I have a lot to be thankful for this year. A lot. I'd make a longer list, but it would be lengthy and boring, and nobody would read it. So I thought I'd narrow it down and share with you just a few things I'm feeling especially thankful for.
1. I'm thankful for taking chances.
Isn't there a saying about how you never really get anywhere in life if you don't risk going? I'm sure I paraphrased that horribly, but you know what I mean. You have to take risks if you ever want to succeed, is what it boils down to. And I took a lot of risks this year, all of which paid off. You know why? Because I learned something about myself, and the things I'm capable of. I accepted an internship in a new city, in an unfamiliar part of the country. People still tell me I'm crazy for randomly moving in with Ajah without really knowing her; the two of us admit it was an insane move. But you know what? It was the best decision I've ever made. Not only did I get the internship of my dreams, but I made new friends, gained a sister, and now have a second family that is stuck with me for life.
Also, looking back, I can finally say with certainty that I am thankful for my time in Ireland. Regardless of the assault that really has changed the way I look at things, it was an experience I needed to have. I learned that I can be on my own and not flounder. I learned that I am stronger than I thought. And those are important life lessons to have.
2. I'm thankful for being a writer.
And not just the writing part of it. The last year or so I've really dug my fingers into the publishing world and connected with writers and agents and publishers. My knowledge has grown exponentially, and I still learn something new every day. When things in this industry go awry, like the SPEAK debacle I mentioned a few entries back, I was humbled and honored to be amongst such a tight-knit community. Writing has introduced me to some of my closest friends, and I will always be thankful for them. To everyone at Plagiarism Haven and LTWF, you mean the world to me. I couldn't have grown as a writer, or a person, without you.
3. I am thankful for the friends I still have, and the new ones I've gained.
I didn't realize this until recently, but some of my closest friends I've known for a decade or more. And while that makes me feel old, it's also really awesome to think that I've found the people who will remain in my life until I'm old and saggy. My very best friend lives in NYC now, and I've only gotten to see her once a year (twice, if I'm lucky) since we started college. But every time I talk to her, it reminds me how thankful I am to have her in my life. And in a few short months I'll be living in the same city, and the distance we've had to deal with for so long won't be a problem anymore!
Similarly, Michael and I are still friends. We've weathered just about everything the universe could throw at us, but today our relationship is good. It's solid. And I am proud of that.
But this year I really tried to reach out and make new friends, while also strengthening the ones I already had. PH and LTWF have both helped with that, yet another reason why I will forever be eternally grateful. The Madison Review has been a part of my life since I transferred to Madison in 2008, but I didn't really hang out with the staff outside of events until this year. And what did I gain from that? A whole new set of friends that are even more awesome than I could've imagined.
4. I can't have an 'I'm Thankful' list without mentioning my family.
My parents are the most supportive people I know. Even when they disagree with me, they stand behind my decisions. They trust me to do the right thing, and that is a gift I treasure. Someday, when I have my first book deal, I will dedicate that book to them, and everything they've done for me. They are my rock, and I'd be lost without them.
As for my siblings, I think I really have a lot to be grateful for this year when it comes to them. My sister and I have always had a rocky relationship, and the last few years have been spent rebuilding it. This year, for the first time, I really felt like I had a sister I could talk to. Our relationship is finally the one I'd always hoped for, and that means more to me than you'll ever know. And my brother was a real surprise this year. He called me this summer with all these great plans he had for the rest of his time in college, and what he wanted to do afterward, but what really got me was when he said it was because he wanted to be like me. He wanted to follow his dreams and be excited about something. He gave me the gift of feeling like I'd really accomplished my goal in life - to be a good rolemodel for my siblings. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it.
So while there are many more things I'm thankful for, these are the most important. These things mean something. And I won't soon forget it.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!