grateful /grātfəl/, adj.

Some years back — I think I was still in middle school at the time — my brother wrote a note on Facebook (major #tbt) to commemorate the end of the school year. In it, he’d taken the time to individually thank about ten of his closest friends and celebrate their friendship.

The catch: He didn’t name them by name. His note became a public, but also a very personal “thank you,” and one that had the added fun of riddling out who was who.

I liked what he’d done, so I picked up the practice whenever the opportunity arose. A similar idea structured my last year’s Thanksgiving blog post, and I know at least two other versions of this gratitude list are floating around somewhere on the Internet (perhaps also in the form of Facebook notes).

This year, I was tempted to compose another one of these posts, but it was beginning to feel like a cop out.

Like most people, I generally hang out with the same couple handfuls of friends on a regular basis. They inherently receive more of my “thank you”s than others whom I see less, which makes sense. But continuing to write my contained list began to feel like I was playing favorites, implying that these “other people” were somehow less deserving of my gratitude.

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Photo Courtesy of Death to the Stock

For the past seven months, a close friend of mine has been trying to engrain in me the practice of finding daily positivity. When she knows I’m having a particularly rough day, she’ll hear out my complaints, then ask, “Tell me three good things about your day.” (It’s very impressive how well she can get me to do this.)

I’ve been reluctant to follow her lead, but once I actually went with it, I realized that her practice of picking out the tiny gems of each day has actually done me a lot of good. It’s not quite a practice I’ve picked up independently yet, but I’m coming around to it slowly, but surely.

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Photo Courtesy of Death to the Stock

Given that Thanksgiving was already three days ago, it’s a little late to be expressing thanks. But then again, there is never really a bad time to be thanking people, ever.

This year has been long and it has been trying, and I have so much gratitude for everyone who has helped me get through it.

I’ve tried my best to include as many people as possible in my following thank you’s, and I’m about 99% sure that I’ve gotten all of you (like Santa, I also make lists). But if you’re unconvinced, let me know. Because I want you to know that I appreciate you too.

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Photo Courtesy of Death to the Stock

To everyone who’s received a random message from me out of the blue and actually responded — thank you for replying. Yes, even if our conversation died after three messages, I still thank you. It’s far easier nowadays to ghost people and to leave things unread than it is to give them a proper reply, so yes, I am grateful that you gave me a moment out of your busy day.

It feels like half a lifetime ago already, but thank you to all the people who helped me struggle through my last semester of college and put up with my prompt follow-up messages to hang out. I occasionally felt like I was being clingy to some of you via text, messages, or even just on Facebook, but you all reassured me that you appreciated my wanting to spend time with you — even if you teased me for it.

For the people I’ve met in the seven months since graduation, and those who have stuck around through the gap from college, thanks for having my back. Even if our interaction was just the smallest of moments on Facebook, I still appreciate that you took the time to pay attention to what I had to say.

A slightly larger and more intentional thank you, because this cannot go unsaid: Thank you to the people who have received walls of text or earfuls of monologues from me about any of the many things that was on my mind that day. My gratitude and love for all of you has no bounds, and I know I am so very fortunate to have all of you in my life.

And finally, thank you to everyone and anyone who has read my blog this year. Paying too much attention to likes and clicks on social media has a bad reputation, but when it’s for something as personal as your writing, it becomes a form of support on a completely different level. I was floored a little when a not-small handful of you reached out to me after reading a few of my blog posts this year. Each time it happened, it was the absolute highlight of my day, and I cannot tell you enough how loved I felt because of it.

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