Yesterday I did a thing about what it means to be thankful for something and how, as we grow up, that thankfulness shifts and evolves (or should anyway) into something that’s a bit more in line with the given definition–but today I just want to stop and say what I’m thankful for, because as much as I can talk about thankfulness, it doesn’t mean boo if I’m not actually speaking to anything.
On the surface, at first glance, it’s hard for me to land on many things that I’m thankful for. I’m not at the place in my life I would like to be, I’m 23 and still at home, I’m not as good at this or as far along with that, and overtime I look up from what I’ve been busy with, and a month or two or a year has gone by and it feels like nothing has changed. But being in this place has really forced me to think thankfully, to embrace the unique things I do have going for me, because, well, if I didn’t, I’d probably be miserable sighing out “woe is me.”
The reality is, I’m better off and further along than plenty of my peers, maybe not in the way I would like to be, but in the way God has, and the tenacious advance of time and the universe have, deemed it best for me right now.
The past couple of years have forced me to grow up a lot, to learn better who I am and what I want and where I want to go, which isn’t a luxury some people have. A number of the people my age hopped into full-time work right out of high school or college, got married, had kids, moved to Florida, retired–and while there’ve been moments I’ve been envious of those people and their ability to “move forward” through life, I’ve been able to think: about myself, my life, who I am, so on. It seems inconsequential, but I’ve come to believe that some of what causes a person in their 30s and 40s to have a crisis of self and crash down destructively from the “who am I?”s and the “where do I belong?”s is their inability or disinterest early on in figuring out who they are. And while “who am I?” is a rather fluid concept that changes from year to year, a disregard for taking the time to at least get an idea of it makes for one conflicted adult.
So I’m thankful for the time that I’ve had to do that. I honestly believe that given what I wanted right out of college would have resulted in me being a weaker human being. I wouldn’t have been the me I am now, I wouldn’t think the way that I do now, perhaps, and because I’ve had the opportunity to grow in this period, I’m better suited for adulthood, I believe, than some of those around me who are doing it already.
I’m also thankful for my girlfriend, Abbie, who has only known and been with me during the time I’ve been flailing about post-college. She’s never seen me in a state that wasn’t some number on a scale of varying degrees of existential crisis and for that, alone, I am thankful.
She’s been patient, sympathetic, encouraging, attentive. She’s cared enough to think about the options I could take and and how I could move forward in some meaningful way, to love me generously when I don’t know what I’m doing, and been funny enough to make me laugh when the most frustrating moments fall down on top of me, picking me up in the aftermath.
Do I, did I, need her in this stage of my life? Was she necessary in helping me grow?
No–but how happy I’ve been to have her beside me, how incredibly and wonderfully trusted and safe I’ve felt leading onward with her, and how better I am as a person, as a Christian, as a man, and a creator because of her, is unreal in any sort of logical sense–and I’ll never let her go.
I’m thankful for my family, my mom in particular for putting up with me post-college as well at home. I’m the baby. I could have been gone. It could have been her and her cats riding off into the sunset, but I’ve impeded on that I feel like, but she’s never complained about that. She’s an incredible mother for allowing me such lenience during this time of my life. Not many people are so lucky, and I love my mom for that.
I’m thankful for my wanting to create, for my drive to think in the obscure, for the skills and pursuits that will one day, in some way, turn into something great that I’ll be able to support my own family with. And I’m thankful to God for that, and for Abbie, and this time, and my family, because without Him–where would I be? I’d be thankful for nothing if it weren’t for the gift He’s given, and that gift–His mercy–is truly the stitching with which the rest of my life is sewed.
I’m thankful for a lot when I could be thankful for nothing and I’m happy I’ve realized that. I’m thankful for more than I’ve ever been, though I’m just as unsure of where I am, and while next Thanksgiving, and the one after that, I won’t be relieved of my wondering and confusion (even if the circumstances change, something new is bound to come my way), I’ll still be just as, if not even more, thankful because my life deserves it.
There’s some great stuff in it; I can be happy about that.