Being Thankful

Every Thanksgiving I like to reflect on the past year and think about all the positive things that I have going on. This is not something I just do once a year. I try to do this as often as possible, but for me Thanksgiving is always a reminder to do so. I often find myself having many negative thoughts and focusing on all the bad things going on instead of the good. This is a time for me to refocus my thoughts in a positive direction.

This is the time of the year that the semester is winding down and I find myself buried in final projects and assignments. On top of that I am currently transitioning into a new job opportunity. In today’s world it is hard to find time to appreciate the little things. I myself know that I am constantly on the go from one place to another, never really finding enough time in the day to get everything done.It is important to slow down and take time to enjoy everything going on around you.

While spending a month teaching in classrooms this semester I had my students write about one thing they were thankful for. It was interesting to see this through a child’s perspective. I saw a lot of  papers saying “I am thankful for my family” or  listing specific family members, but there were a few that stood out to me. One child wrote about being thankful for his heart. My initial thought process was that he must have had heart problems to make him thankful for this, but after talking to him I realized he was just thankful to have a healthy working heart. Another child wrote about being thankful for being born, yet another good point that as an adult I don’t really think about. I was surprised that I did not get the comment “I have nothing to be thankful for”. I have had thoughts like these sometimes after having really bad days.  Sometimes it takes something really bad happening to remind you of all the great things that you have going for you. Recently I have had some eye-opening moments to help me appreciate everything life has to offer. So I thought I would share some of the things I am thankful and how to keep an optimistic mindset when it feels like everything is going bad.

  1. My health: This one I take for granted way too often, but I am living a perfectly healthy life and for that I am truly grateful.
  2. My family: Another huge aspect of my life that I take for granted way too often. No family is perfect, but I am especially blessed to have such a supportive and selfless family. The people who are always there for me no matter what. A few days before Thanksgiving after a stressful few days I met my parents in Des Moines and had a fun day shopping, eating, and ended the night by going to a movie. It is something we used to do almost every weekend, but since moving to Ames and working weekends I find it more difficult to make time for those things. It was a much-needed day, and had me feeling more optimistic after a difficult week.
  3. My friends: Last weekend I had a much-needed girls night. This is something that I don’t do often enough either, because we all are so busy all the time it can be difficult to find the time. I always leave my friends feeling more confident and refreshed. I have learned over time that it is important to find people who have the same values and goals as you, and better to have quality friends over quantity.
  4. My boyfriend: Reggie is the one person I have spent the most amount of time with this last year. He is the person that is always there for me and has to listen to my list of million complaints all the time. I also take him for granted a lot, constantly raising my expectations and taking out my stressed on him when it is not deserved. It has been a stressful transition since he has moved on both of us, but I am so blessed to have someone who is always there for me when I need and someone who fully understands me.
  5. My job: I have been extremely fortunate to have a very flexible job that works so well with my schedule and is so understanding. I have an amazing job working with kids and I love going to work everyday. Also after a serving for three shorts months and deciding it was not a good fit for me I have gotten a new job opportunity that allows me to work on my own time and from home or where ever I am at. I am so excited for this new opportunity and for some of my amazing new teammates. This is also an amazing company that rewards team members for their hard work with frequent promotions and understands what it is like to be a struggling college student.
  6. School: This one is a love/hate relationship. I often find myself stressed about the seemingly never-ending assignments, but I am so grateful for all the opportunities this semester has brought to me and how much I was able to grow. I was able to spend four weeks in a first grade classroom observing and teaching and it helped ensure me that I was making the right career choice. It is such a rewarding experience to get to work around kids, and they have a special way of always brightening your day and making you feel special.
  7. The little things: I try to pause and take moments out of my day to enjoy little things that I love. For me these things can be as simple as enjoying how beautiful campus is or the sunrise on my drive to work. It’s important to take time no matter how chaotic everything around you is and stop to appreciate all life has to offer.

So overall take time out of your busy schedule to do things that make you happy each day, even if it is something small. Stop dwelling on the negative and all the moments you can’t change and focus on the future and what you can do to achieve your goals and to be happy. Start seeing all the good things going on.  “Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It will only come from you”. Ralph Harlson

Thank you for reading! I am especially thankful for all my readers and supporters in my blog while I am just getting started with all this. I hope that everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving. Happy Monday and enjoy the week back to work and school!