Disclaimer: This post is uncharacteristically sappy. Reading not recommended after a hearty meal of turkey leftovers. The sentimental/tryptophan combo could be lethal.
The other day, I was cleaning up a pile of papers, and I found one of the many running lists I’d made while on shift at work last year. It was a list counting my blessings (perfect timing, with Thanksgiving right around the corner). For those of you who weren’t around for that part of my life, I used to be a cocktail waitress at a bar. It was the worst (though best paying) job I’ve ever had.
When people ask me why I quit, my standard response is that the job sucked my soul. I kinda think it’s funny to say it that way, but I guess it’s too dramatic for most people because I usually just get a blank stare from them. Anyway, while that reason is obviously an exaggeration, it wasn’t too far off at times.
The job constantly dragged me down. I was working in an environment where, in order to make money, I had to pander to/smile at/flirt with people who looked at me like I was less than them (just because I was a waitress). I wasn’t used to people treating me that way, and sometimes it was downright humiliating. To this day, I’m amazed I stuck it out for so long. If it hadn’t been for my strengthening friendship with good ol’ Lincoln, Jackson, and Franklin, I’d have quit the day after football season ended.
One day when the job was particularly bad, I flipped over one of the waitressing notepads in my apron and on the back I started a running list of all the things in my life that I was grateful for. The list started small, but by the end of the night, I had over a hundred tiny bulleted points. What started as a ‘Hail Mary’ ended up being critical to maintaing my sanity that night. Just taking the time to acknowledge my blessings did wonders to my “poor me” attitude and grumpy spirit. Because truly, I have a lot to be thankful for.
The landscape of my life has changed considerably since the time when I wrote that note a year ago. Aside from still being a college student and having the same core group of wonderful friends, so much of what is around me has shifted. I have a niece. My family looks different. I am hunting for post-college opportunities and preparing for living in the real world. I have been single for the longest stretch I can remember since I started dating way back in high school, and I’m loving it. I don’t have to work at a bar anymore, and instead I get to reclaim my Friday nights for friends and my Saturday mornings for painting. I’m looking at pursuing other careers besides film (though loving films will always ben ingrained in me — and if someone asked me to produce their film, I wouldn’t say no).
So that is the first thing on my Thankful List this year. I am thankful that my life is in a good place right now.
In no particular order, I am grateful for:
1. My neice Isabella and the fact that, while I may be light years away from being ready to have my own kids, someone else is not. And that particular someone (my gorgeous sister) was kind enough to grace the world with something as precious as that little bubble of light.
2. The opportunity to live in a nice house (within walking distance to campus) with my closest friends — whom I have gotten to know so much better and have appreciated so much more over the course of this semester.
3. The chance to stretch myself by working on a business team that’s creating a software company. While this isn’t a project that I would normally have pursued otherwise, I’ve really enjoyed learning what it means to belong to a start-up company. Also, I have a fun team, which one should always have if one can help it.
4. The existence of Saturday mornings, which I can fill with painting and not feel guitly about it. And I’m grateful that my roommates actually let me put my paintings up on the wall. That’s cool too.
5. Having a clear enough schedule this November to try my hand at writing a novel (and having people who support my creative whims — where would I be without you?).
6. The growing readership on my blog and the fact that I’m not just writing for my immediate family anymore (though I’ll always love you).
7. And last but not least, I’m grateful for the opportunity to write and share my Thankful List (which is considerably more fun than a New Years Resolutions list — much more positive and far less critical).
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!