About once a week, I remind myself that I didn’t choose to grow up in small-town Iowa, I didn’t choose to be raised in the middle class, I didn’t choose my skin color and I didn’t choose to be female. It fell into place that way, for whatever reason. And because of those those simple (yet life-altering) facts, many doors have been opened to me. I didn’t choose for those doors to open, I just walked through them effortlessly.
While this certainly frustrates me for many reasons, I can leverage the “blessings” of being an educated lady living in the midwest to empower and enrich others’ lives in big and small ways. I can’t imagine a life where I work hard to gain money just to buy a Range Rover (which yes, it’s a dream car) and send a check at the end of the year so my tax return is greater.
I am wired to care, to be compassionate. When I see something that’s wrong, I want to fix it. I don’t always know how, but I want people to stop hurting, to value themselves, to know what love is. Honestly, I sat through a basketball game today and wondered if the little boy on the bench was sad because he wasn’t able to play as much as his other teammates. I can’t stop these thoughts.
It’s November, the month of Thanksgiving. A time where I have an “excuse” to sit down and be thankful. And I should be so damn grateful for everything. Instead, I fixate on things that are broken: relationships that have gone sour, friends I’ve lost touch with, work I can’t seem to finish, lists I can’t complete. You get the picture. Instead of watching the basketball game and appreciating a fun, innocent game of fourth-grade b-ball, I found something that I wanted to fix. This little boy and his little heart and his little ego.
Honestly, I’m a happy-go-lucky kind of girl. I’m almost always singing something upbeat and if I’m not, I’m probably telling you “breaking Emily news” that typically amounts to eating an extraordinary meal from the new vegan restaurant (“OMG have you tried it?!”) or talking about the show I’m currently into (“If you haven’t watched Scandal you need to go home and do nothing else until you are caught up.”). But when I’m alone with my thoughts, I’m not as grateful of a person that I can be. And should be. And I know I’m not alone, but just typing this out is refreshing for me because in a way, it just allowed me to open up a mental door to kick out all these nasty, stupid, waste-of-time thoughts and fill up with some gratitudes.
I’m grateful that I was born into this day and this time and this generation so I can leave a legacy. I’m grateful for friends and family who also realize that they didn’t choose where they started in life but they know where they want to end. I’m grateful for people who realize I’m a scatter-minded girl with loads of randomness and inconsistency, but still want to hang out even though I rarely text them back. I am thankful for the little things that make me smile every single day like, well, my cat in a bow tie (insert only photo in blog post).
I’m thankful that I freaking care even when sometimes I just don’t want to. I’m grateful that humankind is mostly made up of really great people who have hobbies and interests that add value to other peoples’ lives. I’m thankful for money, for having it so I can give it and spend it on tasty meals and cute scarves. I’m thankful for glitter and sparkles and heels and all things girly.
In this moment, I simply want to choose gratitude. And I want to continue choosing it. Over and over again. Because I didn’t choose my beginning, my life in Pella, my (awesome and remarkable) parents, but I’m choosing life here and now. And the people I spend time with and the job I pursue and the extracurriculars I want to invest my money and little spare time in. What are you grateful for?