Many of my friends made November into an exercise in gratitude, taking time each day to be thankful for an aspect of their lives and to share those thoughts on social media sites. I didn't climb onto that bandwagon, even though I enjoy challenges and I think that this one in particular is wonderful and meaningful, because I was in a dark and bitter place as November rolled in. I didn't feel like I could be genuine in my gratitude.
I feel like it's been a long, rough year, and I will be genuinely glad to shut the door behind it. I suspect that I will feel tears of relief on my cheeks when the New Year is rung in. I sat to write this post today, and at first, all I could think to say was that I'm grateful the year wasn't any worse than it was, but that isn't really in the Thanksgiving spirit, is it?
I am thankful, above all, for my husband. He has been a steady and level presence, as he always is, and he has helped to hold me up. More than ever, this year, I am grateful that we cope with life's rough patches in different ways and that our personalities complement each other. If I'd married someone who was more like me, this would have been an even more difficult year. I am so, so grateful for his love and patience.
I'm thankful for my family back home in Montreal (and Vancouver!). I don't see them as often as I would like, but phones and the Internet are wonderful things (for which I am also grateful) and help us to stay together. I'm glad that my parents are both happy to put their busy lives aside to answer when I call, and are so eager to stay involved in my life.
I'm thankful for all of my in-laws, for being the sort of people who call me family and mean it. I don't think I could have stayed here without knowing I will always have the support of my American family.
I'm thankful for my friends, both online and off. They trust me to listen to their troubles and offer support, and they are always ready to return the favor. I'm especially grateful that they are the type of people who are happy to pick up the friendship where we last left it, if time and work and life's demands keep us apart for a while.
I'm thankful for my home and all the projects we've accomplished in it.
I'm thankful that I now have a job that pays my bills without jeopardizing my health, and coworkers who enjoy being silly whenever they can get away with it.
I'm thankful for the tools I've learned to use against the heavy blanket of depression, and for the progress I've made so far.
I'm thankful that many of my complaints are "First-World Problems". I live in a peaceful country (angry election rhetoric notwithstanding), where I can do, learn, and say what I please, and I always have clean water and access to good medical care. Compared to much of the rest of the world, I've got it pretty good, so I guess a little gratitude is called for. I'll try not to forget that as I welcome a new year.