This year has been unreal. Seriously, pinch me.
1. My husband
This year could’ve very well been the worst year of my life given a lot of the things that have happened. I could’ve spent a lot more time stressing out and upset and had a nervous breakdown. Instead, I got married to my best friend – someone who always makes me laugh, even when I’m ready to cry or throw punches.
He calms my nerves, helps me with my struggles, and celebrates my victories. In every sense of the Aristotelian idea of people having been two and then split by Zeus, Theron just completes me. He pushes me to do better when I can, to rest when I need to, and to do amazing things I never thought I’d be able to do. Honestly, he's also the most constant thing in my life, and it's been amazing to have that.
2. My family
I don’t even know where to start.
|Side note: need to take more pics|
This year, I get to spend my first Thanksgiving with the family Kelsey and I both should’ve grown up with. I wish she could be there, but I know my phone won’t be far from me! I’m nervous and excited all at once – I want to make a good impression on the extended family, but I also know that they’ll love me just as I am.
There are other people in what I call my family of choice, from Theron’s family to the extended family I grew up with to people in the next 3 thankful bullet points. I am so incredibly blessed to have people in my life that are so amazingly awesome.
3. My friends
I have the coolest friends ever. There are people I’ve known most of my life that I’m still friends with. Sometimes we lose contact, but it always seems like we pick right up where we left off. I have amazing friends from college, from jobs, from being sick (more on that later), and from random craigslist ads. No matter how we found each other, I am so grateful to have you in my life y’all.
4. Our guinea pigs
|Hallo! I am Gus Gus!|
|I am Jaq, king of the dad!|
Ah, to finally have pets again. It’s been so long! I love my little buddies so much it’s crazy. They’re so much fun. I know I’m not a mom (yet?) but they give me joy just like I could be. And they’re so stinkin’ cute!
5. The spoonie community
You guys, I have a really hard time putting into words what you all mean to me. You’ve helped me grow, be safe, learn self-care and self-love. Everything that I am today has so much to do with everything that each of you has done for me or helped me do. I hope that I’m doing enough to give back and to help. I will always feel indebted to you all for your help and your love. Everything I've done this year would be impossible without it.
6. My trip to DC in March
In March, I was able to go to DC as a part of the Arthritis Advocacy Summit with the Arthritis Foundation. That trip helped get a lot of things in my life moving. It combined with my connections with national politicians on a local level jumpstarted my advocacy again. I was able to travel to one of the biggest cities in the US by myself without any big problems. I got to visit historical sites, see a Shakespearean first folio and a Gutenberg Bible, and hold my own. We were busy, but I was able to spend time by myself doing something I loved, and that hasn’t really ever happened on a large scale. It started as little Kirsten in the big city, and wound up confident Kirsten heading home.
I can’t put into words how helpful that was for me. Hopefully this time next year, I can talk about MedX in the same light.
7. Ridding my life of toxic people
Honestly this could be the biggest one. Realizing how negatively toxic people impacted my health and removing them has been huge. When I’m alone in a room, everything is quiet for the first time in forever. There are no longer inner dialogues about things to worry about or having to prep myself for fights. I can focus all of that energy on myself, my family and friends, and my advocacy work.
8. Exploring religions and the metaphysical again
I was a religious studies major. I studied amazing religions and got glimpses of how they made others feel. For the last couples of years, I closed myself off to that feeling. I think a lot of it had to do with grieving for the self who wanted to change the world, who was going to graduate school and somehow ceased to exist.
I’m done grieving something I didn’t necessarily have. I had a dream to change the world, just now the audience and methods and circumstances and focuses have changed. I’ve moved from the theoretical to the practical, and I’m beginning to embrace that.
9. Buddha Doodles
Seriously you have to go check out the site. I love the daily emails with new doodles that help keep me focused on compassion and loving kindness. I love the author's story.
Without technology, I wouldn’t be able to do any of the things I love. Talking to my sister across the country would be so difficult with our schedules. Sending silly pictures to my friends to cheer them up – or receiving them! – would be near impossible. And I wouldn’t have connected with so many people in my life all around the world.
I’m so incredibly grateful for you, dear reader. I hope that your weekend is amazing and everything you want it to be.
So what about you. What are YOU grateful for?