November is a month for gratitude. When I really stop and think about it, I have so much more to be thankful for than I generally take the time to realize. Lately, I feel that I’m bursting at the seams with gratitude. I won’t bore you by going on and on about how wonderful my family is (they are), how thankful I am to have a roof over my head (I am), or how awesome it is that I am able to eat regular meals (it is).
Instead, I want to focus on some of the things I normally don’t pay much attention to, because they can be painful, and I’ve wanted to leave them in the past. I’d like to change that. I’d like to stop looking at them as negatives and start viewing them as positives. I think even the worst experiences can teach valuable lessons if we’re ready to learn them.
I am thankful for all of the ex-boyfriends who treated me poorly. I am thankful for the ones who put me down, insulted my looks, the ones who hit on other women right in front of me. As strange as it sounds, I am thankful for the men who used me in one way or another.
I am thankful because without them I might not be able to fully appreciate the wonderful man I married. I went through a lot of bad to get to good, and I am very thankful for my husband.
I am thankful for every crappy job I’ve ever had. I’m thankful for supervisors who had no idea what they were doing, bosses with Napoleon complexes who micromanaged everything into oblivion, and hurtful, back-stabbing co-workers. I am thankful for my worst job ever, the one that, by the end, had me crying on the way to and from work.
I am thankful for everything I’ve gone through because it makes where I am now so much sweeter than it already is. And it is. I love my job now. I never thought I would. So I am certainly thankful.
I am thankful for spending most of my 20s feeling lost. I felt that I had no direction, so I spent most of my time partying … destroying myself. I made a lot of mistakes. I just felt … ambivalent. Disoriented. My life seemed to have no purpose. I wondered why I was here. I felt so … low.
Because of some of the lessons I’ve learned and some of the maturity I’ve gained, life is completely different. I am thankful to have gone through some rough times so now I can savor the much better place I’m in now.
I am thankful for all I’ve gone through because it’s led me to my husband, my children, and my career. And of course, I’m especially thankful for my parents for bringing me into this world (a shout-out to Walt and Marsha), without them I wouldn’t be the crazy, unique person I am. (The crazy gene is recessive, I’m sure.)
So this Thanksgiving, instead of focusing solely on the usual — family, friends, food — maybe take some time to reflect upon what got you where you are. If you’re someone who believes everything happens for a reason, or even if you’re not, you can still give gratitude to some of the less-than-desirable circumstances you’ve encountered along the way in this funny little life. Turning the negatives into positives really casts a different light on your entire existence.
Even though I think I’ve come a long way, I’m still setting goals. We are all works in progress. If you’re someone who feels as if you’re nowhere near where you want to be, keep going. You’ll get there. I promise. Along the way, know that every hard time you’re going through is making you stronger. Depending on what you’re going through right now, it might seem impossible, but maybe, just maybe. ...
You’ll be thankful for this one day.