Tomorrow is my last day at my computer before I leave for my Thanksgiving trip, but I know tomorrow will be too crazy to write anything substantial on here. And before I leave I think I would be remiss if I didn't make some feeble attempt to discuss all of the things I have been so grateful for this year.
2011 was a pretty crazy year for me, and if you go back through last year's Thanksgiving, it's been an insane 12 months of my life.
To start with the obvious: Exactly 12 months ago today, Jill went into Cardiac Arrest and her heart stopped for 5 full minutes. For anyone who doesn't follow my blog religiously- Jill is my sister just older than me. This time last year was one of the most shocking periods of my life, and I don't remember having many deep thoughts about it because it was so jarring that I couldn't focus on much of anything. It wasn't until later that the severity of the situation settled in with me and I realized just how close I came to losing my sister. You just don't ever think something like that will happen to you until it does- but I think that's what anyone who has been through something like that will tell you. Jill has been one of the most important people in my life, and to think of a life with her no longer in it is just unimaginable. I am so, so, so beyond grateful that I still get to have my sister. I am also very humbled and grateful for her progress in her recovery so far. I know it's frustrating, and difficult for her and her family on the frontlines. But I know that she can do this, and I am grateful for such a strong sister to inspire me.
Next up on my list is a person who I had been fortunate to be around this past year or so. And not just the fact that he was in my life, but the people he exposed me to were some of the best and most inspirational people I have met. I know he wont read this, which makes it a little easier to be frank about things. But knowing Tony allowed me to see parts of who I am and more importantly- who I want to be. And of course it's tough when you talk to someone every day and come to realize isn't the person you're supposed to end up with- but I would feel like an ingrate if I didn't at least recognize the things that knowing him brought to my life. I think, honestly, that it ought to be like that with anyone you date or surround yourself with. I spent a long time of my life wandering. Too long, really. I have always taken the long road and not really minded it because I enjoy the journey so much. But I didn't even have my feet pointed any which way, and because of that I was settling for a life of mediocrity wherein I would mainly work and "hang out" every day. Oh, sure, I had dreams to accomplish things in my life. But I didn't DO anything about them. And along came this person who had actually done a lot of the things that I wanted to do with my life. Travel, explore nature, become more educated, enjoy some interesting hobbies. All of them were things that I had always wanted to do but never had the drive to go out and just... DO. I think the combination of what happened to Jill and my exposure to Tony gave me the incentive to make some commitments to myself to stop treading water where I was and start swimming towards something greater. Life is short. And sometimes you have to just go for it.
Another (related) thing I am grateful for is Tony's family. I know, I know, I'm sounding like a kiss ass here. But they've been a major part of my life for the past year or so. And each one of them inspired me, probably more than they realize. I don't know how specific I want to get here, mainly because it's actually quite difficult for me to. But this family is something special. Their dedication to one another and ability to support each other is and always will be inspirational to me on a level I can't quite explain. I have been unbelievably lucky to have been welcomed into their home and get to spend the time that I did with them.
I am grateful for my (hopefully first of many!) trip to Europe. Sara and Matt were the absolute most gracious hosts to me and it was so cool of them to show me around Paris, Amsterdam, Kos, Nisseros, Turkey, and Dusseldorf. I had the most unreal time there and being able to accomplish a trip that I'd been dreaming about since I was a little girl has been something that I will forever be grateful for.
I am grateful for the people that I have lived with this year. It has had it's fair share of challenges and of course- ups and downs. But all in all it has given me some wonderful experiences to take with me. I am no longer at the house that I lived at for something like 4 years, and I am grateful for the fact that I have moved on. With the utmost respect to my former roommates, the place that I am living now is much better suited to my needs as my life has evolved to where I am now. It has, so far, been like a dream living at my new place. And I'm certain that challenges will come. But I will hopefully be grateful for them and the opportunities they give me to be stronger and better as a roommate and as a person in general.
I am grateful for my friends who have seen me through this past year. I've made some new friends in people I've met through Tony and who I couldn't BE more grateful for. Fun people like Kim, Chelsea, and Kaila- with passionate dreams and exciting lives. I've also been lucky enough to stay in touch with old friends who have remained in my life for years and years. Last year on my birthday we went to dinner and I was so amazed by the number of people who wanted to take time out of their busy schedules to be with me on my big day. People like Sayum and Grant, who I am constantly baffled for how I deserve such people in my life. Kenneth, who has been there for me as a friend whenever I've needed someone to talk to and make me laugh. I am so insanely lucky to have the friends that I have. I don't know if I would ever be able to express that to these people, but it is an overwhelming feeling.
My family. My foundation. My everything. Even when they drive me a little bonkers. My Mom, who has held me crying as a child and an adult- telling me that everything will be alright. My Dad, who is my constant idol in life and who hangs the moon for me. Ky, my twin. My oldest brother that constantly makes me laugh. Charity who has become one of my best friends and trusted confidants the older I get. Ryan who is one of the smartest and most interesting people I know. And of course Jill who is my brave and amazing fighter, inspiring us all.
It has been a wild ride. And I know I say this every year: but I feel like the past 12 months have been the most influential months of my life. I have changed in ways I never knew I could. I have faltered, I've fallen, I've gotten up, and I've catapulted forward. It's been unreal and amazing and terrifying and exhilarating. I wouldn't say I have loved every minute of it, but I am unapologetically grateful for every minute of it.
Thank you, Life.

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