#DailyWings: “”The aim of life is to live. And to live means to be aware. Joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.” –Henry Miller
It takes only a couple seconds to say we’re thankful for our family, friends, neighbors and mentors – not to mention our education, our food and our jobs. But sometimes, when we’re stuck in traffic during rush hour or we’ve received a terrible grade on a standardized test or the garlic toast burned in the oven or our boss has just laid us off even with the gentlest of explanations, it can be difficult to remember to feel appreciative and to remind ourselves why we work as hard as we do. We forget to stop and take a deep breath.
If you ask me what my favorite part about Thanksgiving is, it’s not the Black Friday shopping or the traveling or even the food (though that comes as a close second, for delicious reasons). It’s being able to take a break from all of the stress and anxiety that come with day-to-day life. Sometimes, we just need space for practicing self-care, to spend time with the people we’re thankful for and to find something to laugh about. To remember why we’re grateful.
Whatever holiday stress or little (or big) anxieties or long-term worries you may have, I’m not here to tell you, “Things could be a lot worse” or “In the grand scheme of things, this won’t matter.” Bad days stink. You might even have a whole bad month, and whatever feelings you have are completely validated. But make yourself a promise that today you’re going to take some time and say, “I am thankful for my life, and I love myself.”
Today, I’ve compiled a list of 27 things that never fail to make me smile and remind me to find joy in the little things. I hope they make you feel the same way:
1. Chocolate fondue and sweet, crispy strawberries.
2. The day your favorite author announces the release of a new novel.
3. That moment when your favorite musician, blogger or artist tweets back at you.
4. Caesar salads that have the perfect combination of shredded cheese, garlic croutons and creamy dressing – not too much, and not too little.
5. Really, really soft flannel.
6. That moment when you’re on an evening walk – and you see a deer. Or a rabbit. (Either way, both are awesome.)
7. Ah-ha! moments
8. Blueberries that you think are going to taste really sour, and then they’re not.
9. When your little cousins tell you they look up to you.
10. When it’s pouring rain outside – and it’s still sunny.
11. Fork-tender ribs that slide right off the bone.
13. That moment when you’re reunited with your significant other, your children, your pets after being separated for too long.
14. Crunchy leaves, perfect for jumping into or throwing up in the air.
15. Visiting your garden in the morning to find that one of your flowers has bloomed.
16. This daddy-daughter dance to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” (if you don’t like Taylor Swift, that’s about to change).
17. That moment when you put the final piece of a puzzle into its place.
18. Your childhood home – the one you grew up in.
19. This #DailyWings quote: “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” –Albert Camus
20. Getting a large discount on a piece of clothing you really love.
21. Adorable babies that smile back.
22. Thinking you’re about to get a Who Wants to be a Millionaire? question about the Boxer Rebellion wrong, and then getting it right.
23. Warm, fresh pajamas straight out of the dryer.
24. When your favorite sports team makes the game-winning shot.
25. A 20-minute nap that actually makes you feel refreshed – not sluggish – when you wake up.
26. That moment when a popcorn kernel is stuck between tooth and gum, and you finally get access to a toothpick and fish it out.
27. When you order hot chocolate and you get extra marshmallows on top.
I am grateful to all of you who continue to read my blog and support me throughout my writing career. Thank you so much for everything! Happy Thanksgiving.