Growing up, Thanksgiving was always one of my favourite holidays because it coincided with my birthday. Everyone would gather at my grandparents house. It wasn’t odd to have over twenty people amongst the brood at the table (read: tables). But after we lost my grandmother things changed for a while. Family dinners became smaller, quieter, and a somber mood hung over us as the anniversary of losing her approached. As much as I was always happy to be with my family, it wasn’t much of a holiday anymore.
A few years ago we made the decision to try and make a change. We did a big Thanksgiving dinner while I was home during my first year at university. Family had been visiting from the east coast and we invite all the usual guests from Thanksgivings of old. It had been the first time in eight years that things had felt normal again. Since then we have spent the holidays with our extended family and while nothing will ever replace the feeling of getting together at my grandparents house with my grandma there, this comes as close as it could possibly get.
This afternoon will be filled with family visits, laughter, and way too much food. But before I head off to a day stuffed with… well, stuffing, I wanted to take a moment to actually reflect on what I’m thankful for:
Two jobs I love
While I’ve made a pretty good hobby out of complaining about working two jobs, the only thing I really have to complain about is not being home a lot and having feet that constantly ache. In the grander scheme of things these are two tiny consequences of having two wonderful jobs that I actually enjoy.
I understand that most people thought I would give up my job with Haunted Walks once I found full time work. I honestly thought I would too. I’ve never been a night owl so working until 10 or 11 o’clock at night is quite draining and I wouldn’t choose to do so if I didn’t actually enjoy myself on these tours.
The tours are a creative outlet that I haven’t had in a long time and it really is fun to meet new people from around the world every tour. It’s challenging me to be more social and outgoing which is helping me in my ever day life too. When presented the opportunity to facilitate workshops to high school and elementary school students at my other job I didn’t hesitate to say yes because I’ve become more confident in my ability to engage a crowd.
Plus, what other opportunity am I going to have to wear a cape outside of Halloween?
As for my day job, I am so thankful to be surrounded by such an awesome and hardworking team. I’ve been in too many positions where people are just fine with doing the bare minimum and it’s driven me crazy. But my coworkers now are so dedicated and they work so hard. It truly makes me feel like I fit in. I haven’t felt this comfortable in a work environment in so long and I don’t think I’ve ever connected with a team so quickly. I get up every morning excited to go to work and see what the day brings. Sometimes that’s loads of paper work, and other days it’s a birthday party for a very special trauma dog.
Family who raises me up
If you look at my immediate family it’s very small but if you expand out to who I actually consider family I have quite the large web of people around me. While I don’t always get to spend as much time with them as I would like, every time I do get to see them all, I am reminded how lucky I am to have them. They are always in my corner. They get excited to hear about my successes and always make me feel good about what I’m doing.
I am especially lucky to have parents who support me in every zany adventure I go on. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to continue to travel with them, especially as I look forward to my first adventure to New York City with my mother. I could not be better supported or more loved. People always worry that only children will be lonely but I never felt that; I had two best friends with me the entire time.
A partner who stands by me
I’m pretty bad at writing sappy stuff when it comes to my relationship. I’m much better at talking about the food we ate or the weird adventure we went on (this weekend it was a giant lightsaber battle) but the sentimental stuff is usually something I don’t get into. But the fact of the matter is, I’m very lucky to have fallen in love with my partner. Things are not always easy, for either of us, but through it all I am thankful to have someone who supports me and has stuck with me through some dark times. He’s patient and understanding, he has stood by me through some very big ups and downs without judgement, and he reminds me to not be so uptight all the time. My life would be a lot less fun without him.
Friends old and new
I’m thankful for the new friends I have made through both of my jobs. I’m always so anxious about meeting new people but around each corner everyone has made me feel welcomed. I’m no longer the person eating lunch by herself in the corner, I’m no longer too anxious to go out to events with coworkers where I have to be outgoing and social. Each new person I’ve met in the past year has made things easy which is something new for me. Being without my core group of friends all the time has been like losing my anchor. I floated around aimlessly for a while but now it seems I’ve found my true north.
Still, that core group of friends is something I’m very thankful for, even though we’re not altogether anymore. It’s hard to make plans and to coordinate schedules but we still try. I’m grateful for every Skype date, every group message, and every unlikely get together. The girls I grew up with have become my sisters which is something I never knew I needed or wanted but my life would be so much duller without them.
Last but definitely not least, I’m thankful for this blog and I’m thankful for each and every one of you who reads it. It’s been over ten months since I’ve started this journey and while some days I struggle to keep up and write new content, for the most part I’m very lucky to be able to put my thoughts out there. Thanks for reading. Happy Thanksgiving!