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:
- 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.
- Feeling safe in the day-to-day.
- Health insurance, even though it doesn’t cover a lot of what I need.
- Technology that lets me visually see family, friends, colleagues, clients, and activists around the world when travel is not possible.
- Airplanes for when travel is possible, and a beautiful home city for when it’s not.
- Beautiful cultures around the world to celebrate and to learn from.
- 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.
- A husband who is forever patient, an excellent bridge partner, my biggest healthcare advocate, my balance, and my home.
- 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.
- Friends who respect public health, medical health, and social health, and especially those who respect it all at the same time.
- A great job at a great organization with great colleagues, and being able to make this transition in the current context.
- The growth, understanding, and friendships gained in my previous job.
- The earnest love and joy from puppies and babies.
- Black and Indigenous womxn for so many reasons but particularly for leadership, courage, and boots on the ground.
- Being able to hold disparate feelings like fear, joy, grief, and gratitude in shared space.
- Therapy that helped me move forward in many ways this year.
- Downtime (a new word to me!) that includes video games, walks to nowhere, writing, and people-watching.
- An orchid that I’ve kept alive for three months and counting.
- Friends and family who recognize their own gifts and put those gifts towards improving their communities through politics, the arts, organizations, activism, and conversations.
- Friends and colleagues who name injustices and missteps by calling me and others in.
- The feeling of being loved and appreciated.
- Being able to give in ways that feel purposeful and powerful.
- Clients who secretly give me as much learning and growth as I hopefully give to them.
- Family that is newly willing to interrogate whiteness.
- 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.
- Writers, artists, and truth-tellers who help me and others take in new perspectives and ideas.
- Sweatpants, slippers, and my hotel-style robe.
- Jewish spiritual leaders who actively embrace justice, learning, and tikkun olam in both prayer and action.
- Conversations with people new and old that feel electric.
- 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.
- Clean water and food.
- Knickknacks I’ve picked up on travels that evoke memories to savor.
- Having a really wonderful accountability buddy.
- 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.