To me, Thanksgiving is not a day about the dinner, or celebrating any of that crap about pilgrims that they make you enact in elementary school. It’s not about Black Friday and deals and getting your Christmas shopping done a month early. For me, it really has just become another day of the year. But the one reason that introspective little me does enjoy it, is it calls to the forefront the idea of thankfulness, which is something we don’t often recognize enough. The world would be better if we took more than just one day a year to focus on it.
2015 is probably the year where I have more to be thankful for than I’ve ever experienced in a single other year of my life. I think back to 15 year old me, and I feel if she could have seen where 25 year old me would end up, see the things I am blessed enough to be able to do, she’d be pretty proud. So while I don’t want to spend an incredibly long post recapping my year (that will come in December) I do want to take a moment out of this day to detail for you five (of the many) things I am truly thankful for this year.
5) Getting to travel to London & Scotland.
This was without a doubt one of the coolest things that has ever happened to me. Getting my plane ticket a whirlwind seven days before flying, being able to be part of MuggleNet’s very first fan convention, spending time with those MuggleNet friends at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, and spending five of the most beautiful days of my life in Scotland, in the city where my favorite novels were written . . . it was powerful to say the least. And on top of all that wonderment, it was that very trip that led to me working on my novel again. (Which I’ll get to in a moment.)
4) Becoming an Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo.
This experience has been so rewarding in so many ways. I’m someone who has participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) since November 2004, so the opportunity to finally do more than write by giving back to people of my region through encouragement and support has been indescribable. Not to mention that I was fortunate enough to become part of the @NaNoWordSprints team, where I got to run word sprints for people around the world, and even began the #NaNoHouseCup, where Wrimos compete to write the most words for their respective Hogwarts Houses. Combining my loves of encouraging others, writing, and being a Harry Potter nerd is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
3) Getting back to telling my story.
Piper. Alteria. They Are The Last. These are words that have been a part of my life and consciousness since I was 13 years old, and for the majority of those years, they became nothing more than a name, a place and a title that “I’d get to one day when the time was right.” Well turns out that time was 2015, because after a truly miraculous day in Edinburgh, Scotland, I realized that it was Piper’s story that I was always meant to tell. Since then, I’ve written almost 90,000 words worth of drafts, and am still going. This story is what I’m supposed to be doing with my life, and I’m so thankful that I finally accepted that truth.
2) Finding God again.
Ever since losing my dad in 2005 and then my mother in 2009, God and the idea that there was an all powerful being in the universe that cared about me was something I just couldn’t accept. My depression and anxiety ate away at me, and despite being surrounded by loving friends, I felt at times to be very, very alone. But this past year, I’ve gotten more in touch with my faith again, and honestly, it is an integral part of what I believe made this the most positive, life changing year I’ve ever experienced. There is just too much beauty in the cosmos for me to think it’s all just an accident and that everything is chaos and chance. I couldn’t be more thankful for God and all they’ve done for me to remind me that I am loved and worthy of this life I’ve been blessed with.
1) My friends.
Always and forever am I thankful for my friends. As I’ve gone through my life from phase to phase – elementary to middle schools, middle to high school, high school to college, college to ‘real life’ – I have had to grow and learn that not all friendships are forever. It’s a hard lesson, because the people I used to love in my life but have fallen away from for one reason or another still leave imprints on my heart, and whether things ended badly between us or not, I still cherish the moments spent with them and the inside jokes that still make me laugh. It makes me think about my friends now, and as sad as it is to think, not all of them will stay with me.
Life changes as the seasons, and who knows which trees and flowers will continue to bloom and which ones will wither and become a memory? All I know is right now, on this Thanksgiving Day of 2015, there are so many people that come to mind. So many people surrounding me who make me realize my life is worth it, who make me laugh, who believe in me fiercely enough that for the first time, I’ve begun to believe in myself. Know dear friends, I consider you all precious gifts, that I am now, have been, and always will be, thankful for.