Thanksgiving feels a little weird for me, this year. I mean, let's face it -- as a nation, 2017 hasn't been a stellar experience. We've seen tumult, tragedy, and unprecedented divisiveness. Every day, the gap between right and left grows wider and seemingly more impossible to cross. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't feel like there's much to be thankful for.
But personally, 2017 has been a banner year for me, and that leaves me both insanely grateful and also conflicted. It is hard to feel justified in my own personal victories when so many people are afraid of losing their healthcare coverage, their taxes skyrocketing, or have lost someone to gun violence in the last 12 months. And so, I feel guilt.
But I cannot deny that I am incredibly thankful for the year that I've had, that my family has had. I am thankful for my eldest daughter, who continues to expand her independence as she moves through her college education. I am thankful for my eldest son, who has grown so much as an individual, this past year, and who is turning into a kind, generous, and thoughtful young man with big dreams of his own. I am thankful for my younger daughter, whose artistic abilities expand almost exponentially on a daily basis, and in whom I see the fire of the creative drive. And I am so thankful for my youngest son, who has outgrown many things, including his clothes, many of his toys, and his first chapter books, and grown into stories that we devour together, into the early grasp of empathy and compassion that makes my heart sing. I am thankful every day for a husband who works tirelessly to provide for all of us, who has supported my dream of writing from day one, even when I thought it was laughable. I am thankful for his utter faith in me, his laughter in my life, and his shoulder when I need it.
Even more personally, I am thankful for the strength I've found in myself as I become more comfortable in my new(ish) day job. I am thankful for the amazing opportunity to take my children to see HAMILTON this year. I am super thankful for the opportunity I had to travel to NYC, the very first solo trip of my life. I am grateful for the expanded writing community that I have found a place within, the new friends I've made, the new networks I've been invited into.
And I don't even have the words to express how thankful I am for the opportunity to achieve the dream of my heart. One hundred sixty six days from now, a book that I wrote, with my name on the spine, will be available in the bookstore when I walk into it. It doesn't really feel real, even now. Even when I have put in all the work, I've seen the cover, I've discussed the marketing plan. I don't know if it will really feel real until the moment I see it on the shelf, hold it in my hand. Or maybe, it will always feel just a little surreal. And I'm okay with that, because magic should feel a little unreal.
I've had to learn, this year, that it is possible to feel both joy and despair. That I can be ecstatic about my personal life and also anxious and terrified for the nation, the world, at large. I've had to learn that it is okay to enjoy the successes I achieve, so long as I'm also aware of the struggles happening around me. I have learned that I can be more than one person, more than one thing. And I'm learning that I don't have to be defined by one thing. I'm learning to say "No" to the things I cannot or don't need to be doing, and saying yes to more board games, more phone conversations, and more quiet moments with those that I love.
I am thankful for every minute that we've lived over the last year, I am thankful for the new opportunities that have come my way, and I am so very thankful for every person that has held me up while I struggled to get where I am. I hope that every one of you has a peaceful, perfect holiday and that you're surrounded by people who hold you up, when you need it. Health, happiness, and harmony to all of you, today and every day.