A big sky with many white clouds and the sun peaking through, creating sunbeams. On the horizon is the skyline of downtown Chicago, below which is Lake Michigan.

34 humans, places, things, and feelings I’m grateful for

Thanksgiving in America is a complicated holiday that centers family time and features a whitewashed history.

What’s not complicated is the idea of giving thanks.

Here are 34 humans, places, things, and feelings that I’m grateful for in this moment, in no particular order:

  1. A home with my own office complete with a couch, white board, art, space for all of my stickiness and “stuff,” and a letter-writing corner.
  2. Feeling safe in the day-to-day.
  3. Health insurance, even though it doesn’t cover a lot of what I need.
  4. Technology that lets me visually see family, friends, colleagues, clients, and activists around the world when travel is not possible.
  5. Airplanes for when travel is possible, and a beautiful home city for when it’s not.
  6. Beautiful cultures around the world to celebrate and to learn from.
  7. A quirky neighborhood including trees with eyes, little fairy doors, creative lawn signs to display love for all humans, stoop concerts, bars that love euchre in non-pandemic times, a large and educational bee colony, and a perfect rat imprint in the concrete sidewalk.
  8. A husband who is forever patient, an excellent bridge partner, my biggest healthcare advocate, my balance, and my home.
  9. Friends who sent bagels, custom postage stamps, rage earrings, lavender soaps, a vintage scale, flowers, a crossword puzzle mug, irreverent stickers, post-it notes, mix tapes (cassettes!), cow paraphernalia, and other smile-inducing things during pandemic times.
  10. Friends who respect public health, medical health, and social health, and especially those who respect it all at the same time.
  11. A great job at a great organization with great colleagues, and being able to make this transition in the current context.
  12. The growth, understanding, and friendships gained in my previous job.
  13. The earnest love and joy from puppies and babies.
  14. Black and Indigenous womxn for so many reasons but particularly for leadership, courage, and boots on the ground.
  15. Being able to hold disparate feelings like fear, joy, grief, and gratitude in shared space.
  16. Therapy that helped me move forward in many ways this year.
  17. Downtime (a new word to me!) that includes video games, walks to nowhere, writing, and people-watching.
  18. An orchid that I’ve kept alive for three months and counting.
  19. Friends and family who recognize their own gifts and put those gifts towards improving their communities through politics, the arts, organizations, activism, and conversations.
  20. Friends and colleagues who name injustices and missteps by calling me and others in.
  21. The feeling of being loved and appreciated.
  22. Being able to give in ways that feel purposeful and powerful.
  23. Clients who secretly give me as much learning and growth as I hopefully give to them.
  24. Family that is newly willing to interrogate whiteness.
  25. Movement leaders and grassroots actors who prioritize community voice and care, and who fight in thankless ways for rights, justice, and liberation for all people.
  26. Writers, artists, and truth-tellers who help me and others take in new perspectives and ideas.
  27. Sweatpants, slippers, and my hotel-style robe.
  28. Jewish spiritual leaders who actively embrace justice, learning, and tikkun olam in both prayer and action.
  29. Conversations with people new and old that feel electric.
  30. My body, which has been trying to tell me what it needs for so many years and which I’m now learning to listen to and celebrate.
  31. Clean water and food.
  32. Knickknacks I’ve picked up on travels that evoke memories to savor.
  33. Having a really wonderful accountability buddy.
  34. All of the moments that have led to belly and snort laughs.

For all these things and the many others I hold in my heart, I give thanks as I close out my 34th year.

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