In discussing this lackluster holiday spirit in therapy this week, I learned that following the loss of someone important, anniversaries of that loss are prone to affect you psychologically, likely forever. We talked a lot about how my holidays have looked over the past five years since losing Grandma and Grandpa, and it was actually really interesting to see that no matter what else has been going on in my life - good or bad - I have had a rough time getting through the month of November in one piece. And based on what I've learned about the psychological effect of loss on the brain, I most likely always will. So be it.
And yet, despite that I have been in an overall bad mood, I am still reminded of all that I have to be thankful for this year. Because in all honesty, my life - even when I'm stressed or sad - is pretty damn good. My world is full of love and support, and I can recognize that I have so much to be happy about, even when I am feeling sad.
I am especially thankful this year, for a new level of financial independence. I moved in on site at my property, got a roommate, and then followed it up with three pay increases. I finally have a cushion, a fall back, some wiggle room. I have been able to help people out when they've needed it, or treat my staff to a nice lunch when they earned it. I have been able to buy a new car, pay off some medical bills, and even take some vacations. I finally feel like I am not on the verge of financial breakdown with something as simple as a flat tire, and that is a huge relief - and one that I am really damn proud of and grateful for.
I continue to be thankful for my family, for all of the love and support I get from them. There is no shortage of love in my family, even though I have had to grieve the "loss" of what my family used to look like. I am grateful that through the past year of therapy I have been able to adequately grieve and move on from those people who used to be a part of my family and my life, who never will be again, It feels so comforting to know that I am no longer angry and that I have processed these losses in the most healthy way possible. Additionally, it feels even better to know that the people who I choose to allow into my life, have my back, love me, and will support me with the decisions I make for myself. Goodbye and good riddance to those who don't, right?
I find myself more and more thankful for Kattie and Rachel - my girlfriend and my wifey - almost daily. It is so hard as an adult to make such awesome friendships, and the longer I know them, the more amazed I am by each of them. They make me a better, stronger, healthier, more stable person. They're supportive, they're genuine, they're encouraging, and they're always there - no matter what - when I call. Plus, they celebrate Man Candy Friday with me, so there's definitely that!
I am thankful for so many things in my life this year - for new and continuing relationships, for new, strong friendships, for lessons learned, moments I'll always remember, dates, trips, vacations, lazy days. In a season that I seem to struggle to stay positive, it makes it a lot easier when I am able to reflect on how much good I have, and really, just to take a second to be truly appreciative of those things.