With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I wanted to do a special post this week.
It’s really so easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day with what we each have going on while almost becoming blind to the “big picture”. The big picture meaning, what life is actually all about. It’s not about the money, the stress you are dealing with at work, the bills you have to pay, the coworker at the office who is getting under your skin, the car problems, a job hunt, the argument you had yesterday, the friend you feel betrayed by…sure, these things matter, but when you look at life from a macro perspective, is that what you want to remember spending your life worrying about and dealing with?
To be quite honest, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it’s just sincere and effortless. No one has to worry about picking out the right gift or feeling pressured. Thanksgiving is about family, friends, and loved ones but even more, appreciating what you have. We live in a society that wants “more”, “bigger”, and “better.” I would be lying if I said I do not ever plunge into these temptations too – it’s human nature. However, it is beneficial to have a period of reflection…to center yourself and be sincerely grateful. It’s time to stop living selfishly and get back to our roots. Below are the things that I am genuinely thankful for this year.
1. My Husband + Better Half
Yeah, it kind of goes without saying. But Shahin is the ultimate spouse because he’s beyond just a husband…he is my best friend, my biggest cheerleader, my stability, and the only person who makes me feel like it will all be okay. He brings me laughter, challenges me, makes me more resilient and gives me courage. Courage I never knew I even had. I am so thankful for this man in my life and will make a point to show him how much he means to me every day of my existence.
2. Double Trouble (Duke + Carolina)
My dogs are essentially my children – I do not actually have children of my own yet, so really, these two little pups are the light in my life. Sean and I have had these litter mates for over 6 years now and they’ve provided us with so much joy over the years. Even though they have an obsession with socks and getting on the bed when they’re not supposed to, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
3. My Family
Between Sean’s and my own, I would really like to think I hit the jackpot in the family department. Could I honestly ask for better people in my life? All so kind and accepting. I am so thankful today and every day. My family is my backbone, my support system, and the people I trust more than anyone in the world.
4. My Closest Friends (Guys + Gals)
As I get older, I’m learning that it’s not about the quantity but the quality. Friendship is something that I take very seriously. If you are good to me, I’ll be good to you in return and then some. It’s that simple. The people that I hold close to my heart have impacted my life so drastically. Some of you I’ve had the pleasure of knowing since I was 9-years-old, some middle school or high school, some during college, others in my adult life. Even if we do not see or speak to each other as often as we like, you are all so very special to me and have changed me for the better. I am beyond grateful for each of you – I want you to know that.
5. Music, Baby!
In all seriousness, I love music. It’s my therapy – I mean, it literally keeps me sane. I feel like there are so many different songs that speak to me and there is one that matches the mood I am in. Feeling intense? I listen to Mumford & Sons. Feeling joy, I listen to The Avett Brothers. Feeling nostalgic, I listen to classic rock. Feeling valiant, I listen to Lana Del Rey. Feeling stressed out, I listen to gangster rap.
6. My Education
You know that phrase, “knowledge is power”? Well, it is. I am a firm believer that you can never stop learning. This is what I thrive in – education. As I’m wrapping up my last three weeks of graduate school and realizing that this four year long journey is soon coming to an end, I cannot help but reflect and look back on where I’ve come from. A loving, established home where my parents believed in me and supported my endeavors. I grew up with the understanding that education was critical. It was instilled in my mind at an early age and I took that with me as I grew. Now, I realize – this is something I’ve done by myself. Without help from anyone else. I did not do it to prove anyone wrong, I did not do it for anyone else, it was something I did for myself – and it’s something that no one can ever take away from me. My education is sacred and I am so thankful that I’ve been given the resources to go back to school and obtain a higher education.
7. The Natural Beauty Around Us
Sometimes, even when you’re just driving down the road, you’ll notice the abundance of vibrant burnt orange and Merlot colored leaves. Or an amazing sunset. Or a cotton candy sky. I’m thankful to have these moments. It makes me realize how immense the world is and how small I actually am, even if it is just for that instant.
8. Coffee + Me Time
There is really nothing like sipping on a cup of fresh coffee and taking some time to yourself. Whether you decide to put in your favorite Lush bubble bar in the tub and taking a soothing bath, scouring Pinterest so you can build the perfect gallery wall, or reading a good book (right now, I’m reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed), there is nothing that compares to doing something for YOU.
9. Eat Well, Travel Often
One of my favorite quotes of all time – if there is anything that I am about, it’s eating well and traveling often. I have an affinity for food – I would even like to consider myself a foodie of sorts. I’m willing to eat just about anything – and the weirder, the better. Even more, I am captivated by traveling. Every. single. aspect. of. it. Why? It’s so culturally enriching and it really humbles you. When I become old and gray, I want to have memories. I’m looking for experiences, stories and adventure. I have to thank my lucky stars that I have had (and continue to have) the opportunity to travel. I love being immersed in a completely different culture and environment – I cannot think of a life experience more powerful than this.
As my husband likes to say, “you’re such a nerd-alert.” I have no shame in admitting how big of a dork I am in regard to the things I am obsessed with – one being my fondness of traditions. They are really special – and I love the idea of making something your own. One tradition Shahin and I have implemented in our relationship and marriage is each New Year’s Eve, we go see The Avett Brothers…in whatever city they are playing in. Their music is something we have a deep bond and connection over. This tradition not only gives us the opportunity to see our favorite band live, but it’s also an excuse to visit a different city and broaden our horizon. Another tradition I love is our annual friendsgiving that our friends Evan and Alyssa host each year. We had it this past weekend and it was incredible as always. It’s a great way for everyone to come together, share dishes, mingle and hang out by the bonfire. I am so grateful for the traditions we implement in our lives.