Thanksgiving Eve; known as the biggest party night of the year. It’s also the last night I spent with Jimi alive and the night we took the picture below. I hated that picture when I first saw it. He isn’t even looking at the camera! Then, when he was gone, I looked a little bit harder and fell in love with it. When I actually took the time to pay attention to the details, we are both laughing and he is holding my hand. It’s how I hope to always remember him and that photo is now framed in my living room. It’s funny how, all too often, we don’t notice the details until it’s too late. We don’t appreciate the little things until they are gone and I vowed four years ago to never make that mistake again.
To this day, I still think about what makes some people choose to end their own lives when others hold on through the hardest of times. I look at the woman pushing her shopping cart down Main Street, dirty and cold, not knowing where she will sleep that night. I’ve often tried to imagine what I would do if I ever wound up in that situation. Would I hold on to a life so filled with hardship? There are people out there who appear to have everything; they have money, big houses, designer clothes. They go to the best events, drive fancy cars and vacation on exotic islands. The most exotic place I’ve been is South Beach. And we’re all so surprised when we hear about someone like this taking their own life. What makes one person give up with such finality when other people hold on so tightly to seemingly nothing?
The difference is hope. Whether you are religious, close to your family, in a career you love; whatever it is, there is something we all hold on to that gets us through even our toughest days. And, at the end of those days, we hold on to hope. We have hope that everything else will fall into place one day. We keep hope that we will get what we deserve in life and that our hard work or prayers will pay off one day. And in the meantime, we learn to be thankful for the little things that we do have.
When you’re single, you’re constantly reminded of the things you don’t have. If your family is anything like mine, they are constantly looking to set you up with someone who is “perfect for you”. Usually that person is someone you would never, in a million years, entertain the idea of dating. But still, your family keeps at it. Because you’re single. You don’t have love, or a family to come home to. How could life be worth living without that? We are reminded every day that there must be something wrong with us; that we are hopelessly unlovable and the rest of our nights will be filled with watching reruns alone in our living room. We’re reminded of this every time we go to the doctor and have to check off that “single” box. The only box that ever changes seems to be our age. During the holidays, most of all, we are reminded that we are “alone”. We go to our friends weddings without a plus one, our office holiday parties without someone to dance to the slow songs with and we spend New Year’s Eve wondering if there’s going to be someone nearby to kiss at midnight. There is a reason I usually go to bed before midnight!
I’ve worked hard the past four years to be appreciative of what I do have and not to dwell so much on what I don’t. I learned how quickly the things that mean most to us can be taken away and how painful of a loss that can be. I wear my heart on my sleeve and will never let another opportunity to say “I love you” pass me by. I’ve also learned that being so open about my feelings can scare a lot of people off. Ironically, it’s probably the reason I’m still single! But I hold on to that hope; the hope that one day I will find someone strong enough to not be afraid of that honesty, to not be scared off by someone who loves them out loud. And in the meantime, I have learned to be thankful for those “little” things which aren’t so little at all.
This year, I am thankful for friends who, even when we last left off on bad terms, will drop everything in their lives to make sure I don’t have to sit in a hospital bed alone.
I am thankful for friends who, despite sometimes years of not seeing each other, we can pick up right where we left off and are always happy to be a part of each other’s lives.
I am thankful for the memories I have made with the people who are no longer in my life, whether they have passed on or just moved on.
I am thankful for my nephew’s emphatic laugh when I kiss him all over his face and my niece, who is finally old enough now to say “I love you” and means it.
I am thankful for my cat who runs to the door as soon as I come home, no matter what, and who licks my arm or face in the morning to wake me up if I’ve overslept.
I am thankful for long bubble baths with jazz music and a good glass of white wine.
I am thankful for Central Park and for the Yankees.
I am thankful for my health which many of you know, I haven’t always had.
I am thankful for all of you; you who read every week, leaving feedback or passing this blog along to your friends. I am thankful that you remind me, even on my worst day, that there is something I am good at and that makes a difference, however small, in other’s lives.
And finally, I am thankful that I have learned I have so much to be thankful for and that I hold on to the hope that I will still find the someone who is thankful for me; with all my eccentricities and faults.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones! What are you thankful for this year?
“I hope For more love, joy and laughter I hope We’ll have more than we’ll ever need I hope We’ll have more happy ever afters
I hope We can all live more fearlessly And we can lose all the pain and misery I hope, I hope” ~ The Dixie Chicks, I Hope
“We’re hiding behind skin that’s too tough How come we don’t say I love you enough Till it’s too late, it’s not too late….We only got 86,400 seconds in a day to Turn it all around or to throw it all away We gotta tell ’em that we love ’em While we got the chance to say Gotta live like we’re dying” ~ Kris Allen, Live Like We’re Dying
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