5/30

I am thankful for new friends
Remember how I was really lonely the other day? Throughout the week, the universe has shown me that I am far from a lone. I am making friends and I think some of them are becoming good friends. There are a few that I think are developing into good friends, and I was reminded of that today.

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I am thankful for my current life
Both in Lesotho and South Dakota, I used to dream about meeting a friend for coffee in some urban city where we life. There would be baristas with piercings, white china and exposed brick wall. We would sip fancy drinks and then browse boutique shops. I would return home to jazz music and a room decorated in white lights.

Every now and then, I realize that this is no longer a fantasy, but my life.

I am thankful for the times I surprise myself
While running today, I noticed my time after two miles and was pretty satisfied with the split, although it was just a casual run. I decided to pick my pace up for the third mile and try to run 45 seconds faster than the split. It seemed like a lofty goal, but I decided to go after it. Although mental games can be a huge opponent in a race, they can also greatly impact training runs. I kept my thoughts confident and settle into a quick, but comfortable pace. When I hit the half-mile mark, I was about 10 seconds under my projected mile time and, although there was a cushion, I knew that I still had to keep working. I stayed relaxed and calm, believing that I could do it even though it had been a long time since I ran a mile that fast. When I hit the end of the mile, I was 40 seconds under my projected time and feeling really good about myself. I knew I could make my goal, I just didn’t think I would destroy it. This made me think about the times when I have said, “Oh, I could never do that” and then did it: be a vegetarian, go to dinner by myself, run a marathon, be away from my friends and family for substantial chunk of time. I do limit myself sometimes, but I also really really love when I can prove myself wrong.

I am thankful for the money that I have
Like a lot of people, I spend too much time worry about money. Worrying about money can be very addictive, and I know that I have indulged that addiction way too much lately. At the end of the day, though, I can pay my rent, I can afford to have coffee with friends and I can buy groceries. Not everyone else can do that. So although it would be nice to have extra money for certain things, I want to remember that all that I have is enough, it’s all I need.

4/30

So much to be thankful for today

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I am thankful for Saturday mornings
I often try to make the most of a Saturday morning by planning lots to do: coffee, farmer’s market, runs, big breakfasts. This morning, though, I just woke up and went for a run along Lake Shore Trail. It was beautiful, and it had nothing to do with my plans.

I am thankful for FaceTime
I was still living in South Dakota when Owen was born and I could see him daily. I knew that that wouldn’t always be the case and now I see him every couple of months (which compared to how many times I saw my family the last two years is enough to be thankful). However, my brother is really good about making sure we FaceTime regularly. Owen usually just wants to eat the phone, but I love it. It makes me so happy to see his face.

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I am thankful for therapy and what it’s teaching me
I’ve been going to therapy on and off since I was 17 and I’ve recently started going back. I should write more about this, but it’s been really great. So much has happened to me in the last year that it’s nice to talk about it with someone who is not involved. If you have never been to therapy but are considering it, go. It’s truly wonderful. I am learning that while life is messy, I am not a mess.

I winter coat shopping today. I am not thankful I have to do that, but I am thankful I found a good deal.

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3/30

It’s a beautiful fall Saturday morning, but I am not here to write about today. I still need to be thankful for yesterday.

I got home late last night and wasn’t able to do a post, so I guess there will just be two today.

Yesterday was not a bad day, but it wasn’t a unique day, either. It was a normal day and I had to look really hard to find something to be thankful for, but it’s on those days that I should be the most thankful – all I have is all I need.

This is the only photo I took yesterday:

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I am thankful for scarf season
Fall is the ultimate scarf season. Besides two winter fleece scarves, I have just four scarves. Three are from Africa and the other was a gift from Kieara. I am really proud of that.

I am thankful for a Facebook break
The day before I moved to Chicago, I deactivated my Facebook account. It has been incredibly freeing. I want to write about this more some other time, but stepping away from Facebook has been very healthy. I spent way too much time on the site, judging people based on this small snippet of their lives and them comparing myself to it. I am really bad about not recognizing all the good things in my life, but not constantly scanning other people’s profiles and their seemingly awesome lives has helped. There is some downsides – that’s how I keep in touch with many of my Basotho friends and I’ve missed big life announcements – and I think I will go back at some point, but right now I really enjoy being Facebookless.

2/30

It’s the second day and I haven’t already abandon this project. Success.

I am grateful for running

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Lesotho allowed me to truly fall in love with running in a way that I hadn’t been able to do in the U.S. I would have big plans to run races, but motivation often died a few weeks later. We were casual friends, running and I. Abroad, though, running was often the only thing constant, familiar in my life and so I logged hundreds and hundreds of kilometers just trying to get to the next day.

I assumed that after I married running in Lesotho we’d have life-long happiness. I started training for a marathon, although I didn’t have a specific race picked out, in January, but running became such a chore that I had to abandon the plan. Instead, I ran when I felt like it, which meant a lot less frequent and far.

There are times when I get great eager to train again, which days later is removed when I think about all the time and effort involved. Still, I try to run a few times a week, most often because I feel like I have to and not because I want to.

This morning I did not want to get out of bed. It’s darker later now that it’s nearly fall and I felt a strong dread for the entire process of putting on clothes and walking out the door. I was about to hit snooze when a little voice said, “Just get up.”

So I did, and within in the first 30 seconds of my run, I was thankful I did. Some people have yoga or meditating, but running is what centers me. It doesn’t matter how long or how far, I just need to take that first step and I’ve never regretted it.

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I am thankful for mistakes

No photos for this one, but I am thankful for mistakes, all mistakes from taking the job to locking your keys in your car to using the wrong ‘its’ in a sentence.

I had this whole thing typed out about being self conscious about mistakes and feeling like a failure for calling someone the wrong name, but I realized that that is dwelling on it and I don’t want to do that (although it was therapeutic to type it out). I also don’t want to beat myself up for mistakes. No matter the severity, mistakes come with lessons and sometimes that lesson is just learning to shrug it off.

So here I go, shrugging.

I am thankful for phone calls with good friends
(I had a photo but it isn’t the best)

I was feeling a bit down earlier this evening (see the above section about mistakes and this post) but then a dear friend and I talked through FaceTime. We laughed, reminded each other that things will be OK, and then laughed some more.

And giggling with friends is about the best thing in life. So, now I get to go to bed happy and thankful.

A month of gratitude

I came home to the U.S. believing my life would be perfect.

Long taxi rides, slow afternoons and sleepless nights were spent dreaming about this ideal life that would come to me because, well, I earned it. I had taken a great risk, veered from the path, and now all that I was owed would surely be delivered to me.

It’s a notion that I didn’t give up on months after coming home, living in D.C. Instead, I was still broke, lonely and doubting nearly every step up till that point.

Even though I feel more comfortable with my life in Chicago, I still dwell on the things I don’t have. It’s a sickness, really.

In one month from today I will turn 30. Never would I have dreamed that this is where my life would be at this age, but that’s a good thing. I liked being surprised and, although I wonder why certain things are still missing, I have heaps to be thankful for.

As I prepare for this next milestone in life, I want to be ready to enter it with a full and thankful heart. Therefore, it’s my intention to post a photo and a statement (maybe a story) of gratitude each day in the last month of my 20s. Some days it will be one thing, some days it will be more two things. Maybe even more. Regardless, I will be reminded of all the beauty and blessings in my life.

So, let’s begin.

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I am thankful for Chicago.

All my life I’ve wanted to live in a big city, letting ever-glowing lights rock me to sleep. I’ve wanted to feel small in a giant place while knowing I belong. Chicago has given me that. This weekend, back in SD, I felt like the girl from the city, some times foolishly, some times proudly. It may not be home yet but it’s beginning to feel that way, which is enough for me.

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I am thankful for my charm.

I am going to try to find one thing about myself each day to be thankful for because I could probably like myself more. I love these moments when I surprise myself in how funny and sweet I am. Tonight I was having dinner with an old acquaintance and I was compassionate and kind. It’s these times when I can sort of see why others may see in me. I like these moments.

That’s a good start for tonight. See you all tomorrow.