Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What I am Thankful For this Year

The thought of reciting what I am thankful for over dinner on Thanksgiving makes me want to gag. I know, I’ve got a cold heart. I just don’t care much for that kind of tradition on the holiday. I do understand and appreciate its purpose, though, so I thought I’d compile a list of what I am thankful for here, in my mini blogosphere.

I’ve written before about change and how it gives me anxiety but I am also amazed at how much change happens in a year. In the past 3-4 Thanksgivings, I have been in so many different places in life – literally, physically, and emotionally. It’s crazy when I think back to last Thanksgiving and then the year before and then the crazy heartbreaking one before that. How is it that so many life-changing events occur for me at this time every year? Oi vei!

I have learned a lot. A LOT. My heart was put through the ringer one year but then fluttering with excitement the next. How does life do that? WHAT IS THE MEANING OF IT ALL? We’ll never know.

That doesn’t matter, though. The why and how don’t mean a thing – it’s making sure we just appreciate what we have and being thankful for everything.

So without further ado, and in no particular order, here is my list of what I am thankful for. Though it may be cliché (friends, family, etc.), it truly is what I cherish and what I appreciate having every day!

My family
Everyone has one but everyone’s relationship and foundations are different. I think that’s pretty interesting. My family has evolved over the years. We’ve had our challenges thrown our way but the past few years have been pretty strong for my family. I feel like the past 3-4 years have been the best for us. There were a few years awhile back where things were rockier for some when things were easier for others and that caused some tension  – but that’s sort of what family is all about. It doesn't matter what is happening with everyone  – you always have that home base. I definitely do.

Look, me with straight and red hair, Emma, my father & mother, Tory, and Bubbie!

We don’t have strong bonds with our extended family so what you see in the picture above is what we care about – the five of us and our last living grandparent, my mother’s mother, my Bubbie. We have each other and that's all that matters.

At the center of that home base are my parents. I couldn’t have asked for better parents. My father, the man who has always been awake way before the sun to go to work (I'm talking 2 am, people) and has never (ever!) complained about being tired. My mother, who despite her battle with depression has always been a supportive, loving, and caring mother. We always had what we needed and wanted growing up and I am so thankful for that life.

Sometimes I wonder if I still rely on them too much as an adult (Cody is always asking why I have to ask my parents before making a decision) but I’ve discovered that it’s not that I am relying on them, I just like to have them included on big decisions I make or changes I decide to take on. I value their insight, their opinions, and their advice. We’ve always been involved in each other’s lives and that won’t change!

In Las Vegas in May '14!
Oh man, where to begin! Cody – my support, my heart, my encourager, my challenger. We had no idea what we were getting into back when we met on my first day of work at Oz Development (my first office job!). NO IDEA! It’s almost amusing to think of those first few months, when we claimed we were just having fun and weren't interested in anything serious. We worked together, after all. HA!

I look at us now and would love to go back to that night we walked around Union Station after our company holiday party. It was a strangely warm night and we were wandering around for no good reason beside not wanting to go home yet (me because he was hanging out with me, him because he's a night owl). My nerves were on fire because I knew I really liked him and I was hoping he’d take my hand or kiss me before the night ended.  It felt so juvenile, the way I felt, but I was eating it up because I hadn’t felt that way in far too long. Well, he didn’t kiss me or hold my hand that night, but to me, that was the night that started it all – the match to the flame.

Now, three years later, there is so much to come and so many things I am excited about. I love him so much and am thankful every day for the magic in the world that got me THAT job at THAT time in my life so that I could meet HIM on my first day and shake HIS hand. I always tell him that it was in that moment - when I looked up at him and he grinned that grin of his - I knew I was doomed!

My Friends
I’m not the kind of gal that has an endless supply of friends. In fact, I’ve always been more of a small circle kind of person. I keep a few close friends and am happy with that. Now, at 26, I feel like I’ve found a good, strong foundation of friends.

When I met my best friend, Red, in college, it was like finding our long lost twin. What are the odds of that? We just clicked and now, nearly 8 years later, I am so grateful we found each other. She was randomly assigned to be roommates with another college friend of mine. Though I scared her at first (she was so quiet and I was, well, NOT), we started to get to know each other. Then I asked if anyone ever called her Red, she said no, so I asked if I could and the rest is history. No one on campus ever really knew what her real name was (it’s Kaylyn, by the way)! It’s amazing when you find someone you consider your other half in the friend world. It’s like the world was working its magic and put you there for that purpose - fate, people! There’s literally nothing we hide from each other, nothing we feel weird discussing, and we go to each other for everything. I'm not kidding -  EVERYTHING.

But first, let's take a selfie

I also have what I call my Studio Girls. Some may recall that I used to work in a studio, Portrait Simple, when I graduated college. I learned SO MUCH there as a photographer but also met a great group of girls. We’re still close to this day (no one even works at the studio anymore!) and whenever we get the chance to meet up for dinner (usually the same spot every couple months – Margaritas in Natick, MA – ole!), we could close the place down. We just laugh and laugh. Now, one by one we’re all getting engaged and married and having kids and moving all over and it’s just crazy to see how we’re all growing and evolving – all while staying in each other’s lives as much as we can!

My Job at EMC

Though crazy at times, I really am grateful for my job at EMC. I owe it all to Jamie! I also met Jamie while working at Oz Development. When she left her position there, she came to EMC. Later that year, right when I was starting to feel like I needed a change, she called me and told me about an opening at EMC that she thought I'd be perfect fro. I went for it and got the job. I don’t know if I would have gotten it without her rooting me on. It was a big change to make – going from a small company to a huge corporation – but the team I landed on has been so fantastic. I seriously feel like I lucked out getting a position on the team that I did. It has been such a great experience!

I learn from each person I work with and have grown tremendously since I was hired almost a year and a half ago. What else can you ask for in a job? Sure, there are days where I am ready to throw my PC across the room or cyber slap someone when I am working on a challenging project, but for the most part, my time here has been very rewarding, insightful, and full of great opportunities. I went from being little meek Office Mom at Oz (that was what the guys called me. I was really the admin and then the sales & marketing assistant) to a full on Marketing Gal at EMC. I didn’t think I could do it but stuck it out and now, here I am, prepping to join the event’s team and start yet another chapter in my life. Bring it on!

Seriously some of the smartest ladies in marketing, right here! Cindy, Kate, Jamie, myself, and Paula!

Sigh. Lily (also referred to as Masimo). I had to say goodbye to my baby this summer. We got Lily as a kitten, a teeny tiny kitten, and she was such a wonderful pet growing up. I have to include her on this list. I am so thankful that we got to have her for 15 years. As I got through the hell that is high school, Lily and I got closer. I know, that sounds weird, but up until then she was our family pet and we all loved her.

Then, from high school on, the two of us kind of became best buddies. She slept with me at night, followed me around, and I confided in her when I was struggling. When you face constant teasing, bullying, and ridicule all day at school (yup, I lived that life), coming home to a little cat who has nothing but love for you feels so good. She was my best friend. When I finally got my own place after college, I took her with me. I’d come home from work and she’d be already at my apartment door, meowing away.  She was always so happy to see me.

Putting her down this past June was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. She was back home with my parents this past year (I brought her back to live with my parents since I was so busy and was hardly ever home to give her the attention she deserved) and I am glad she got to be with them when she started to get sick. They were such a comfort to her, I know. I didn’t think saying goodbye to an animal could possibly be as hard as saying goodbye to an actual person but she was a family member. We loved her so much. I miss her terribly but I am so glad I got to have 15 years with her, my little Masimo.  I like to joke that she is up in heaven with my grandfather, Zaydie. She loved when he was visiting and I’d like to think they’re sitting up there together, hanging out and watching over me.

Betty Rubble the Juke
Part of me thinks it’s a bit silly to include my car on this list but it’s one of those things we take for granted. It’s always there so we tend not to think much about it but I am so grateful to have a working, reliable, sturdy, new car to drive. I have been fortunate to always have a good car available to me when I needed it (well, after college. We never had our own car in high school!) but when I bought my Nissan Juke on my own a little over a year ago, it was such a satisfying thing. I got her brand new. She was a 2012 model and since it was June of 2013, they wanted to get rid of it and I got a great deal. Since then, she’s been my baby! Those who know me, know that, for some reason, I think my cars have thoughts and feelings and they really do become my babies. They might as well! They cost enough! I named her Betty Rubble and appreciate that I have her. There are a lot of less fortunate who can’t afford a car or if they can, it’s a hand me down or an old car that’s on its last legs and is constantly breaking down. I am so grateful that I am able to have my Juke.

Betty Rubble with a photo bomb by Clarence, my greek tortoise)
I could go on forever but this blog is already like a novel (sorry!) and I am sure you’ve all fallen asleep by now (if you have actually read this far!). I am grateful for so many things in my life and I think it’s important to step back sometimes, take a deep breath, and take it all in so you can see the good things around you. That way, when we have something bad happen, we still have those good things to get us through.