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Every year before Thanksgiving, I would publish a post about the 10 things I am grateful for in that particular year. Usually, it’s about more or less the same things: family, friends, jobs, house, kids, health, etc. You can see the posts from the previous years below:
This year, I have been putting off writing the Thanksgiving post. Part of the reason is that it has been stressful in our household, so I wasn’t in the mood to write.
COVID has affected us in various ways. Although we are fortunate to be employed during this tough time, it’s been tough on our marriage given all the responsiblities, job stress, and our different perspectives on how to deal with certain things.
One day after Thanksgiving, however, I decided to take the time to sit down and try not to think about the negative emotions in my life.
All the things I’ve mentioned in the previous years, such as family and friends, remain true. This year, I want to express my gratitude for the little and simple things I have in my life to remind myself that life is indeed beautiful, and that I am indeed very lucky.
I recently watched Christine’s video entitled “A day of gratitude.” In this video, Christine talks about the little things she is grateful for every day. And it made me smile. I was inspired.
Sometimes life gets so busy that I get distracted and start to take things for granted. Christine’s video reminds me that it is ok to take a break, sit down, cherish the moment, and see the beauty and value in what we might take for granted every day.
1. My bed
The day before Thanksgiving, I was exhausted. I went to bed at 9:15 PM and woke up at 3:30 AM the next day. I wanted to sleep more. But all the random thoughts just rushed through my head and wouldn’t stop.
I was lying in my bed, feeling the comfort and warmth of the blanket. And I thought to myself “I am so lucky.”
I usually would get agitated if I lie in bed for too long without being able to sleep. I would feel like I’m wasting my time and would start thinking about all the things I could get done during that time.
That day, part of me was drifting in that direction. I felt annoyed at myself for not being able to fall back to sleep and kept tossing and turning in bed for an hour. 3:30 AM was just too early to get up.
But I stopped those negative thoughts. It was Thanksgiving after all. Instead, I was thankful that I had the time to lie in bed without stressing about putting food on the table the next morning.
We got our mattress from the curbside for free a couple of years ago, and pretty much most of our bedding is free. I tried to feel the softness of the comforter and the warmth it emitted.
I rarely had the time and the mind to enjoy such moments in my own bed. I finally got up at 4:40 AM and started practicing coding problems. It made me feel productive and helped keep me sharp for my job.
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2. Pie and cake
I had gone to Giant the previous day and got a pumpkin pie, an apple pie, a fruit cake, and French baguette just because I was craving them. The fruit cake was half off. I got it for $6.49 and was super happy about it.
Those are the things I had to refrain myself from buying just a couple of years ago since they weren’t necessities. And even now I would still rather not spend money on snacks and sweets. This time, however, they were the nice treats for the holiday season.
3. Sunshine & clean air
Do you feel sad when it’s gloomy outside? I do. It just feels so sad to see everything so grey and depressing. This past weekend, it was particularly warm in DC, so I took the kids out for a walk.
I tried to breathe in the fresh air through the mask I was wearing. It was still fresh and clean. Back in Vietnam, my family is breathing in polluted air every day.
Oftentimes they can’t see a clear sky because the city is just filled with vehicles and smoke. Here in DC, I breathe in clean, fresh air every single day without even realizing it.
I can see the blue sky and the sun shining through the leaves in the trees. Since we live close to the airport, sometimes our kids would see airplanes in the sky and get super excited about it. Their excitement makes me smile.
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4. Hand-me-down clothes
I am part of the Buy Nothing group in our community. The other day, a member of the group started a thread to do a round-robin clothes exchange.
We would get the clothes from the person who commented on the thread before us, pick out what we like and then pass the rest together with our used clothes to the next person in the thread.
I just happened to comment right after my neighbor, so she brought over four huge bags of clothes. I was overjoyed to receive the clothes.
It’s not only because of what I could get out of those bags, but I also was touched by her gesture and the kindness of the other group members who had passed down the clothes to me.
One of the sweaters became my most favorite. I messaged my neighbor saying it was a great holiday gift for me, and she was happy to hear that.
5. Free time
I know during the quarantine free time might sound like a curse rather than a blessing to some. We are stuck at home all day every day and can’t go out to do the normal things we usually do. And I do feel that way sometimes.
But I also try to remind myself that it is indeed a blessing for me to have the time to not feel the urge to do anything. I can take the time to think about life, write this post, take my kids out for a walk, clean the house or just eat the fruit cake I got on sale.
Free time can be the moment when we feel lonely, bored, and stuck. But it can also be a great source of creativity and freedom. And for that, I am grateful.
Those are the five things that I am grateful for this year besides family, friends, my job, and everything else that I have in my life.
I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and always have lots of things to be grateful for. 🙂
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