November is officially here. In normal years, it feels like November is when we start to focus a bit more on gratitude and thankfulness. (But as we’ve learned, 2020 is “unprecedented times” and Christmas decorations have been out since July, so we’ll see.)
With everything going on in the world, it almost feels like sharing gratitude can be a double edged sword. I’m incredibly thankful for so many things, but it also feels weird to talk about blessings knowing so many others are struggling. My goal this month is to take time every day to be thankful. So I’m starting this season of thankfulness out with 10 things that have happened during quarantine that I’m thankful for.
1. I talk to my dad on the phone almost every day. My dad has always spent a lot of time traveling for work, and we are often on different continents. Now that he’s not traveling, I get to talk to him on the phone almost every night.
2. Working from home has helped my anxiety. I’ve only had three employers post-grad. For my first job, I walked to work. At my second job, I drove 25 minutes with no traffic and parked my car in front of the door. Prior to Covid, my one mile commute took about 15 minutes, then I’d drive from lot to lot to look for a parking spot. From there, I’d wait for a shuttle up to my building. At the end of the day, I’d do it all over.
My second day of riding the shuttle, I got yelled at by the driver because I “needed to learn how the routes worked.” He pulled me aside so that I was alone and berated me, claiming he remembered me and I had gotten confused on his shuttle before. (However, I’d only had female drivers up until that point.) I started having major anxiety about it every day.
Now that I’m working from home, I wake up in the morning ready to work. I enjoy some coffee or tea, make a healthy lunch when I feel hungry, and listen to an audiobook while I work. When my day is done, I flip off my laptop and read or watch TV. I’m still working on the boundaries of working and living in the same space, but managing that anxiety is definitely a bit easier.
3. A pandemic puppy stole my heart. Right when I gave up on finding a dog, my sweet Willie girl was found running through traffic. Our first month together was rough, but we’ve really hit our stride. She is equal parts sweet and wild, and I love her weird little personality so much. She makes human and furry friends everywhere we go, and she’s the cutest co-worker I’ve ever had. The first thing I’m doing when I buy a house is adopting a dappled chiweenie friend for her.
4. I’ve been able to explore my new city on my terms. As you can imagine after reading thankfulness item two above, navigating a new city has been a bit stressful for me. If I was going somewhere after work pre-Covid, I’d fight traffic across the bridge and drive home, drop my car at my complex, then order a Lyft to take me back across the river in traffic. I panicked at the thought of trying to figure out parking anywhere.
Now? I drive around and explore, especially when my brother is in town. (Shoutout to the baby for discovering a Five Daughters Bakery two miles from me!) I try new coffee places. I explore different neighborhoods (and sometimes stalk Zillow listings) from the saftey of my own car. My hope is that when the world opens back up, I’ll be a little less hopeless when it comes to navigating Nashville.
5. A happy accident made me a blonde. I went to have my balayage touched up the day before the salons shut down, and I think there was miscommunication between my stylist and me. She corrected it two months later when salons opened back up, but by that point, I was mostly platinum blonde. My angel Ryleigh color corrected me, and I will be a blonde until she tells me I can’t be one any more.
I love the saying about a woman that changes her hair is about to change her life. The lighter color feels so much more appropriate with how much lighter my life has felt over the past year.
6. I took two classes through my church this summer. I grew up in church but stopped going at 15. When I moved to Nashville, I started attending again. I have enjoyed my church so much that I actually took two classes through Zoom this summer! It was really interesting to learn about spiritual rhythms in a time when it felt that all rhythms were off. And what better time to dig deeper into prayer?! I’m thankful for the experience.
7. I started blogging again. I needed a creative outlet… and now I’m back! While I missed writing so much, I missed my community most of all. Thank you for being my people and welcoming me back so warmly.
8. My cooking skills have improved. I wouldn’t say that I love cooking, but I am much more confident in the kitchen now! I can use a knife without dismembering any fingers, I haven’t burned something in quite some time, and I only panic slightly while grilling chicken.
If you have any fall or winter recipes you love, please send them my way!
9. I fell in love with reading all over again. My mamaw was a librarian, and I grew up an avid reader because of that. I used to be really proud of myself for finishing one book a month, but I’ve read or listened to over 30 books/audiobooks over the past few months. I’ve discovered that I love thrillers. (I’ve always wanted to write a book, and I think thriller might be the direction I take now.) I’m always looking for recommendations!
10. My family is happy and healthy. This is the most important to me and what I pray most fervently for every night.
What are you thankful for?