It is that season for we Americans: a time to look back at the past year, and count our blessings.
Thanksgiving has come to mean different things then while I was growing up - the focus is no longer on what has gone right, but what wrongs were (and, in some cases continue to be) done. I try and focus on what I can do to minimize the wrong, and accept that the past has happened. And then the fun begins - finding all the things to be thankful for!
Things have been rocky, at points this year, I'm still unemployed for money, and have had some serious personal issues arise and be dealt with. But, all in all, I think the bad is outweighed by the good.
This has been a year of changes: not only have I given up on trying to go back to the way things used to be, I have moved forward - supported, encouraged, and occasionally pulled - into a future that I just now am starting to feel I deserve. I still am not all the way there, yet, but strides have been made. A lot of it has been a re-found need to give back, and offer the encouragement and support I have been given.
--timer goes off to start the next stage of the night time meal...
But where to start?
There are so many people, and places, and areas that I have to be thankful for, so I guess that I'll start at the widest section, and work inward. Since many are shy, or for other reason I don't wish to state, this will be a list of nameless "someones" - may it inspire you to find those in your world that fit these areas.
To all of those, world wide who take the time to smile and laugh, even in the face of bad times - this includes all those that work jobs that are mostly thankless, or less-than-stimulating.: Thank you - you are the ones that help make the world better.
Those that work to support families, or even just themselves - you are appreciated. May the example you set not only inspire others, but lift you to a better place.
I have had - to a great regret - to give up on some of my former family, acquaintances and friends who no longer speak to me, or I have lost contact with. You are still in my thoughts, and I still wish good things for you.
-- eep! chicken getting too crisp!
There are folks who I don't speak to, or didn't - and you still have been there for me. I am ashamed of my behavior, and promise to make time to enjoy your company again.
So many people have shared their struggles, and their successes - thank you for pointing out there is a way forward, and letting me see I'm not alone.
Certain online groups have become even more dear to me in the past year - and a few new ones added. Your creativity and knowledge continue to astound me, and the warm feeling I get from participating in the events and activities -and the learning! - is a thing I treasure.
To my sorrow, some of those special to me have been in a bad spot this year - I will be thinking good things, and helping in any way I can. And to those that have simply been 'stuck' and still continue to persevere - you are an inspiration. I know I don't tell any of you that enough.
There are a few that have worn on my nerves, or discussed things that upset me, and I retreated. I'm proud of you for expressing yourselves. And most of you have been understanding enough to allow me to retreat, or even not speak on these topics: to my sorrow, it seems that this is never a two-way street.
To the many more that have let me smile, or provided answers (or guidance to them), or forced someone out of a mindset that wasn't going to let them move forward - even if that someone was me - there are not enough words, or hugs, or anything else to show how thankful I am. I can have a bad day, and see one of you assist someone else, and it's often enough to turn my outlook around.
-- Szechuan chicken: smells good!
A few treasured ones have let me into a section of their lives, sharing with me stories, pictures, videos, and in a few cases pictures of the ones in their lives (mostly four-footed). Not one of you has held back on the challenges you face. Nor on the fact that you are human, but that has not stopped you from being the most inspiring, uplifting and all-around inspirational people. I'm humbled to be in your company, and hope to make you proud.
-- no, I'm not tearing up! Okay, I am. . .
And now the one I never anticipated writing- I'm thankful for me. I have proven that I can do things, even with the odds technically against me. I am a better person, with all of you, but I could have chosen not to. And that makes me proud.