Thanksgiving day 2016 was a bit hectic. Without my mini-chef of a little brother Aaron, our kitchen was running without order and synchronization. The turkey started cooking too late, I had a mini-meltdown over rolls, and we almost ran out of butter. It was chaos.
As a result, dinner wasn’t fully ready until 10:00pm. By that time my mind was so weak with hunger I couldn’t even muster a proper response to a question posed by my mother: “What are you thankful for?” What she got from me was a banal “I’m happy to be alive.” Both of my parents give me a bit of a blank stare after I spoke. I didn’t really think about my empty answer until today. They probably thought my response sounded so ungrateful. I have to admit, my thoughts tend to be a bit defeatist and negative so reflecting on the good parts of life is often hard for me.
While thinking about a post idea for this week I kept switching between this idea of personal gratitude or a story about the time I was lost in NYC during the Thanksgiving parade in 2004 (which I’ve written about numerous times). Without much hesitation, the former won out. I thought the weekend would be a great opportunity to reflect on the things in life I often overlook. After replaying 2016 in my head I’m most thankful for:
- “A roof over my head”
My fourteen year old self would be a bit disappointed if they looked at my current life. I’m 24 years old who still lives with my parents. I as a temporary worker in a call center that only pays $11.75/hr. I still don’t own a car. Regardless of the seemingly poor circumstances, I can’t really complain about my situation. My life is more privileged than others. Over the past two years I’ve immersed myself in the world of web development, drove beyond my neighborhood, and gained the confidence to reach out to the people I admire. Without a home to recharge at the end of the day, who knows where I’d be right now? I’m sure life would be a struggle. Home gives me an opportunity to stay healthy. Home is a safe place for recovery and personal upgrades. Home is Home.
- “Proper cognitive functioning”
When I was a toddler, my life was on a downward spiral. Though I was born a healthy baby, my cognitive abilities later declined at a rapid pace. I was having seizures multiple times a day and doctors predicted I’d soon become an empty shell of a person. Despite her despair, my mother by chance found a program which gave me chance to reverse my predicament.She quit her job and worked with me one-on-one. By eight years old I was seizure free. I was far too young at the time to understand all she did for me, but I appreciate her efforts everyday. Going to work each day is truly a blessing.
- “A supportive and loving family”
I love my family, enough said. They give me strength when I am weak (even my little sister, Shannon). We bounce ideas off each other. I don’t have a lot of friends so my family is really my only support system in life. I can geek about k-pop with my little sisters, talk about politics with my brothers, or have girl-talk with my mom. In college I would speak with my mother every single day (multiple times during the day) about problems I had or general thoughts in my head. I have no idea what I’d do without family. We don’t always get along, but no family is perfect.