I don’t know if you’re like me but I LOVE birthdays. I’m SO into the personal development, milestones, setting goals, analyzing progress piece of it all. I love the fresh start, the new lap around the sun, the reflection of the previous year.
I couldn’t wait to turn 30 last year. I told anyone and everyone. I was convinced 30 was going to be the best year of my life. It was “on-brand” for me. I had done the 20s thing, was at a good point in my career, found my soulmate, everything was falling into place. 30 was going to be MY YEAR. Spoiler alert – 30 (2019) was the worst year of my life. My mom unexpectedly & suddenly passed away in June. There was a huge restructuring and layoff at my job in August. My two biggest venues/accounts were delayed and didn’t open.
By January 2020, I was SO over 30 but was excited about the start of a new calendar year. If my birthday measurement was going to screw me over, we could say goodbye to 30 but hello 2020! Fast forward 12 weeks, the world is now in social isolation. I’ve been laid off and am unemployed. I’m apart from my family. I’ve had an aggressive pink-eye infection for over a week now. All around, things just aren’t what they’re supposed to be.
Instead of looking back at the last year and trying to piece together some sort of progress or setting goals for the next year (because I’m truly learning time & time again we never know what the future will hold) I’ve decided to spend this birthday simply being grateful. I’m shifting my focus from “go go go” to reflection, from planning to appreciation.
Here are 31 things I’m grateful for:
1. My Mom – Although she’s not here physically with us anymore, I’m so grateful for the example she left of how to truly live your life right. I’m so grateful we had 30 years together and that I was smart enough to pay attention to how she was such an outstanding mother, wife, friend, role model, teacher, cheerleader, therapist, etc. When I’m lost or confused, it’s easy to ask myself, “what would mom do?” and in an instant, I get a sense of clarity.
2. My Dad – My dad is one of my best friends and has always been there for me. I’m grateful for his wisdom, advice, guidance, dad jokes, and “recipes” in the kitchen.
3. My Relationship With My Sister – Although we haven’t always gotten along, over the past year our relationship has matured and deepened and for that I’m so grateful. She also gave me my little nephew, Oliver, and he’s a good time so another point for why I’m grateful for her.
4. My Boyfriend – From the highs of two weeks in Europe to the lows of a deployment or loss of a parent and everything in between, Matt is my very best friend and someone I cannot imagine going through life without. I probably don’t say it nearly enough (especially because neither one of us are “words of affirmation” people) but Matt, if you’re reading this, know that I am so incredibly grateful for you every single day!
5. My Friends – I have some of the absolute greatest friends around. I know everyone says that but I mean it. We now live all over the country but I cannot imagine my life without each and every one of them. Some are from college, some from work, some old friends, some new but I wouldn’t be half the woman I am today without this fierce girl gang in my corner. Love you all so much!
6. Facetime – Especially in this period of social isolation, I’m grateful for the technology that allows us to see our loved ones. I’m grateful that auto-immune compromised people can see their friends, that people in nursing homes can chat with their grandchildren, that special occasions can still be celebrated with face to face interaction.
7. Access to News – While I sometimes find myself cursing my FB feed and the spread of bad news out there, I can’t help but be grateful that I’m able to access news from a variety of sources. So many people across the world still don’t have that freedom.
8. Netflix & Hulu – Had to include them on the list. I’m grateful that I’m able to disconnect when needed and spend some time with my favorite characters.
9. Youtube – I’m so grateful for the home workouts & the access to free learning. In launching this blog, I can’t even begin to count how many times I had to jump over to Youtube to figure out how to tweak a setting or configure a plug-in.
10. Access To Healthy Food – I’m grateful that I live somewhere where the shelves are still mostly stocked with what I want. I’m grateful that I can still afford groceries. I’m grateful for everyone who is showing up and taking on extra risks to keep our food supply chain operational and moving. To the truck drivers, stockers, cashiers, janitors, farmers, etc. I am so grateful for you!
11. My Job (The Job I Had) – I’m so grateful to be a part of the #RMDFam. Before the pandemic, I was a Marketing Manager with RMD Group, a hospitality company in San Diego. I’ve grown through multiple positions within the organization and this summer would have marked six years of working for RMD. I don’t know what the future holds but hope that one day soon, I’m back, finally opening Huntress & Lumi, and working on our next newest project! RMD showed up for me & my family when my mom died. I met Matt at an RMD venue. Some of my best friends are my RMD coworkers. They’ve invested thousands of dollars in my professional and personal development, always encouraging me to advance my skills not only for my role at work but in myself and the future. During the last few weeks, I’ve watched the senior management team come together and volunteer their time to make care packages and cook meals for the industry employees who have been laid off during this time. I’m grateful that even though I was scared to apply for a job with them because I thought it was way out of my league (true story – it took me over six months to apply for a position) I’m so glad I took the chance in 2014 and got started on my journey. I’ve grown up with RMD and will never be able to put into words all the different ways I’m grateful for this
12. Clean Water – I can’t believe that we’re still living in a world where so many don’t have access to clean water. I’m so grateful that I get to wake up each morning and shower, brush my teeth, cook, drink water, etc. in my own home and don’t have to worry about getting sick. Definitely something I don’t express gratitude for enough.
13. Amazon – Have to keep it one hundred, ya know? While clean water to Amazon may be a jump, I’m multi-passionate. 🙂 I couldn’t leave Amazon off this list (and yes I know there are some big hurdles to overcome and improvements to be made) but in this time of social distancing, I’m grateful to have an easy way to order books, household supplies, gifts for friends, and Nashville hot honey. (no I’m not joking, trust me – it’s delicious)
14. The Internet – If this pandemic and shut down had happened 20 years ago, I can only imagine what we’d all be doing. Probably fighting with our siblings over Oregon Trail. I’m grateful that we have the technology to work from home, get necessary information, stream shows, be creative, start a side hustle, etc.
15. Facebook Groups – One of the biggest blessings during this pandemic for me personally has been the time to be active in the Facebook groups I’m a part of. I need the positive vibes of my tribe over in the Style Your Mind Academy monthly membership group. I love bouncing ideas and learning from other bloggers in Boss Girl Bloggers. I laugh, get my Sephora sale recommendations, and analyze Netflix’s newest reality show with my girls over in Basic Repellent. I make my weekly meal plan based on advice from the Instant Pot Community. There really is a group for everything and once you find the good ones, the sense of community and connection is amazing!
16. Family Traditions – Not everyone has the upbringing or childhood I did and that’s something that I don’t take for granted. I’m so grateful for a loving and nurturing upbringing and the family traditions we’ve made. I’m grateful for the marbles game I now share with my friends. I’m grateful for our Christmas tree decorating passion. I’m grateful for our family photo albums.
17. My Instant Pot – I’m grateful to spend more time playing with this fun tool. I love my Instant Pot and I’m grateful for the new recipes I’ve been making. Check out my Tuscan Chicken Pasta recipe here!
18. Freedom of Religion – Another one we take for granted. I’m grateful that we live in a country where while physical churches are closed they can stream services online freely.
19. The Restructuring of RMD in 2019 – While this might seem like a weird one to include on the list because it was so hard for everyone involved (and many friends/coworkers were out of work), had RMD’s restructuring not happened, I wouldn’t be in the place I am today. I wouldn’t have been jostled to get back on track with my financial goals. I wouldn’t have been prepared to pay my bills while being unemployed. In a time where 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck and 39% can’t cover an unexpected $400 emergency same day in cash, I’m grateful I’ve taken the steps to get my finances in order. I’m also grateful for the soul searching that’s occurred since then. A big company lay off will make you start to question what’s really important, what do you like about your role, what would you do if you no longer had that job, what do you wish you could spend your days doing? While I don’t have all the answers right now, I’ve had some really honest conversations and personal growth over the last six months.
20. Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music – I’m grateful that I don’t have to carry around a binder full of CDs anymore. I’m listening to music all day when I’m working at home (check out my favorite WFH playlists here), working out, or even just cooking dinner.
21. My Rooftop Deck Space – While we’re all bored in the house and in the house bored, I’m grateful that my condo has a private rooftop deck. It’s a nice little space to soak up the sunshine and get some fresh air.
22. Big Lots – I’m letting you all in on my shopping secret. I love Big Lots. My mom loved Big Lots. My sister loves Big Lots. My dad actually may not love Big Lots but that’s okay. I got my super cute outdoor patio set from Big Lots. Most of my seasonal/holiday decor comes from Big Lots. Don’t knock it till you try it. Seriously add Big Lots to your list of places to visit once we’re not in social isolation anymore and then come back and thank me.
23. Literacy – From a family of teachers and as Pi Beta Phi’s main philanthropic focus, I have a long history with literacy. I am so grateful I had access to an education that taught me literary skills. Did you know 36 million adults in the US struggle with reading basic sentences? The National Assessment of Adult Literacy shows that one in four children in the US grows up unable to read. Illiteracy is one of the biggest barriers to success. If being able to read this blog is something you’re grateful for, consider donating to a literary cause today. FirstBook, the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, and Pi Phi’s program Read > Lead > Achieve are all great options to consider.
24. Online Learning – I’m grateful that if I want to learn more about coding, building a website, optimizing for SEO, or even how to make bagels I can quickly find a resource online. I’m grateful for Yale’s The Science of Well-being course. I’m grateful for the Google Academy keeping me up to date with current digital marketing metrics. I’m grateful that on days when I feel up to it, I’m able to use this quarantine time productively learning, training, and advancing my skills.
25. My Body – I may not always be the most thankful and way too overly critical but I am grateful for my body. I’m grateful that I’m in good health and that I can move easily and stay active.
26. Doctors and Modern Medicine – I’m grateful that we live in a world where we can Facetime our primary care physicians. I’m grateful that people are already working on a COVID vaccine. I’m grateful to be in a day & age where if we’re sick, there are options. I’m grateful that there were tests that could quickly identify why mom was sick; that skilled experts could make a treatment plan for her; that they could perform a brain surgery to keep her alive. I’m so grateful for all the healthcare workers out there, especially during these unknown and scary times. Thank you to the hospital admin staff that keep supplies ordered and stocked. Thank you to the janitors who keep rooms and hallways clear & clean. Lastly, thank you to the people who donate to keep testing, keep researching, and keep advancing our medical knowledge.
27. My Bathtub – There are few things in this world that can’t be cured with a hot bath. My favorite self care practice, I’m grateful for living in a condo that has a bathtub. (I really don’t think I could live in a shower only situation).
28. Wine – Where to begin best friend. I’m grateful for the long standing history and traditions that have given us such excellent wines. I’m grateful that I live somewhere where you can buy wine openly and often. I’m grateful that I’m learning more and more about wine and enjoy the tasting profiles and conversation with friends about wine.
29. iPhones – Love hate relationship with my little buddy here but I’m grateful for Candy Crush, apps that allow me to do my job on the go, photo albums that hold some of my most precious memories, and TikTok. Seriously don’t know how I’d be getting through this quarantine without some TikTok in my life.
30. San Diego – I’m so grateful for this city, the opportunities it’s awarded me, the weather, the experiences, the food scene, the list goes on and on. I know one day we’ll have to break up (military spouse problems) but for right now, I’m grateful that I’m not stuck in a place that’s raining and snowing. Love you San Diego!
31. A chance at another day, another year, another opportunity. If there’s one thing I’ve learned this past year, you always think you’ll have more time. Maybe that’s more time for a hobby, more time to advance your career, more time to hang out with your friends, to see your kids, to put into your relationships. Sadly, one day you won’t have more time and many of us will never know when that day is until it’s too late. Be grateful that you woke up this morning. Use this day wisely. Live today.
What are you grateful for today?