My husband – He must be an angel. I know of no other person (and I have met thousands of people) that has the patience and calm that he does. His quiet, strong presence is like a drug to me, I instantly feel relaxed and release all tension in his arms. How did I get so lucky, I don’t know. But every single day I am grateful that he exists and that I’m lucky enough to have him in my life.
My daughter – She is fascinating and hilarious. She is creative and exuberant, and her unquenchable desire to understand the world around her amazes me. Even though I am tired all the time, and sometimes can’t fully appreciate her boundless energy, I am glad it exists. Her fearless expressiveness means we are doing something right.
My home – Even though we’re only renting this beautiful house, I’m really glad we’re there. When we were first looking for a place to rent, we saw many different properties. When we saw this one, I fell in love. It was bigger than we needed, and more expensive than the rest, but my husband saw how much I loved it, and so chose it. Every day, looking at the pieces of the house that I love, reminds me how much my husband loves me.
My car – They say you can’t live in Orange County without a car. But hundreds do, I see them at the bus stops, and I say a silent prayer of thanks that as young as I am, I have my own transportation. My car equals freedom, the ability to go where I want when I want. And I am so grateful for it each and every day. Sometimes I feel guilt, why should I have a car, but someone’s grandmother, sitting at that bus stop with lots of bags, does not. I don’t understand the distribution of things in this world. But I am grateful for what I have.
Health insurance – I have seen so many doctors over the years, I have lost count. My PPO lets me go anywhere I want without a referral, and believe me I take advantage of that. Anytime I have any medical issue, I locate a specialist. I don’t waste time (and money) anymore speaking to doctors who are generalists. They’re just going to refer me anyway. I find out who’s the best and make my appointment. Even with health insurance, my medical bills are high. But without it I could not afford any medical help. So I am so very thankful for health insurance (even as frustrating as they can be a lot of the time).
My messed-up childhood – Despite all the suffering I have experienced, despite the after-effects all the trauma continues to have in my life, without my childhood being exactly as it was, I wouldn’t be who I am. It sounds cliche, but the strength I have garnered, the insight I wield, is incredibly valuable. No one wants to suffer, I certainly don’t. But the past is the past, it’s over and unchangeable. I can’t fix it or alter it. So instead I am thankful for it. It makes me interesting. It makes for great stories. And it connects me to a real and powerful part of every human being I get to know. Because no one is exempt from suffering. Every single one of us has that hole in the center of our being. Many people ignore it, fill their days with so much stuff and things to keep from paying attention. But some of us are experts in pain. And I think when someone meets me, they can sense that I understand, and we can connect on a deeper level than the usual fluffy shallowness.
My friends – More than anything else in my life, I am so very thankful for my friends. I am the luckiest person on this planet, because I have friends that love me unconditionally, in many different facades and angsty melodrama renditions, through the ugly and the dark, and back again. They’ve dispersed all over the world – Colorado, Utah, Chicago, DC, Hawaii, Washington, NoCal, SD, Florida, France, Israel – but even as far away geographically as they are, they are right here in my heart. Some of you I have known since elementary school, some of you I have just recently met. Some I haven’t talked to in a while, yet I know, if I reached out, they would grab a hold of my hand. Just knowing that’s there, is everything. When I am sitting in my black pit of tar, when the entire world has gone gray, when I ask myself “what’s the point?” and don’t have a good answer – if I just think about how much my friends love me, as is, it is a pulsating lifeline back to the light. I may feel alone, but I’m not. I’m never alone as long as these truly amazing friends exist. I am the luckiest person on this planet, because I have the most awesome, the most compassionate, the most brilliant group of friends ever. I love you all. You are my life saver, my lighthouse, my everything.