Although many people have begun associating Thanksgiving with extra vacation days, excessive eating and discounted consumerism, I still like to focus on the thankful aspect.

So perhaps my year was full of twists and turns down roads I never expected but along the journey there have been delights, silver linings, and so much love. While it is easier to wallow in the disappointments and what-ifs, I think it is far more productive to embrace the hard lessons I have learned and focus on wrapping myself up in the warm fuzzies that I have experienced.

I am thankful for all of the people in my life. For their willingness to love me unconditionally, to accept me for who I am and who I want to be, and all of the support they provide. The fact that my friends are all ages and from all different backgrounds speaks volumes about the ability of others to accept me into their world. On top of having great friends, I also have the kind of family that will come into town and spend the whole time helping me with my job and actually enjoying it. And even more, my boyfriend was willing to add 3 hours of driving time to our trip to help me rescue an injured owl because he knew how much it matters to me. It is these people that make it worth it and their presence in my life that makes every day possible.

I am thankful for having a sound mind and body. So what if I am allergic to everything and have the stomach of a 60 year old… I am healthy enough to pursue my passions and live the active lifestyle that I love. Whether it is genetic, spiritual, or a result of my unique upbringing, I am lucky to have a mix of book and street smarts that has gotten me far.

I am thankful for all of the opportunities that I have been given. Construction Worker, Graduate student, College Recycling Coordinator, Student activist, Program Manager, Cyclist, Case worker, Farmer, Executive Director…just in the last four years. If I keep this up, I will be able to host my own career day expo and a never ending stream of stories to entertain with!

I am thankful for all of the small things. My dog making me laugh out loud, living near the water, sunsets, the smell of tea olive trees, singing out loud to a good song, hot tea, slow-dancing, discovering the broccoli is ready to harvest, learning random facts, and falling asleep on a full sized bed with Dan and both dogs.

I am thankful to live in a place that allows me to post my feelings on a public blog, where I can vote, protest, live on my own, practice any religion I chose, and live without fear of guerilla warfare in my backyard but instead, raise chickens!

There is so much more than I am thankful for… it would take a lifetime to list it all. I hope everyone takes time, if only a moment, to think of how much they have to be thankful for and maybe, just maybe, tell someone else.

Written by Nikki