Would it be too on-the-nose to write about what I'm thankful for on Thanksgiving? Maybe, but trite and cliche as it may be, this year is one for taking stock of the good things and clinging for dear life to that silver lining. I won't be the first to say "Thanksgiving looks different this year," but rather just another well-intentioned voice repeating those new 2020 adages as a way to cope. Because...it does look different this year.
As I write this, I find myself sat at the foot of my bed with no plans to see another soul in person. I've done some version of this Thanksgiving before--as a lifelong retail employee, anchored to the musts of a Black Friday shift, I've made dinner for one and scrolled Instagram seeing my cohort adorned in plaid, corduroy, and the arms of their loved ones. But this is not a sad blog post. This is not a "woe is me" diatribe. It's a public admission of gratitude. So get on with it, why dontcha???
I am thankful for sidewalks that connect my front door to waterfronts, bustling streets, farmers markets, and friends' houses. I'm thankful for dogs donning outerwear on their brisk evening walks and babies in puffer coats and fleece hats. I'm thankful for magnolia trees outside my kitchen window whose slick, shiny leaves remain bright emerald through the fall.
I am thankful for that charmed time of night when my cat will decide to sleep at the foot of my bed, popping up onto mattress and curling himself up right beside the bend of my knee. I am thankful for the mornings, when I am awoken by steady purrs. I am thankful for the way he chases after toys adorned with feathers with the kind of enthusiasm that leads me to believe we could all aspire to be a little more like our pets.
Thankful for friends who want to talk on the phone for an hour and listen earnestly. For friends who send little "I saw this and thought of you" text messages and will insist on not splitting the bill on occasion just because. Friends whose ambition makes me proud and who love unabashedly. Friends with their own nuances and hobbies and anxieties and hopes, who for some lucky reason chose to share this part of their lives with me.
I am thankful for voting. Controversial gratitude perhaps, but I'm thankful to live in a country that gives me the option to voice my opinion. Thankful for poll workers who try their best and (the few) politicians who actually care. I am thankful that despite his whining, the spray-tanned baby currently in the White House will need to find a new place to live come January.
I'm thankful for stationary bikes and spin instructors who string together perfect playlist like pearls on a string. Thankful I have found a form of exercise I not only don't actively hate, but look forward to. I'm thankful for my strong legs, strong heart, and strong women and men who ride beside me.
I am thankful for all the teachers I've had. Thankful for English teachers with kind eyes who saw something special in me, and accidental mentors who inspire me to be better. For books I was assigned to read in the twelfth grade that resonated with my weird little sensitive side.
I'm thankful for candles and wrapping paper and the color yellow and all the ways you can cook a potato. For gardenias and glitter and dresses that fit just right. For CD players and memory foam mattresses and the water you gulp down when you randomly wake up parched at two in the morning. For new friends and old souls. For the smell of newspaper and the sound of high heels on a linoleum floor. For setting boundaries and abandoning that which does not serve you. For television shows that feel like soup and a warm blanket. For gin and tonics made just right. For the stomach aches that accompany unabashed laughter. For butterflies and lightning bugs. For iced coffee and road trips. For a time when we could laugh and dance and sweat and sing and hug our friends without concern. For a future that still, despite the odds, feels promising.