Sunday, November 19, 2017

I Am Thankful For...

Around this time last year... I was working my tail off. I was a single lady living with three roommates in Springfield, Missouri, trying desperately to maintain my stamina in my last year of a competitive guard program while completing my final college coursework prior to my internship. I was preparing for student teaching, mentally, emotionally, and physically as I scrambled to plan how I was going to meet my requirements for teacher certification. I was also preparing for my last PRAXIS exams in Missouri, because you have to take five tests to finalize a teaching license.

I found myself in a car, on the way home, ready to help my mother fix Thanksgiving dinner for us, my dad, my grandparents, my aunt, and my uncle (which is actually quite a large gathering for my small family). I was also determined to take an actual break from schoolwork, and not complete any of the preparation work listed previously over the holiday week.

An awful lot can change in a year.

Not only do my aunt and uncle now live in Philadelphia, but I am no longer a single lady, I have no roommates, and I live in Nashville, Tennessee. I have completed student teaching, passed my exams, acquired a degree, and am now a kindergarten teacher who works with at-risk students while I blog my way through the weekends and work my way through graduate school. But I mean... Other than that, everything is pretty much the same.

Every year, I post what I am thankful for. And this year, it's an awful lot. Because I stumbled upon this quote from Grey's Anatomy a few days ago...

So do it. Decide. 
Is this the life you want to live? 
Is this the person you want to love?
Is this the best you can be?
Can you be stronger? 
Kinder? More Compassionate?
Breathe in. Breathe out. 
And decide. 
                              -Meredith Grey

...and for the first time in my life, I realized that all of my answers were a resounding yes. 

This is the life I want to live. 
He is the person that I want to love. 
I am working so hard to be the best I can be. 
Can I always be stronger? Kinder? More compassionate?
Yes. Yes. And yes. 

And I will continue to work on those things every day. But for now, I am thankful and content for so many things.

I am thankful for the people in my life. 
For my students, who give me a reason to get up each morning.
For my school family, who never make me feel as though I'm going at such a thankless job alone.
For my parents, who love and support me every day, in every way.
For my honorary brother and sister, who always make me feel close to their heart even from miles away.
For my best friends, who keep in touch and share their lives with me whether they live in Nashville or South Dakota.
For my boyfriend, who gave me the best reason to start my life out of college the way that I did.
And for my God, who made it all happen.

I am thankful for the place I get to call home. 
For Nashville, my baby New York City; an urban area with good art, good music, good coffee, and good theatre.
For my apartment, which I organized, furnished, and decorated all by myself, to make it a place I could truly call my own.
For Dylan's house, with his roommates, who always make me feel at home from the moment I walk through the door, and for letting me call it home when my apartment has mice, smells of paint, or was under final renovation.
And for my classroom, where I can provide a better environment for my kinders every day than the environment they come from.

I am thankful for my job. 
For its paycheck, no matter how big or small, which lets me provide for myself the things that I need, and enjoy some of the luxuries that I want.
For its flexibility, because I can exercise my creativity in every lesson I plan for.
For its schedule, so I can enjoy long breaks with my friends and family (and collect my overtime... *wink wink*).
For its purpose, since all students need to learn to read and count, but my kiddos also need to learn to love, laugh, and celebrate life.
For its influence, because I am truly making a difference during every second of every day.
And for its fulfillment, because this is what I have wanted to do since I was a little girl.

I am thankful for the internet. 
For without it... I would not be able to go through graduate school on my own time, connect with blog readers all over the world, or experience basic life as a millennial woman.

I am thankful for my health. 
For having to go to the doctor so little.
For having enough food to fuel my body...and a little extra to enjoy some snacks with.
For having clean water to fill up a bottle, like, twelve times each school day.

I am thankful for my self care time.
Which includes everything from my scalding hot showers, to reading books under a blanket, to crafting for the holidays.

I am thankful for you. 
For my blog, which gives me an outlet to write and a mission to build.
For my platform, which allows me to say what I need to say.
And for my readers, who give me a reason to keep this site going.

I'm signing off for the week to eat way too much turkey. I hope you're doing the same! And just a reminder to my mental health warriors this holiday season::

To my anxiety warriors: Don't let the gatherings and the parties and the family / friend endeavors ruin what could be such a magical time of year. Slow down. Take a breath. Take care of yourself.
To my depression warriors: Don't feel guilty for where your head is at. Just do what you gotta do. Do your best, beautiful. That's all anyone could ever ask of you.
To my eating disorder warriors: It doesn't matter how much you ate yesterday. You still need to eat today.

Enjoy your holiday. Be happy. Be joyful. Be thankful.