With Thanksgiving upon us, although Target and the rest of the world seems to have forgotten about it completely, it is that time of the year again for me to make my annual “what I am thankful for” post. For those of you that have been reading my blog for a few years now, you know that I like to avoid the cliche posts about being thankful for my friends and family and whatever else is probably listed in a greeting card to be thankful for. I’ve unintentionally made this post an annual “thing” now to highlight some of the most mundane everyday things, yet I am quite thankful for them and they deserve a day to be appreciated! My intention for this post is to not only bring you cheap entertainment, but to help you see that there are so many things to be thankful for that bring people joy and appreciation! So with that, here are 10 things I am thankful for this year:
Go ahead and laugh, but I am seriously thankful for curtains! Being a first time homeowner, I didn’t realize how much appreciation I had for them until the previous owners left them behind for us and we didn’t need to get them ourselves. I also realized that they aren’t just for decoration. Growing up, the curtains in my parent’s house were more for looks and I didn’t really view them in the whole “privacy” way. As you can imagine, this has come as an adjustment now that the curtains in my own house are there for privacy. The master bedroom has a very large and beautiful window that overlooks the whole back yard, as well as backs up to the neighbors’ houses behind me. I am very confident, in fact about 95% confident, that I have flashed my birthday suit more than a few times to the neighbors behind us and very well may have to the main road that is right outside my neighborhood since the view into the bedroom is a clear shot at night when the lights are on post shower…(I really need to get into the habit of closing the curtains). In my defense, I work hard at the gym, they could see worse things through the window, right? Just take a moment and thank all the curtains in your life, and all the nudity or other embarrassing things they’ve covered up for you!
2. Hair Dryers
To all my ladies and fellas with long hair, you know why I’m thankful for this. A hair dryer is one of those things that fits the “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone” mantra. This brings me back specifically to when I was studying abroad in France, and my hairdryer caught on fire leaving me with wet hair the rest of the trip. I say the “caught on fire” part casually because catching hair dryers on fire is a common occurrence for me, with the most tragic loss being the Hello Kitty hairdryer. Hair dryers are more than just a small appliance, people. They are important! Imagine what people would do if you showed up to work with soaking wet hair. Or what if you didn’t dry your hair on your wedding day? Try going outside in the middle of a Minnesota winter with wet hair. Not only is wet hair annoying, but for some odd reason, wet hair is just not an acceptable societal norm, and hair dryers are the solution to that…or sticking your head out the car window on the way to work, but I digress. Not to mention, hair dryers prevent your dog from looking like a little creature for longer than they should (Gracie Casey will always be cute no matter what state her hair is in). But please, for me, give your hair dryer a little more love today, especially as you are using it to get ready to stuff your face at Thanksgiving dinner.
3. Lyme Disease
I am thankful to have Lyme Disease, yes, I did type that correctly. I know I talk about my health a lot, and how it can be a challenge to be plagued with this plague, but Lyme has brought so many blessings in disguise (something I also talk about a lot). Being sick may seem like a weird thing to be thankful for, but I am thankful to say that I have Lyme because that means I don’t instead have the incurable condition called Functional Neurological Disorder, aka, the condition I’ve written several blog posts about. Turns out, I never did have FND, and I wouldn’t have found that out if it weren’t for Lyme waking up after 16 years of hibernation due to an alpaca farm visit. Have you ever been rock climbing and the only rock you can grab onto is one of those tiny ones that is super hard to grasp, yet it will work if you can just get the right grip? That is what Lyme feels like right now- it feels like there is not a lot of hope to hold on to at the moment, but there’s a tiny bit still there, and if I can figure out exactly what will help me, I’ll get to where I’ve been trying to reach for 14 years now. This is a lot better than FND where there was no rock to grasp onto at all, and I was stuck where I was. I’m also thankful for Lyme because it has taught me to slow down, and be more open about my feelings (which I hate doing but it forces me to). It’s revealed to me who is here for me- my family, my amazing friends (if y’all actually read this, text me a cartwheel emoji), and my fiance who has already gotten the in sickness and in health exclusive trial subscription. That was my “I’m thankful for my friends and family” part of the blog, had to put it in there somewhere. Lastly, Lyme created a passion for helping others keep their eyes fixed forward and to stay positive when facing their own struggles, and learning to fully own their story rather than hide it. I do this mainly through championing the wellness and disability employee resource group at my company that I gave name to as “Well & Able.” Don’t get me wrong, Lyme has been absolutely terrible, but I fully believe I have it for a purpose, and someday I will be thankful that it allowed me to write a lengthy memoir about my odd life story entailing how alpacas, oxygen chambers, controlling games with my brain waves, Keto diet, ceiling harnesses, lots of cardio and tangerine smelling scalp glue all led to where I am now. I’m currently waiting for the end of my story, but once I get it, you better watch the best sellers list because I will be on there. Mark my words, people!
4. Glasses and Contacts
No more deep health stuff I promise. It amazes me how I’ve woken up every day the past decade and go “put my eyeballs in” as I say, and I don’t even consider going a day without contacts or glasses. I truly don’t know how I ever lived without them-not even exaggerating. I got glasses in 3rd grade after I realized that not being able to see anything on the board at school was not normal. And then, I finally gave in and got contacts when I learned that it was probably unsafe that I couldn’t really see the balance beam as I was flipping on it. I am thankful that I have my glasses and contacts to allow me to drive, see other people’s faces, and order my Starbs drinks because I can’t read the menu in the drive thru without eye help even though I order the same thing every time and don’t need to read it. The panic I feel when I lose a contact in public is unmatched. It is probably worse than the feeling of realizing the single person bathroom you’re in at a restaurant is out of toilet paper. If I lose a contact, it means I immediately need to go home wherever I am. It sounds dramatic, but that is just how much I rely on a little flimsy clear thing and allow it to dictate my life. While I could tell more contact horror stories, I think you get the idea that being able to see clearly is something I am super thankful for, and I don’t recognize what allows me to do that enough!
I remember there was a point in my life where I refused to get Spotify, and it probably didn’t help that the first exposure I had to it was the non-ad free version. It was like the Android versus Apple war, and I was a die hard ITunes gal. The amount of money I spent on songs, and hours I spent sitting getting them, will be time and money that I will never get back. Now, my ITunes account is as outdated as the senior picture playlist cover art I set for my “Lauren’s Tunes” playlist. My ITunes is a sad graveyard of Jason Derulo, Katy Perry, and the OG Luke Bryan songs that no one listens to anymore. I really am thankful for the fact that I can find a new song, and play it over again 15 times in a row, until I find a new song or artist to obsess over and play it over and over again. I also appreciate that Spotify allows me to see what my friends are listening to, or more specifically my brother, so I can make fun of the song he is listening to from when we were in middle school. I don’t go a day without music, and I don’t think I could go a day without music, or concerts, so shoutout to Spotify for making my showers full on performances.
Whoever invented the concept of hugs is both a genius, but also borderline creepy if you think about it. Those who know me, know that I am not really a hugger. I don’t know why, and you’d think that I’d grow to be a hugger after the number of awkward half side hugs with a family member or standing there smiling at each other since I don’t tend to initiate goodbye hugs. Despite all that, I haven’t fully achieved hugger status, I am working on it, I promise. Remember how I mentioned above that Lyme has forced me to share my emotions more? Well, this has led to more hugs because apparently sharing with others that I feel like a sloth that day prompts for a warm embrace. For that, I am thankful because hugs are pretty great and actually help! There have been days where I am in such a bad mood, have no idea why, and none of my normal “feel better” tactics work. Then, I get home and get a giant hug from Zach and boom! All better. Hugs really do fix more than you’d think. I could go all psychology nerd on you here but something about the smell of my man (or my mom, nothing beats your mom’s perfume) combined with that warm embrace leads to lots of neurotransmitters released! Miss someone? Hug. Bad day at work? Hug. Burned your toast? Hug. Monday night football took priority over the Bachelor’s regularly scheduled time? Hug. Fell down the stairs? Hug. Sometimes it truly is that simple and all you need is a hug, folks.
7. Humor and Sarcasm
Not everyone is thankful for this, it really depends on if you’re the giver or receiver, but I am very thankful that these things are a “thing” for several reasons. First, as mentioned, I’m not good at negative emotions. Humor allows me and all y’all that also do this too, to cope with emotions, awkward situations where you don’t know what to say, or news you didn’t want. It came in handy as a gymnast when we weren’t allowed to complain, cry, show too much excitement #stayhumble, or show disappointment (Freud would say this is why emotions aren’t my favorite thing now, which he probably is not wrong about that one thing, the rest of what he said you can take with a grain of salt). Second, sarcasm and humor keep my mind sharp! Studies actually show that those who are sarcastic and can roast you on the spot are more intelligent. It keeps the brain thinking constantly. Sarcasm and humor are also around half of all my blog posts, and without it, I might as well be writing about how to patch drywall, except I don’t think you want me giving you that advice. I appreciate that everyone’s sense of humor is unique to them, and mine just happens to be corny like giving everyone I know a piece of clothing with my face on it slowly overtime. My personal favorite is the Larry the cucumber hiding war that has been ongoing for the last 5+ years with my dad, in which we take turns hiding a plush Larry the cucumber from Veggie Tales in the most inconvenient places (Larry has gone with my dad in his briefcase to important meetings at work, his hockey games with him – real manly pulling out a Larry in the locker room-, appeared in the shower instead of his shampoo bottle, etc. If you need some more humor in your life, consider hiding fake vegetables around the house with a loved one.
8. Indoor Exercise Equipment
I am not thankful for this due to the fact that it keeps me in shape and because I have to workout everyday because of my Lyme. I am thankful for indoor exercise equipment because I live in Minnesota, hate running, therefore, hate running in the cold. While I am fully aware that running outdoors is not the only way to workout when there’s no equipment around, I am just way too lazy to do anything other than press start on a machine and go for an hour! I remember how thankful for indoor machines every time I’d rather fall down the stairs than go up them on the stair master. This is also one of those luxuries in life that you don’t know how appreciative of it you should be. When Covid hit and gyms were closed, this cut off my access to any and all weights except for the pink 1 lb paperweight dumbbells in the basement. I started deadlifting laundry baskets of clothes, doing block pushes with boxes full of textbooks, and squatting backpacks of cans. As joyful as it was to actually use my math book again (and it probably served me better as a weight than how I did use it) I would much rather pick up a dumbbell. Being able to hop on my spin bike at home is a luxury that I truly am thankful for every single day because what else am I supposed to do on my lunch break?
This fall, my brother in law (or my brother’s fiance’s brother- if anyone knows if there is a term for that, please let me know because we have been searching for this term for months) set up a brewery tour every Tuesday with a group of folks that I did not know at all prior to this. The Brew Crew as I call it, has been such a blessing during this season of being 20 something and trying to find a core friend group again. These are now people that I can see being in my life long term, and if it were not for meeting up at a brewery and drinking a beer, I would not be where I am today (tried to make something not deep sound deep there, how did I do?) Along the way, I’ve discovered that I genuinely enjoy trying new sours/ciders and am not just a Truly gal. It’s been kind of cool to see how breweries have evolved in the last few years because it’s so much more than the beer. Breweries are such a good spot to meet new people, catch up after a long day with old friends, or go on a first date with your future spouse like I did!
10. Google Calendar
My Google Calendar is my life. I mean this more literally than figuratively since it actually has all my life events on it. You know how when you’re bored and you’ll go scroll through Facebook or Insta? Well I go scroll through my Google Calendar because I find that fun especially when I can color code all my different events. It may be the type A in me, but it is a source of hope and excitement because I get to look ahead to all the exciting things that are to come such as counting the days to Christmas, dinner with a friend, when my new washer and dryer are being delivered, or anything wedding related. But also, it makes my life so much easier in regards to scheduling my weekly treatment sessions and many many many doctors appointments, my friend’s birthdays, in law’s birthdays, Brew Crew nights, work trainings, or literally anything because it is all in one spot. Imagine if we still had to carry around planners! I was obsessed with my planner back in high school before Google Calendar was a thing, but I cannot imagine having to carry around a book and pen like they did in the olden days. Now that Zach and I are engaged, we now have shared google calendars which really is how you know you’re ready for marriage.
Well there you have it, folks. Another year of weirdly relatable things to be thankful for! Every morning, I like to sit and have my morning coffee while brainstorming three things I am thankful for and writing them down. The only rule is I can’t repeat anything I’ve said previously. Because of this, it’s opened my mind and heart to appreciate the little things more and realize just how lucky I am to live the life I’m living even on the days where I sit on the bathroom floor and have “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter on repeat. I challenge you to start this practice (not the bathroom part, the writing what you’re thankful for part), or at least come up with three things after reading this, but I must say; shovels, laundry detergent, and scrunchies are already taken today, sorry.
Happy Turkey Day! May your turkeys be fully cooked, your stuffing not too soggy, and your cranberries look exactly like the can they came out of.
2 thoughts on “10 Everyday Things To Be Thankful For”
Hey Lauren! I read and then reread your piece. I am reflecting throughout on the 10 year old fourth grade writer I knew. You were expressive, pensive and emotional in your writing. You also took some chances then. And now? I am smiling, I am rereading portions because of how you string your words into imagery, and the ease with which you share your challenges. Here to being open and forthcoming about your challenges. And your challenges have given you strength and an inside glance at how you manage these challenges rather than the challenges managing you! Thank you for giving me this glance into your life.
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Being that your class is where my love for writing stemmed from, this means more to me than you know. Thank you for this!