The Thankful Project Day 3: “Friends”

I found Friends about 5 years ago – in the peak of my high school life. It was around the same time I had my first shoulder surgery.

Friends gave me laughter when I thought I didn’t have any. It gave me funny storylines and ridiculous love stories. Friends gave my silly things to focus on and characters who are oh-so relatable.

And it’s still that way. Friends, especially now that I’m actually in my 20s and getting ready to face the real world, is relatable. They all struggle with love, money, feeling accepted in who they are, and just being happy and being themselves. And aren’t we all?

That’s the point of the show – for decades of twenty-something year olds to appreciate and laugh along with and cry in happiness when amazing things happen to them. For people to root for Monica and Chandler, and to commiserate with Rachel and Ross over romantic woes. For people to appreciate Phoebe’s struggles with money and family, and Joey’s struggles with following his passion.

All of it is so relatable.

And it makes you feel less alone. Instead of wondering if anyone else has ever felt the same way, I can turn to Friends. It sounds silly, and maybe a little dumb, to be thankful for a TV show that started before I was born, but it helps me – and I’ll do anything to make myself happy some days.

Friends is one of the things in my life with no drama. There’s never any gossip, any kickback, any judgment for liking it. There’s nothing anyone can say or do to make me feel bad for enjoying turning on Netflix to the next episode. Friends just is and that is exactly what I need.

When it feels like my friends couldn’t care less about me, I can care about Friends. When I feel put down, sad, or I just need a good laugh, I can turn to Friends. And when I want to put my focus on being a hopeless romantic, I can watch Monica and Chandler fall in love in their own weird way. When I need anything, I know there’s an episode for that.

Without being cliché, Friends is “there for me.”

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The Thankful Project Day 2: Dad

Today, I want to be thankful for my dad.

My dad who tirelessly supports me and always makes me laugh. My dad who works so hard and teaches me what it is to work for what you want. My dad who constantly inspires me to be better and believe in myself.

When I was 10, my dad picked up and together we rode across the state of California. He cheered me on on the days when it was so windy I thought I would fall off my bike. He shielded me from the downpouring rain. He helped me up the huge hills and supported me through the finish line. He kept me laughing when my legs were burning and I didn’t want to ride anymore.

And if that doesn’t become a metaphor for my dad supporting me through the rest of my life, I don’t know what will.

When my mental health was at the lowest point it’s ever been (thus far), my dad was right there to cheer me on. When I thought college would always be a miserable chore, my dad helped me up to better things.

He was always there for me, and I know he always will be.

And when my best friend from my childhood’s dad died this past week, my dad was right there to keep me standing when it felt like the floor had dropped from beneath me. My dad was right there to share good stories about him and make sure to keep me laughing through my mournful tears.

And that’s what he always does for me, my mom, my sister, everyone. 

When the floor goes missing, or I feel like I can’t do something, or I feel like I’m failing at something, or when I just need someone to be there for me, my dad is there.

He never makes me feel inadequate, or like I’m not good enough. He never makes me feel like I am missing a piece of myself, or like I’m lost. My dad always makes sure I know who I am. My dad always makes sure I can hold myself together. My dad always makes sure I’m found.

My dad always makes sure I cross the finish line.

The Thankful Project Day 1: Park City, Utah

The first thing I want to be thankful for is my hometown, Park City, Utah. Without the move my parents made when I was 11, I don’t think I would be the person that I am now.

Park City has introduced me to wonderful experiences and people and activities. Without Park City, I don’t know if I would have ever found volleyball or writing or my ability to be so open to new experiences. I don’t know if I would have ever met some of my best friends, some of the best people I know.

So, thank you, Park City.

Here, I’ve learned the real value of life and love.Here, I have fallen in love with autumn, and the way seasons change – something I never had in California. Here, my family and I have grown closer, I’ve discovered who I am and settled into that with ease and grace.

In Park City, I have cradled poetry underneath starry night skies, belted country music to my steering wheel on open roads, learned what it really means to call someplace home. 

While it seems odd to be thanking a whole city, and not just my home, or one area of the city, I believe there are spots all around Park City that have helped me become the person I am today.

My actual house is an obvious one – a place where I have found comfort and peace when I wasn’t sure I’d ever feel peaceful again. The mountains are where I discovered my love of nature and aspen trees and discovering new places. The Olympic Park showed me a good work ethic and the essence of having a whole lot of fun. And there are so many other places.

So yes, I’m grateful for my home of Park City. How could I not be?

30 Days Of Gratefulness

I edit for a site called Read Unwritten. And we’ve had a ton of pieces lately concerning being grateful for the little things, and putting down your phone to appreciate life without needing social media or anything like that. And it really got me thinking…

We all have so much to be grateful for.

So, I’ve decided to start a project: for the next 30 days, I’m going to write about 30 different things that I’m grateful for.

By doing this, it will help me take a little time each day to focus on what’s important to me, what’s important in my life. It will also help me focus a little less on the trivial, and more on the important things.

I’m calling this The Thankful Project – 30 days of being thankful for all the great things in my life — the people, the places, the moments, the memories, the things.

So, You’ve Had A Bad Day…

I had a bad day today. Just a plain old fashioned bad day.

And my first instinct was to blame it on my meds not working right. On my depression and anxiety acting up. On my Celiac Disease. On my various aching joints and genetic back issues. On anything but the fact that I just simply had a really bad day. 

I couldn’t tell you what went wrong. I couldn’t tell you why I came home from work and the gym feeling like a failure or just plain shitty. I couldn’t tell you why I got out of the shower and just started to cry. Because there was no rhyme or reason.

Still, as I sat on my bed and cried into my hands, I couldn’t help but want to blame it on something in my life that’s gone wrong. I wanted to curse my medicine bottles for not being enough. I wanted to ask why my depression makes me feel this way. I wanted to reach for a donut just to give Celiac Disease the finger. I wanted to make my back curve the way it’s supposed to and give voice to my aching knees and wail.

Honestly? I just wanted to cry and scream and curse and yell.

So where is the line?

When is it a bad day and not anything else acting up? When is it just my fault? When is it not me hating my body or my body hating me? When is it just an off day? When do I call it and say ‘yep, I might’ve just started the day off on the wrong foot?’

And it’s days like this that make me wonder:

When does it get easier?

When do I get to stop hating walking through the pastry sections in markets? When do I get to stop fearing having children because of this horrific genetic makeup I’d bring them into? When does depression stop trailing behind me like an abandoned dog I once dropped a piece of bread for?

When do I get to feel like I won?

It’s days like this that make me wish I journaled so that just maybe I could track down an answer or see a pattern to all the madness around me.

And maybe that’s the point, right?

Everyone has days like this. Even people without depression, Celiac Disease, etc. Even people who seem perfect on the outside sometimes just go home to cry or vent or scream.

It’s all madness.

Everything around us is chaos. That’s life.

Bad days happen. And it isn’t always for a reason. And it might not get easier; it might get harder, it might stay the same. And maybe every bad day will have me reaching for a journal I don’t have just to see if my body has turned on me further. Maybe every bad day will have me wondering about why I am built and made up the way I am.

But you’re dealt your cards, and you learn to live with them. You learn to bet on them. You learn to bet on yourself.