Christmas may be my favorite holiday, but Thanksgiving ranks pretty highly for me as well. Basically, I enjoy any occasion that gives me the excuse to eat a ton of delicious food whilst surrounded by family that I don't get to see often enough. Ever since I can remember, our family tradition has been to spend Christmas with Mom's family, and Thanksgiving with Dad's. Since Dad's family is smaller and more widely dispersed, this has always meant that we have spent the holiday with Dad's cousins, who are numerous and concentrated in the St. Louis area. The actual celebration has moved from home to home over the years, and the family has gotten progressively larger over time, but the essentials of the experience are still the same.
While I'm sitting down to a plate of turkey, more pie than you can shake a stick at, the traditional post-Thanksgiving luncheon meal of Italian sausage, and sitting out on the annual game of "Rob Your Neighbor," here are the top three things that I have been thankful for in 2009:
I am truly blessed to have both of my parents in my life, and that both of them are healthy. There are so many people out there who are not as fortunate. Not only are they alive and well, we enjoy a very close relationship, and they are supportive of my decisions, and invested in my success. They put a roof over my head, even though I don't directly live with them, and this allows me to enjoy a lifestyle that I would be unable to lead otherwise. I am lucky to have them in my life.
I am also thankful for all of my extended family, and for the social networking tools like Blogger and Facebook that allow me to keep in touch with them. The world is a much smaller place than it used to be, and that's a good thing in my book.
The past year has seen considerable change within my group of friends. I have reconnected with old friends, met and bonded with new people, and ended a few toxic relationships. As John Dunne wrote, "No man is an island," and I am very thankful to have expanded my support network with such great people.
In the midst of the Great Recession (and despite what the economists say, it certainly doesn't feel like things are in much of an upswing lately), I am very thankful to have a job, even it is a temporary position. I have a steady source of income that is actually related to what I studied in college, does not involve multiple hours a day of data entry, and does not involve being on my feet all day. I get to work at the institution that I long dreamed of working for. Even if I don't love every aspect of what I do, I am very lucky and thankful for my job, and the people I have met through it.
All things considered, it has been a great year, and I am feeling very fortunate indeed. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?