Remembering What I am Thankful For

I took some time off from writing recently; intentionally this time.  Turns out my last post was a bit heavy even for me.  While I’m glad I was honest about my struggles with depression, and proud I was able to be open about easily my lowest moment in my life, talking about that stuff still takes a toll on me and my happiness.

While that story isn’t finished yet, I thought it would be nice change of pace if I maybe mixed in a blog about some positive aspects of my life.  Yes, there are many positive things in my life, lol.  During my little self-imposed hiatus I ran across a particular submission at one of my favorite blogs I love to read called People I Want to Punch in the Throat. What can I say; the title of this blog just speaks to me.

The author of this blog speaks my language. She’s snarky, funny, straight-forward, and an all around smart ass.  In short, she’s my kind of person. But this particular post she set her normal self aside and talked about the 10 things she was most thankful for.  This inspired me to do the same thing.  I spend a lot of time looking at the things in life that upset me, that it made me think that maybe I should pump the brakes a bit and focus on the truly awesome parts of my life.  So, here we go, the 10 Things I am Thankful For:

#1 My Family/Loved Ones – When I say family I usually mean something completely different that most people.  Let me be crystal clear, when I talk about family, very rarely am I referring to the individuals who are “blood related” to me.  Those are the people who have made my life such a struggle.  Those are the people who could care less whether I am alive or dead.  The family I am referring to are the multitude of people I have been blessed to come across in my life who have been gracious enough to see me for who I really am; and still love me, lol. These people see the broken person I am, with the rough exterior, and that not that deep down there is a sensitive, loving person who just wants to be loved in return.  And they are happy to oblige.  These people motivate me to be a better person; to look at myself in a more positive way; and to trust that I am not what my other “family” tried to make me; I’m actually a good person.

#2 The Wife – True, while the Wife is technically part of my family; it’s just different.  I have said it before, so I have no problem saying it again, meeting the Wife is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  I’m not the easiest person to love.  It takes a special kind of person to love me, let alone want to spend their life with me, and have a child with me.

The Wife gets me; it’s that simple.  She knows how to make me laugh; she knows what buttons to push to tickle me, upset me, motivate me…pretty much any reaction she wants, she knows where to look.

We’ve been together for 7 years now, yet it feels like I have known her my whole life.  I wish I had, maybe things would have been more positive.  We have been through so many ups and downs together, and we’re still together.  Things aren’t always great between us; life gets in the way sometimes.  Hell, sometimes things are downright difficult…but no matter where we are in life, or how much we may struggle, we always remember how much we love one another.

The Wife brings out the best in me.  I don’t always recognize it, or give her the credit she deserves, but all I can say is to quote Melvin Udall (played by Jack Nicholson) in As Good As it Gets, “You make me want to be a better man.”  I love you Wife, and I always will.

#3 My Son – While the little booger has only been around for 4 months (outside the womb that is) I feel like he’s been here forever.  Every day I look at him and I see hope.  I see hope for a great future.  I renewed optimism in life and excitement for the unknown.  I love watching him grow and develop, and I find myself wanting more and more with every breath.  I want him to grow up so fast, yet never grow up at all, all at the same time.  No matter what is going on in my day; no matter what problem has me down or frustrated, one quick little smile or chuckle from my son is the easy fix-all.  Even this week, as he has been kind of a punk every time we interact, he’ll sneak me a quick smile, and there is no way I can stay frustrated with him….and he knows it, lol.

#4 My Friends – It has taken some time for me to be honest with myself about this, but I have a lot of acquaintances, and very few “true friends” in this world, as again I look at that word differently than probably 90% of people today.  This is for a multitude of reasons.  Most importantly because I don’t always allow people to get close enough, or trust people enough, to allow them to break through to be in a place where it is possible they could hurt me, or even “know” me.

It takes a lot for me to break from my habits of holding people at arm’s length, and instead being vulnerable enough to allow people in….and thus, my friends deal with a lot from me, and they still love me.  So for that I am forever grateful.

Since moving away from San Diego 4 years ago I must admit it has been very hard on me mentally, and emotionally, as I miss my friends so much.  I have needed their love and support many times since we moved to the East Coast, and it has been a huge struggle not having someone to lean on. My friends are some of the best people I know in this world, and I love them for how awesome they are in every way.

#5 My Writing – I guess the Wife kind of deserves a lot of the credit for this; or the bulk of the blame if you think my writing sucks, lol.  I used to write a lot as a kid.  In fact, even though I couldn’t write my way out of a paper bag in school (or write my way to good grades), I would write short stories in my private time, and dream of being a writer some day.  I never showed my writing to anyone, until one day I showed a girl I was dating, and she told me outright my dream was joke because my writing was garbage….awesome right?  I never wrote again…until one day the Wife encouraged me to sit down and write out my feelings…and here we are now.  See, I told you she brings out the best in me.

#6 My Sense of Humor – I’ve always seen myself as a pretty funny person.  Like I’ve talked about before, telling jokes and spinning some good stories was a way I dealt with my depression as a kid, and I was pretty good.  My ability to laugh and tell jokes has gotten me through some dark times in my youth, but more importantly, it has brought me closer to the wonderful people in my life.

#7 The People Who Read My Drivel – Seriously….I don’t know why you read this stuff, but I am so grateful.  You’ve rekindled my dream of being a writer someday.  Luckily, the term “being a writer” is so loose and relative these days…what, with blogs and all.  So I guess I’m living the dream, lol.  But in all seriousness, as much as I would love to have thousands of followers like these big-time blogs, I am happy there is even a “1” in the follower/read columns of my blog stats.

#8 My Veteran Status – I proudly served in the United States Army.  The greatest military in world.  It’s during my time in the service that I truly started to grow up.  I was able to distance myself from the negative forces of my family and start to grow on my own.  I met so many wonderful people during my time in the service.  I think of all the friends I made every day.  I owe many of those people a great deal, as they helped me become the man I am today.  Mostly, I learned how to love something more than myself, and how to fight for something bigger than me.  I also learned what it “really” means to be patriotic.  And just to fill you in; the real meaning behind that word has nothing to do with the shit these D-Bag politicians talk about, or the moron Tea Baggers.  Put on a uniform; pick up a rifle; man a post, or shut the F up!  Thank you.

#9 My Passion – I see so many people walk around this world with nothing to believe in that I wonder how they even enjoy life at all.  Hell, I used to be one of those people.  Like I have written about before, it wasn’t until I met the Wife that I discovered my voice and my desire to see things change in this world.  I’ve written about an array of topics that spark my passion; whether it’s fighting for my LGBT friends and loved ones, or speaking about my fellow military veterans , or about Shia Labeouf ruining my childhood memories. I’m still looking for that dude!

#10 Bendy Straws – Seriously, is this not the greatest invention known to man?  I say yes.  Why are bendy straws so awesome? They have a totally different feel than a normal straw. It gives a much cooler vibe with such a small little bend. When taking off the wrapper of a straw everyone knows the trick of putting water on the wrapper to make it expand…but you don’t feel cooler after doing that.  You know what’s cool, drinking your beverage of choice out of a bendy straw. When you hear people talking about how wasteful we are and how what we do is so detrimental to the environment…but no one says we need to get rid of the bendy straws, because everyone loves a bendy straw.  Whenever I go to a restaurant and the waiter/waitress puts a bendy straw in front of my for my beverage….BANG…automatic 20% tip.

Come on, did you actually think I was going to make it 10 straight super-serious heart-felt things?  Shame on you, lol.

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