Today is Thanksgiving. The infamous day we allow ourselves to eat 5000 calories without guilt because we know we will work off these calories tomorrow morning while we struggle to safely hang the outdoor Christmas lights around the house, setup the unavoidably lopsided tree, and participate in a tinsel dance party with the many cats who dwell in our homes. Until the food coma overtakes me, I give you the eight things I am most thankful for this year, in no particular order:
My job – I may gripe about my job to family and friends but in the current economy I am simply thankful to have a job, and as an extra bonus it is a job in which I can succeed, grow, and am appreciated for my talents. Also, it does not hurt that I get to spend time in some of the most wonderful hotels and eat delicious food.
My family and friends – This has been a difficult year as I lost a very important and special family member. My grandfather was a ferocious reader and I like to think I inherited that wonderful trait from him. He also never gave up hope that the Chicago Cubs would one day win the World Series no matter how ridiculous this idea was. He is greatly missed. This year also resulted in the elimination of a number of so called friendships with individuals whose main goal in life seemed to be nothing more than making me feel bad about myself and my life which I consider unforgivable. In the end, the pain of this loss confirms just how important and special those in my life are and their love is what gives me the strength to succeed.
My pets – Last Thanksgiving I said goodbye to my best friend of 19 years (I feel no embarrassment in admitting that Mittens was my dearest and closest friend) and not a day goes by where I am not reminded of her. Mittens has been and surely will continue to be missed, but I find comfort, love, and joy in my remaining pets: Myles, Oliver and Little Girl.
My education – In September I officially graduated from Drexel University and am the proud recipient of a MLIS degree. Although I have opted to remain an embedded librarian and not enter the realm of academic or public libraryland I am always astonished and grateful of the knowledge and transferable skills I acquired while in school and any doubt I had regarding the substantial debt of two master’s degrees has quickly faded. Next week I will have both of my diplomas framed and placed in my home office as reminders of just how much I have accomplished.
My home(s) – I consider myself the lucky one; I live in the greatest city. Chicago has been my home since I was born and I could not imagine living or working anywhere else. Sure, our winters can be brutal but they are nothing in comparison to the beauty of the lakefront, the wealth of delicious dining experiences, and our amazing museum campus. On the other hand, there are times when the city can be too much and all I desire is peace and quiet – a slower way of life. When those moments arise I am blessed that all I have to do is get in my car and drive the 90 minutes to my adorable cottage in SW Michigan, where I am surrounded by wildlife, vineyards, and apple mills. I would not have it any other way.
My health – Sure, I have the occasional ache and pain (and tooth problems), and sometimes thanks to WebMD I assume I have contracted some horrendous disease, but overall this has been a healthy year for me. I have attempted (and often times failed) to eat healthier and stick to a somewhat flexible workout schedule which has resulted in me feeling better than I have in years.
My mind – An Alzheimer diagnosis is not an uncommon occurrence in my family and I am very aware that if I am lucky enough to become a senior citizen I may be inflicted with this curse. Like my grandfather who recently passed, I love to read and learn and while the thought that one day that ability could be taken away from me is horrendous, I believe that the greatest thing in life is our mind and I will continue to fiercely expand mine until the day I no longer can.
Good books – This year I discovered a number of wonderful authors: Ariana Franklin, Julia Stuart, Bentley Little, Ted Dekker; and continued my love affair with Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child, Jonathan Maberry, George R.R. Martin, Dan Simmons, and Naomi Novik.
Honorable mentions go to: my finicky car, Christmas music, Lego Xbox games, great wine, crème brûlée, Girl & the Goat, horror films, coffee, and James Bond.