For my first post on Thoughtful Thursday I chose to share that for which I am most grateful. Gratitude is certainly easy to lose sight of but acknowledging the people and things that make my life complete is so important to me on a daily basis. It reminds me of how loved, how fortunate and how lucky I have been throughout my life. If you have not thought about what you are grateful for, maybe today is a good time to sit for a minute and jot a few gratitudes down. Then stick that list in your wallet or purse so that you always have it when the going gets tough.
Family who are Friends…
I am grateful for my families, both my biological and chosen families. Gary, you make me smile and laugh every day. You ground me, and when you see “my crazy” you embrace it. My hopes and dreams and my desire to be my own boss are as important to you as they are to me. You have loved me unconditionally for over 28 years. This journey we are on together is amazing and beautiful and each new day brings me joy.
I am grateful for my three sisters, who mean the world to me. I can not imagine my life without you. You have supported me emotionally, spiritually, unconditionally and in so many other ways that words fail me. If I am one quarter of the ally/believer/sibling/confidant/angel to you that you have been to me… I have no words. I so love that we have remained so close and to this day share our lives together. You define the foundation of family. You are incredible women and you make me proud each and every day.
I am grateful for my parents. You made a family that continues to love each other, that persevered through the rough patches that happen to all families so that we could achieve great successes in life and careers. Your guidance allowed us to become the honest, caring, people we are today. I am grateful that I can look back and recognize you did the best you could and allowed us to find our way when you did not understand or know what to do.
…and Friends who are Family
I am grateful for those who made me a part of their family. You know who you are.
I am grateful for my friends. Those that I see on a regular basis and those I rarely see but when we are together it is like we have never been apart. You bring vivid color and spice into my life.
The World is My Oyster
I am grateful for my year as an exchange student in Sweden. Coming from a family that did not travel that experience began the dramatic change in my world view. It made me a global citizen and was the ignition that fostered my desire visit other countries and experience/share in their traditions and culture. I quickly learned that the “American way is the only way mentality” was short-sighted and potentially harmful. This experience gave me strength, courage and confidence. It set in motion a lifetime of travel that includes five of the seven continents in over 20 different countries. Not to worry, the 6th continent is on my radar.
I have seen and done things that I never dreamed were possible – like sitting on a mountaintop with a troop of Mountain gorillas that were so close to us that I could not focus my camera because they were within the minimum focus distance. At one point, on the first day of trekking, a young male ran past us at maybe two to three feet away and the only thing between me and him was the outstretched arm of one of our guides to shoo him away. Sweden, you opened my mind, my heart and my compassion to the greater world in which we all live. Look out world… I am ready for the next adventure.
Would you take it?
I am grateful for be being gay. There have been many times that I have been asked, “If there was a pill you could take that would make you heterosexual, would you take it?” And the answer is a resounding NO! I firmly believe that I am, what I am. Look, it made my childhood painful, confusing and frightening. Coming to terms with it took years. It was not easy coming out to myself and others. It was not easy watching friends die from a disease that few cared about. Because of my sexual orientation, I grew in ways that a “straight” me could never have. It molded me into the adult I am today. And quite honestly I love who I am today.
Finally, I am grateful
This one may seem strange but, I am grateful for my abilities and sensibilities. I am grateful for my passion for that which I believe. For my creative talents that allow me to experience the world through my camera, a canvas or a pen and paper. I am grateful for the ability to think critically and to not accept words at face value, but am willing to question and challenge. I am grateful for being willing to stand up for what I believe in and more importantly to understand why I believe, what I believe.