I can’t believe Thanksgiving is just a week or so away! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was basking in summer’s warm glow, walking my sweet pup, and wondering how I was going to gather the courage to leave my job. Now here we are, the holidays are right around the corner and I’m staring my 36th birthday straight in the face! You obviously can’t see me, but I’m totally making that Kevin from “Home Alone” holy shit face ; ) I thought for a long time about what this week’s post was going to cover. The natural assumption would be to talk about the mass quantities of food Americans will consume, and what measures you can take to prevent sending your body’s system into a downward spiral. Don’t get me wrong- I’ll probably preach about this at some point (stay tuned). But, given that this last year has been remarkable in so many ways, I thought I’d devote this week’s post to the crux of what Thanksgiving is really about. That’s giving thanks, y’all. Not pumpkin pie.
p.s. I also tend to get a little sentimental and nostalgic around my birthday every year, so perhaps that’s the source of knitting together this emotionally raw and slightly verbose narrative. Bear with me, folks.
My heart is so filled with gratitude these days that it’s difficult to even fathom yearning for more. And believe me, I’m not against seeking MORE. Sure, your heart should always be acutely aware of your current blessings, but wanting more is essentially what dreams are made of, right? I’m a big fan of making dreams a reality. I guess it’s just that so much of what I used to wish for has actually blossomed into fruition that sometimes I have to take a step back and reflect on how perfect this Universe really is. It often doesn’t feel that way, and I’ve referenced these painful moments before, but the greatest lesson I’ve learned thus far has been to trust life no matter how it’s sliced up and handed to you. There is usually purpose to the pain, it’s just up to us to recognize it and then find gratitude for what we’ve learned.
If you’ve been reading this blog since its inception (THANK YOU!), you may remember in my very first post I discussed that my mission is to always “live life in color”. Color, being an obvious metaphor for living life to it’s fullest… for chasing dreams…for sniffing out curiosities… for taking leaps of faith… and lastly, for being just so damn thankful to be alive. Well, what a colorful year it has been, right? Sometimes the colors were messy, and frequently strayed outside the lines I imagined. When I take a step back though, the picture is so bright and the hues, vibrant. This year could never have been painted alone though, and I’d like to take the opportunity to express gratitude to those people, and even life events, that contributed to my overwhelming sense of gratitude.
— Over the course of this bizarre year, I graduated from Institute of Integrative Nutrition, started my new business, established a blog, developed a series of online courses, and became a barre instructor. For me, that’s a lot of new, albeit awesome, shit to take on in one year. In the process, I’ve met some really incredible and fascinating people. I was introduced to these various people through a multitude of different avenues, but the one common denominator between them is that they each granted themselves the opportunity to pursue what brings them bliss in life. I am so appreciative for these people that extended their support, experience, and inspiration to me. There were plenty of days when I questioned my purpose and yet, there was always someone happily willing to guide me back to confidence. I have been most amazed at the generosity of others willing to share their creative ideas with me, forsaking any sort of competition. Lesson? The world is big enough for us all to be successful. To these mentors, and there are so many, THANK YOU.
–My family has sailed some stormy waters over the past five years. At times, I felt we had each jumped ship and would never hold steady course, together, again. While our family will never look the same as it did before my parents divorced, the last 12 months have fostered a more comfortable “new normal”. As I picked my mother up from work the other day, I spotted her standing on the corner, engaged in a pleasant conversation with my father, who happens to work directly across the street. While they bump into each other frequently in their day to day work travels and have been amicable for several years, it was the very first time since July of 2010 that I had seen them standing together. Silently, as to not disturb their peace, I was a bit overwrought with emotion. A tinge of sadness stung my heart and coursed its way to the tips of my fingers. But, as they said their goodbyes, and headed off in separate directions, I felt secure in knowing each would be enjoying their evenings in their respective homes. At the end of it all, love and security are all you can really ask for from your family. I am so thankful for mine, even in it’s often dysfunctional, hard to decipher form. Sometimes the strongest lines painted on a canvas aren’t the most electrifying. To my family, our love, and our “new normal”- THANK YOU.
–When my grandmother passed away when I was nineteen years old, I was asked to speak with several of my cousins at her funeral service. I struggled to find the right words to describe this saintly woman and the only colloquialism I managed to conjure up was “humanly perfect”. Btw, obviously I made the right decision switching out of English as my major that year ; ) But for lack of better words, “humanly perfect” embodies the concept that despite being vulnerable to the flaws with which we are all subject to given the human nature, a rare number of people exist whose hearts are so pure that that even the most skeptical atheist can witness God in them. My husband is one of these extraordinary “humanly perfect” people. His intrinsic kindness is unsurpassed. He loves hard, and he loves openly. Most mornings I wake up, I set the intention to be just even half as kind he will be that day. I have wondered many times how I would react if he came to me and announced he wanted to simply quit his financially very stable job, and embark on something exciting and new, but lacked a true safety net. Because that is essentially what I proposed to him this past summer. He has not only supported me emotionally, but worked tirelessly each evening after long days at his own job, contributing to my business in any which way he can. And in case you were wondering, this also means standing in as a Barre student. If you don’t know anything about Barre, this is an intense Ballet inspired workout and Travis is not Billy Elliott. I could honestly write 100 blog posts about how madly in love I am with the soul of my husband, but I will stop here for today… for your sake ; ) To Travis, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
–I am thankful for my miscarriage. Yes, I had a miscarriage at 10 weeks this past August and yes, at this moment, I am finally able to be grateful for the most devastating pain I have ever encountered in my entire 35 years on this earth. This may fall into the “tmi” category for some of you, but I share this because I am beyond thankful for the women, and couples even, that have so bravely opened up to me about about their fertility struggles. I can only reciprocate my gratitude by paying it forward and sharing my own story with others, in hopes that it gently touches someone else. My husband and I had been trying to conceive for 2.5 years prior to learning I was pregnant this past summer. We had been previously given the “unexplained infertility” diagnosis that leaves far too many couples baffled, and subsequently told that that our chances of conceiving naturally would be very slim. As painful as it was to hear this, I’ll be the first to admit- I’ve never been 100% sure I wanted children. I’ve always pictured myself AT SOME POINT becoming a mother… but that image has just sort of remained stuck in a hazy distant mirage, an arm stretch away in the future. I somehow always saddled this seesaw of being immensely disappointed each month, and yet also slightly relieved, that for another 28 days I got to be just Tina… a free spirited gal, madly in love with her husband, and in constant pursuit of living an epic and awesome life. I’ve just kind of worried that becoming a mother would supersede all that, and that the adventures that make life exciting would dissipate when I wore the mommy badge. While I’ve never judged, I can’t help admitting that the frequent posts I see on social media from mothers highlighting their afternoons with potty training has forced me to wonder if that life is for me. Last spring, my husband confided to me that he too had wrestled with this notion and we decided to put any sort of fertility treatment on hold. I was in so many ways relieved, and actually felt more connected (if that’s even possible) to my husband, knowing we both felt the same way all this time. We would be the super fun auntie and uncle, that spoiled our friends’ and families’ children relentlessly, but could hop on a plane at a moment’s notice to anywhere to see the world! Buttttt, to our total shock and surprise, I discovered I was pregnant in early July. And even more a surprise, was the instant feeling of unequivocal happiness I felt immediately after making this discovery. They say it’s almost impossible to find the words to describe the bond between a mother and her child. I now understand this, and if this was the only time I ever get to feel this again in my life, I will still be grateful. Despite the endless fatigue, and frequent vomiting in my car, I reached a point of happiness I never knew was possible. Then ironically, in the days and weeks after we learned we lost our baby, I grappled with a valley of despair I also never knew existed. People that I confided in graciously shared stories of their own loss, and while this helped restore my faith, I couldn’t imagine waking up without the persistent sadness I found at each new day’s dawn. Until I did. I’m not sure exactly when, but over the course of time, just as others testified, I woke up with more excitement for the day than the one before. Today, I am so thankful for the small sliver of time that I was given to be a mother. I am now certain that if we shall ever be granted this blessing again, it will be everything and more. That being said, as time has distanced us from our loss, I also can say with conviction that if we don’t get this opportunity again, our lives will still be amazing and wonderful… because we will make them so, together. So to our little angel, THANK YOU. Thank you for the love you showed us, and the lessons you taught us.
Now that I’ve written a small novel, I’ll end this post with these parting words. BE THANKFUL… for everything.
So much love to y’all! I am so excited to see what’s in store as a big ol’ 36 year old : )
xo and Happy THANKSGIVING,