This is the first Thanksgiving living together for M and I, though it's not the first spent miles and miles away from family for either one of us.
We may be far from home and I have no interest in tackling a turkey for the fist time by myself this year, but the day is meant for gratitude.
Family. It took until I was in my mid-20s before I truly understood how wonderful my family is and how lucky I am to have them all. My parents continue to show me what love and a successful marriage look like as they celebrated 33 years together back in September. Little sister got married last year and is building her own life now. Now that we're into farming and things like that, her and I have a lot more to talk about and I hope I'll get to see her and her husband more this year. Littlest sister is still off sailing around the world. She left Cape Town, South Africa recently and I think is on her way to Australia. I'm awfully proud of her for taking on the challenge of learning to sail and then actually going on a sailboat across multiple oceans. Her boat is currently in second place in the Clipper Race. She once told me I had no sense of adventure for not wanting to row across the Atlantic with her and I took offense, as the sister who had already been to four continents by myself! But, after seeing the photos and reading the blog posts, she's right. I'd never really want to sail across the ocean.
I'm especially grateful that I still have all of my grandparents. One grandpa is nearing 90 and his lovely bride is turning 81 this weekend. I don't see any of them nearly enough and one my must-dos for the next year is to be better about calling them all regularly. After watching Walter: The Movie, I realized how incredibly lucky I am to have them all still in my life. They truly are gems.
We're getting serious about our food choices and exercise. I've started skating again which has motivated me to get in better shape. We're both doing Insanity now and I went for a run today. In the coming year, I vow to take better care of myself and we're committed to getting in shape and eating better, together. Really, we're healthy with access to good foods, medical care and all the things we need to take care of ourselves for long lives. It's more of a gift than a given in the world.
Home. We bought a house together this year and though I'm sometimes overwhelmed by how big a deal that is and all the work we have left to do in this house, I know how important a thing home ownership is and how lucky we are to be in a place in life that we had such an opportunity.
Work. I love my job and I'm so glad to be back in a newsroom. As crazy, stressful, frustrating, infuriating as it can be some days, I wouldn't trade it. I left journalism for a time and while I'm grateful for all the lessons learned from those other jobs and experiences, I belong in a newsroom. I'm nearing a year at this newspaper and that will be a record for me in the job department since I left my last newspaper job, where I was in Alabama for three years and three months. It's also how M and I met. After I left that paper and moved back to Virginia, I had three jobs in three years and freelanced for three months. Clearly, I'm meant for newspapers. Plus, I'm so lucky to meet wonderful people and be a part of a community in a way that few jobs allow.
Friends. I have an amazing network of friends who are all incredible in their own right. I am better because of them and they will always be huge parts of my life, even when we're far apart. Hometown friends, college friends, intern friends, first job friends, Alabama friends, DC friends, Montana friends, journalism friends, skating friends. I used to be careful to keep my circles of friends separate, but now, few things in life give me more pleasure than bringing friends together for laughs, memories and plain ole good fashioned togetherness. I'm also loving my new circle of blogger friends, a network that's been growing in amazing ways this year. They are inspiring, giving, supporting and encouraging even though we've never met in real life.
I have all I need and so much more. Because of that, on this day, and every day, I give thanks.
To each and every one of you, Happy Thanksgiving, I hope it is spent with people most dear to you, happiness, love, gratitude and hope that this holiday season and the coming year will be even more wonderful than the years we've already been so lucky to have.