It seems the latest trend on Facebook and Twitter involves daily postings about gratitude throughout the month of November. I really like this idea, but as per usual, I procrastinated until it was kind of too late. Besides, I’ve never been particularly trendy. Ever. For instance, if I happen upon something trendy while shopping – entirely by accident, I assure you – I’m usually too intimidated to wear it until at least four years after the trend has passed. Take my new hipster-esque specs…
The first time I became aware of this trend was in 2008 or 2009, meaning they had probably been around for several years before that time. I’m guessing it’s been a solid six years since black framed glasses have been a thing, so I can finally feel comfortable wearing said ex-hipster glasses. Though I should state for the record that laziness/procrastination also played a factor in this purchase in that I simply haven’t bothered to get new glasses since 2001. Also, my glasses aren’t even black – they’re red. So there.
Wow, way to get off topic, Sarah. Nicely done.
Anyway, being grateful is a thing now (which is awesome) so rather than wait several more years, or even several more days, I decided to jump on the bandwagon now. Plus it’s Thanksgiving so it seemed like the ideal time. [Note: if I REALLY wanted to be trendy, rather than list the things I’m grateful for, I would do like my friend Stephen and list the ‘Things I Hate About Cats’ or something equally hilarious. But as I’ve mentioned (several times now) I’m not trendy so gratitude it is!
I am grateful for…
1. My mom – she’s the kindest, most patient woman in the world. I’ve never met anybody who is better able to find the joy in simple things. She instilled in me my love of music. When I became an opera singer she dove right in with me, bought a bunch of opera compilation CDs and went out of her way to learn as much about it as possible. She and my dad have rarely missed one of my performances. She also has an incredibly twisted sense of humor, which I appreciate.
2. My dad – he has sacrificed so much for me over the years. He worked nights for over 26 years so that someone would always be there when I got home from school. He drove me to every voice lesson and rehearsal. For years he and my mom spent every Friday night freezing their asses off at the ice rink to watch me skate. They went years without taking a vacation so that they could afford to send me to private school. He also taught me the importance of faith…and the Old Magoo 😉
3. The rest of my incredibly supportive family – while they are always there to celebrate my successes, it’s also comforting to know that I can fail spectacularly at anything (and everything) and they will still love me.
4. Loyal friends – my people are generally excellent.
5. My best friend Alexis (and her mom) – they are what I like to call chosen family.
6. Music and the fact that I get to make music for a living.
7. My doctors (and the fact that I have health insurance) – in case you missed the post about my recent surgery, my doctors were 99% percent sure that I did not have cancer. Turns out, they were totally right. 🙂 My pathology results came back clean. They still have to monitor things closely, but I’m extremely grateful that they caught the problem early and were able to prevent a much scarier surgery.
8. Health – Overall (and perhaps ironically) I’m healthier than I’ve been in years.
10. The ability to trust my own instincts (and actually remembering to do it!) – I spent the past few years caring way too much about what other people thought, at the expense of my own ideas and instincts. I don’t do that anymore.
11. The fact that I made it through the hurricane (and every other recent natural disaster) unscathed – knock on wood!
12. Our American service men and women – especially my friends/family. Seriously, you are the bravest people I know.
13. That fact that I was born in the USA. Sure, we have our problems, but we’re generally pretty great.
14. The human voice and the fact that I’m not afraid to use mine.
15. Imagination and creativity! Especially in adults. It’s easy for kids, but when an adult can hold on to their imagination and sense of wonder, that’s a beautiful thing. I am privileged to know many such people.
16. The lessons I’ve learned while living in NYC. I may bitch about it a lot, but I’m grateful for the experience of surviving in the city.
17. Discovering the work of Dr. Brené Brown – I believe she is a revolutionary.
18. Rainy days spent in bed reading, or watching Netflix 🙂 (What? There is a lot of good tv out there!)
19. Pumpkin spiced anything – I had pumpkin crème brûlée the other day and it was out of this world.
20. OH MY GOD BACON – I can’t believe it took me this long to bask in the glory that is my favorite cured meat!
21. Internet/iPhone/Social Media – I know it can be a huge time suck, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect with people who might not be in my life otherwise.
22. The day I realized that being a stubborn Irish Catholic New Englander is not a good enough reason to avoid seeing a therapist. In fact, I now believe that that’s an excellent reason to get therapy in and of itself.
23. The fact that my house currently smells like pie.
24. The opportunity to travel and meet lots of amazing people – one of the best perks of being an opera singer.
25. Live theater – whether I’m a participant or a spectator, there’s truly nothing else like it. Of course, I prefer to be on the stage because the energy that radiates from a fully-engaged audience is unlike anything I’ve ever felt. It’s addictive and wonderful.
26. Re-discovering my love of writing and finally having the courage to put some of it out into the world (even if it’s mostly silly stuff.)
27. People who make art!
28. Those moments when you see the best of humanity, often in unlikely places. Like the guy I saw on the subway last week who looked like a total thug, but immediately gave up his seat to a young mother then proceeded to help carry her stroller off the train. It’s the little things.
29. Family traditions – the more ridiculous, the better.
30. Unforeseen blessings already on their way.