I have learned throughout my life, to not take it for granted what I have. I am reminded of that every single day when I walk into my work. It is that time of year when we all specifically take the time to reflect on all we have to be thankful for, even if all we have is just a little.
I am thankful for my job. I have always wanted to make a difference in the world. I am not here on this earth to make big bucks and get rich with a job in an office. Every single day, I wake up knowing that today, I will make a difference for someone. It might be the 2 hour break the mom down the hall gets from her children’s homework (which is surprisingly very frustrating for 1st grade homework). It might be the one hour of my time that they get to sit and talk, express their concerns and get some advice or just a listening ear. I am thankful for the youth in our program. They make me laugh (sometimes pull my hair out) daily. Every day I express to them that they can do big things one day, and I hope I hear all about it. When they leave here, I hope they take two things with them, they are worth something and that they can do anything if they put their mind to it. I hold them to a higher standard than many, I refuse to lower that bar just because they are in Ward 8 or are from South East DC. Nope, no way, I don’t care where you are from, you can, and I expect that you WILL be that success story, that one who beat the odds. I refuse to believe our youth are lost causes. My job, while stressful and emotional at times, makes me a better person. I am thankful I can say that.
I am thankful for my parents. My parents are the rock that I stand on. I moved out for good the summer of 2009 and during that time, while I was mostly independent, there were times I needed help. They were always there to support me. No matter what, they were there. Through moves, heartache, stress, meltdowns, bills, success, everything; they were there for it all. I wouldn’t be where I am today if they weren’t there with me.
I am thankful for my brother. My little brother has come so far. I still remember the proud feeling I had, seeing him standing tall at his Marine Corps graduation. Now, almost 4 years later, as he is preparing to get out of the military, he is researching schools and programs and has decided to get his degree. He has matured (ok, not all the time, but he has his moments) into a funny, kind hearted man. I can genuinely say my brother is my friend and nothing makes me happier for that. There were times I didn’t think that would happen.
I am thankful for my love, Eric. I knew from the beginning that my relationship with Eric was different. What I don’t know was that it was true love. Everything I thought I knew about being in love was wrong. Finally I found someone who makes me happy, truly and genuinely happy. Love with Eric is easy. Yes, living in different states and having crazy work schedules makes it more challenging, but it still is easy. I have never questioned his love for me, I know exactly where he stands. He is supportive of everything I do. I love that we go outside and play, but can also stay in and watch a movie on the couch. Meeting him was the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I am thankful for my education. In high school, going to college was the next step, I never knew any other option. In college I found friends that I will have for a lifetime. I learned many lessons about life and love, but I also had fun. The four years I spent at the University of Maryland were some of the best years. Going back to school to get my Master’s Degree (times two) was a scary decision, but lots of hard work, missed social gatherings and hours of sleep and I am one class away from being finished. I cannot wait to be able to say I have two master’s degrees. More than all of that, I am finally using my degrees in my work. My undergraduate work closely mirrors my work at SOME. The knowledge of nonprofits and the MBA will hopefully allow me to move up in this organization one day, however, I am seeing aspects of all three degrees in my everyday work. Nothing makes me happier than FINALLY doing something with my degree. (I also can’t wait to hang them up on my wall – all 3 of them!)
I am thankful for my family. I am realizing more and more just how special it is that I am 29 and I have all four of my grandparents living. They have all been a source of support throughout my life. I have found memories throughout my life with them.
I am thankful for my friends. My inner circle of friends, the ones I turn to on a regular basis, are so special to me. Aubrey, the bestest, keeps me sane and life in perspective. She lives far away from me, but we talk almost every day, and when we get together its like nothing has changed. My college friends Meg, Jill, Carol – and their spouses (even though two who would go under high school friends – we became closest in college) have been through a lot with me, heartache and happiness. We don’t always see each other too often (though hopefully that will change once we all migrate to the same area – Beadles, you know you want to move to Frederick) but when we do the laughs and fun are never ending. I am still friends with a couple high school friends. Chrissa and Jess has helped me when facing scary times in my life, unemployment, moving, breakups and the good times too. They share their children with me and allow me to be Aunt Angela and come snuggle up squishy and not so squishy babies when I need a fix. When I was sad, Jess suggested I come to the beach for New Year’s Eve. I didn’t really want to, but I did. That changed my life, because that is when I met Eric. I have a lot of other Friends in my life who brighten it up, and just because they aren’t listed by name, by no means, makes them less important to me. I am truly blessed to be surrounded and supported by such wonderful people in my life.
And of course any pics I have of Jess or Chrissa are on my old phone. I only have pictures of their kids on my phone now. Either way, I love them anyway.
I am truly blessed. This just scratches the surface of my blessings.