Claire: 10 Things I’m Thankful For This Year

It’s almost Thanksgiving, which means it’s time to show some gratitude for the blessings in our lives. Rebecca shared hers yesterday, now here’s Claire…

Growing up, I thought Thanksgiving was such a snoozefest. No presents? It’s 20 degrees out? We’re all supposed to “ooh” and “ahh” over a dead roast bird? Even the sludge brown decorative color scheme of the holiday seemed like a letdown to my 7-year-old self compared to the bright greens and reds and blues of December. These days, flaws of Thanksgiving and its history aside (there are many), I’m really glad there’s a designated time of year to appreciate all the good stuff we’ve got going in our lives. Here are some things I’m thankful for this year!

1. My loved ones. The phrase “loved ones” is kind of corny, but what other phrase captures all the people who are precious to me in one big lump? My family, friends, and boyfriend mean the world to me. There are so many external things worth chasing in life, but at the end of the day, what do any of us humans have besides each other? This year has been full of curveballs, and I don’t know what I would have done without a support system listening, offering advice, and sometimes just stepping in to take on some of the biggest burdens. I can only hope that they feel just as loved and supported by me as I do by them!

2. Coffee. My morning coffee routine isn’t so much about the caffeine as it’s about the ritual. I savor that comfy moment each day, whether I’m sipping diner coffee, a latte, a cocoa cappuccino, or even hot tea – okay, so maybe I just love all hot beverages. It’s a tiny comfort that makes me more excited about the day. Bonus points for the mornings its accompanied by a big delicious bagel.

3. My ridiculously amazing coworkers. There are so many things to be thankful for when it comes to my job at the Frisky, but one of the best parts is getting to work with a group of smart, funny, kickass women that I admire. They teach me so much about writing and just life in general, and we laugh just about every day. This goes for former Frisky staffers too, who I miss like crazy!

4. Cheryl Strayed’s books. I’ve turned back to Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things more times than I can count this year, and was halfway through reading Wild, about Strayed’s loss of a parent, when I got the news that my dad had died. There’s a reason the whole internet loves this woman! Her words ground me, remind me I’m worthy of great things, and remind me and countless other readers that I’m not alone in going through tough experiences.

5. Finding my own little corner of New York. I’ve lived in four different neighborhoods in the city, and this year I finally landed in a neighborhood that feels like me. It’s cheerful, low-key, suits my routine, and the beautiful buildings in the area make me gasp on the regular. Spending my days in a place I love has improved my everyday existence in ways I never would’ve guessed.

6. Music. I’m always, always listening to music, especially when I’m trying to get some alone time to sort out my thoughts. I’ve always felt like music should come with a warning label because of a song’s ability to take you back to a very specific time and place in just an instant since that can take you to memories that you are so not ready to relive (maybe people should be banned from touching iPods for a few weeks after break-ups). Of course, using that nostalgia vibe for positive memories and feelings is what makes us love music so much in the first place. After my dad’s death earlier this year, this became especially true for me. He had a catchphrase of sorts: “music is my sanctuary.” He said it all the time, providing my teenage self with a whole lot of eye rolls, even though I totally agreed with him. When he died he left me with hundreds if not thousands of albums and CDs to sort through, and his favorite songs, many of which are also my favorites, never fail to lighten the moment when things are tough.

7. Melted cheese. Need I say more?

8. Barcelona. Earlier this year, I visited Spain, and I experienced the kind of vacation high that my own neuroses usually try to fend off when I leave town. It was at a time when I’d been trying to spin so many plates at once and was so caught up in my own minutiae it was almost laughable. At that moment, every small stress in my life felt like life-or-death stakes. I try to get out of New York for a day or two whenever I can to shake up my perspective, but crossing the ocean reminded me just how much exists beyond my own little stress bubble and how many paths we can choose in this life. How lucky are we to have airplanes and trains and even subways to take us to new environments and change our whole view, even if just for a day or so? Barcelona was so rejuvenating. It was also just full of gorgeous scenery and had really good sangria, so there’s that.

9. Running and yoga class. Any exercise that allows me to zen out and feel like I’m accomplishing something is my best friend.

10. Humor. Life is utterly ridiculous. How would we get through if we weren’t able to laugh about it?