Since I make no secret of my love of food, it’s probably no surprise that I really, really love Thanksgiving. Food, family, friends, and an opportunity to stop and be grateful—what’s not to love?
Kitty’s post on Thanksgiving sums up my feelings about the holiday pretty well and includes a fantastic quote about food and cooking from Michael Pollan.
As for thankfulness, part of my strategy on this financial independence journey has been to cut down on impulse spending and make conscious decisions about what I spend my money on instead. That goes hand-in-hand with seriously appreciating all of the things I already have (and the position I’m in to have too many things that I’ve been working on decluttering over the last few months). That doesn’t just include the material things; I want to live life on my own terms, and in pursuit of that I’m cultivating a life that I love and taking time to appreciate things that are easy to overlook.
Here’s what I’m thankful for lately:
My family. I only realized a few years ago that looking forward to family gatherings is perhaps not the norm (ah, young, naive me!) and that made me sad. I love spending time with my family, and especially love how my mom’s side has gotten closer over the years (I’m so glad my grandmother’s fight with cancer didn’t tear my mom and her siblings apart like it did my dad’s side of the family). A week at the beach with those crazy people? Sign me up! Mom was in town last weekend for my chorus concert (it’s convenient she happens to be the parent both with more of an appreciation for choral music and a more flexible work schedule), she’s picking me up from the airport on Thursday, and we’re going to Ohio mid-December together to see one of her cousins. Plus Christmas after. For sure that’s excessive but ’tis the season for lots of family time and I don’t hate it.
My down coat. Past me, thank you so much for spending that money.
Oversized, warm scarves.
Not needing eye surgery, at least for the moment (that tweet doesn’t actually convey how happy I was to find that out, even if the possibility of needing it means I’ll be seeing a lot of the optometrist in the next month or so until it’s sure I don’t).
My lovely, walkable life. My commute this week from the house in Virginia where I’m petsitting makes me realize yet again how amazing it is that I walk to work. I don’t have to sit in traffic, I don’t have to worry about parking (thank goodness my parking permit lets me avoid the two-hour limit in the neighborhood around work, but that doesn’t guarantee I’ll find a space within a few blocks of work when I do drive!), and I have built-in exercise opportunities twice a day, minimum. It really doesn’t get better than that.
A pretty well-paying part-time job that’s also usually fun.
How fantastic the personal finance corner of the internet is, especially Personal Finance Twitter. I’ve all but abandoned my personal Twitter account because being on my blog account is just sooooo much nicer and less bleak.
Similarly, all the amazing people that I’ve met both online and in person through this blog. Hi, everyone! ?
Routine. It’s something you don’t appreciate until you’re out of it for a while. Being grateful to get back to routine also drives home to me that I’m building a life I love—I don’t need to constantly look for things to do to keep myself busy and distracted because I’m unhappy with my life.
The very extended, subtly beautiful fall we’ve had this year.
The sound of leaves crunching underfoot.
Having to choose among the many, many library books I have sitting at home which ones I’ll bring with me on the plane for Thanksgiving. Seriously, #librariesaretheshit (yes, that hashtag is my thing now). So much free entertainment and learning!
Pumpkin dessert season. White chili. Sweet potato fries.
Choosing to take control of my mental health this year.
The power of saying “yes”: money anxiety is definitely rooted in a scarcity mindset. While I can’t change the presence of the anxiety itself, I’ve been actively trying to cultivate more of an abundance mindset in my life. That includes saying yes to opportunities that come my way, especially opportunities to make more money, even if I’m too tired/it’ll be inconvenient/ugh my job should be paying me enough that I don’t need to get other jobs/insert excuse here. Just say yes. Work a double shift on Saturday because we’re swamped? Yes. Accept a petsitting job that’s inconvenient for me both location and timing-wise? Yes. It’s not all money-related, either. In the midst of a few hectic weeks, I spent an evening at a friend’s house instead of clearing the evening for a much-needed break. She invited me over, so yes. Looking for these opportunities is a positive feedback loop: the more I’m looking for them, the more there seem to be.
There’s a delicate balance here, since I’ve been so busy lately that I’ll probably crash during and after Thanksgiving, but I’m appreciative of these opportunities regardless.
Spending three days later this week at a lake house in South Carolina with my parents, siblings, and the Atlanta branch of the family.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends.