful for the bookclub that keeps meeting, though it has gotten smaller. I’m thankful that I still write, and still work on my novel (which makes progress slowly, but progress is still being made!). I’m thankful for every person who has supported me and still helps me to keep moving forward.
Though, I’d like to take credit for a lot of the amazing things that have happened this year, I can’t. I prayed to God for a long time to give me stability, give me a home, give me freedom, and help me not feel stuck anymore. He has answered my prayers, and I know He’s not done answering them. He placed special people in my life, such as Ray, to help me along. He gave me amazing parents who have helped me in a million and one ways, from their constant support, to their belief in me, to their unconditional love. He also gave me a roommate who drives me crazy, but who I’m thankful for nonetheless (mostly because I get to pick on her all the time).
All I could ask now is that God bless all those who have loved and supported me the same way He has blessed me.