The Spicy Meatball

A Different Kind of Thankful List

This is the time of year when we read about what people are thankful for and judge them accordingly.  I can list a number of mundane things that happen to me everyday that I am grateful for (like finding a matching pair of socks), but I thought I would share things that I am most thankful for that seemed like the end of the world when they happened.

I am thankful that my parents moved out of state

Usually the story goes -- kid graduates high school, kid goes to college out-of-state, parents lament the loss of their child and try to compensate with impromptu visits, incessant calling, and the occasional gift package with money and Ramen noodles.

Not in my case.

Instead, my parents saw an opportunity for freedom and they jumped! From Ohio to Colorado. It's pretty inspiring now, but not so fun for me then. I was 19 and didn't know anything about anything. On a few occasions I needed my parents shoulder and a big hug, but I would never have said that to anyone. Are you kidding? Ask for help? Never!

Years later I look back on that time and tally up all of the grown up decisions I had to make on my own and I am so thankful I didn't have someone there to hold my hand. Sure, having to do things on your own sucks, but I'm a tough old bat now and I don't take much hassle from anyone. I'm proud of that. With my parents on the other side of the country I was able to make mistakes, make good and bad decisions, and make a life for myself that may not have happened if I had mommy and daddy five minutes away. When I have kids and no babysitter, I'll probably think differently...

I am thankful that I didn't get accepted to college

At the time I literally thought this was the end of my life. I worked somewhat hard in high school and dammit I wanted into college. Unfortunately, I chose a very competitive college and my grades were far from extraordinary. In order to go to my college of choice, I had to complete two semesters at the satellite campus and then transfer to main campus. I thought I was suuuuuuch a loser, but it just so happened that the satellite campus was five minutes away from my grandmother's house.

And she was the best.

She was and still is the love of my life. Not in a creepy way. In a way that you have one person who knows the right thing to say, the right time to hug, the right time to tell you you're wrong, and the right time to listen without judgement. That's a rare gem that not everyone gets in life. I was lucky to have spent 23 years with someone who never made me feel like a burden and who also never took shit from anyone.

I miss everything about her. Even the way she said my name in the morning, which always pissed me off because I hate mornings. But more than miss her, I am so thankful that I was able to spend huge amounts of one-on-one time with her that, had I been accepted into college, may never have happened.

I am thankful that my boyfriend dumped me

I just celebrated three years of unwed bliss with said boyfriend. What some people may not know is that I referred to him as "the asshole" way before I renamed him "Boyfriend." Our case was as simple as 'right people, wrong time.' I was in college and he was two hours away. I was a gross needy girl and he was a gross immature boy. You do the math. It didn't work out on the first try.

What makes our case special is that we never lost sight of the true feelings we had for each other during "the first go-round." Three years after the awful break up, and with a little help from our friends, we got back together. We had to grow up separate to come back together. It's as simple as that. What I know now, is that had I not experienced the most excruciating break up (we're talking full-on psychosis) at the time, then I would not know just how much he means to me now. I wouldn't trade our cringe-worthy moments for anything now. Not even the time I drove by his house sobbing with "I can't make you love me" playing in the car.

I am thankful that I hated my first job

I still laugh about how terrible my first boss was to myself and our team. Every day I went to work I thought about how much I didn't want to be there. Not only was the work mundane, I realized within two months of my start date that it's not what I wanted to do with my life. Who wants to check for periods and capitalization until they're 60? Not me!

Even though I had a degree, I felt stuck. I was too young for a senior level job and too advanced to go back to my Dairy Queen gig (although it still is my most favorite job to date). After applying for a million jobs and getting crickets, I threw myself into figuring out what I did want to do -- marketing and communications. When all else fails, what do you do well? That's what I asked myself nearly everyday until I finally ripped off the band-aid and applied for grad school. It was the best professional decision I've made thus far. Within two years I got my Master of Science degree, doubled my salary, and found my passion in marketing. Not too bad. And I can thank my awful boss and that sad job for inspiring me to take a good look at my career and make a change.

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