As inevitably happens each time I try to Nanowrimo, I failed spectacularly. None of my ideas ever seem to pan out. I have them, think they will go far and by day 2, my idea dries up into a cold, husk of an idea with nothing left to give. I am left with no where to take it. However, rather than give up in an angry rage, I began to think harder about what I really wanted to write about and a few ideas came to me wandering around Waterstones in search of Christmas presents. So, I have an idea, two actually and I am seeing how I can develop one of them further. While not actually writing, I felt this was a much more productive way to spend my writing month than just producing dribble which dries up after 250 words.
Instead, my writing has focussed on the more personal and the more intimate. For example, I am replicating here the enormous outpouring that I wrote in honour of Thanksgiving this year. Each year, I always post on social media about what I am thankful for in my life. It is one of those nice little gestures, a gentle reminder when it all feels hard that actually there is some good happening in life. And I love this holiday for that. So, for anyone reading this, please find a little nod to the good things in my life right now.
As we are heading to Devon tomorrow and there may or may not be good internet/I hate doing long posts on my phone/I will be busy chasing down the Hound of the Baskervilles on Dartmoor, I thought I would post my Thanksgiving thankfulness post a little early. There are so many things in my life that bring me joy and for which I am truly thankful but here is a small selection:
1. Friends and family, far and wide. You keep me going when times are hard, you make me laugh when I need it most and you always, always make my life better. Thank you.
2. Full-time employment that allows Chris and I to visit America, keeps a roof over our head and our house warm and food on our plates, and helps us live a comfortable life where we can go and do things with our friends and family.
3. Finding activities I love. I am so lucky that I found horseback riding which gets me out and moving and brings some truly lovely characters in animal form into my life. Yoga, that keeps me grounded and helps me find my centre when the world is crazy. Theatre where I can watch amazing live performances often with people who love it as well. Reading interesting books, which is something I am doing more and more. Writing badly, but it is fun to try to create my own stories. And taking photos of things that inspire me or that I find pretty.
4. Travelling. While we haven’t done much this year, the fact that we can and we are in such a great place to help us explore Europe still amazes me every day.
5. Living in a historic place. I just love that so much history surrounds me every day.
6. Owning a house. Every year we own a bit more and a bit more of our warm and cozy house and I love that we can open it to our friends and family.
7. The internet. While it has many faults, it allows me to have my existence where I can live here, but still check on people that I love back in America. It offers me a small window to see into the lives of those I may not always be able to connect with in person and I love that.
8. The opportunities I have had in life. I feel that life is a mixture of luck, opportunities you create, and taking hold of the opportunities presented to you. I personally feel that I have done my best to use all of the avenues open to me. I also like to try, when I can, to help others find their own opportunities if I can, both big and small. I would not be where I am if I hadn’t kept trying to find them and I am grateful for all those along the way who created them for me, helped me see them and helped me grab them. I am grateful for all the opportunities I have had to grow and change and learn.
9. Being an expat. It has really opened my eyes and changed me to my very core. When everything you take for granted is different, you have to be different and you have to see the world differently too. I am so grateful that I was able to change my life in this way and to grow because of it.
10. Finding a little bit more of my father in myself over the last year. He was above all a great communicator and a wonderful people person. These were two characteristics I never saw in myself, but over the last year, I have been told that I have high emotional intelligence and that makes me good with people. It has been very humbling to sit with people in their darker moments this year and help them find the light which will lead them out of that place. From friends to colleagues, I have received thanks and hugs which has been absolutely brilliant. I am still working on the communicator bit, but a year ago I would have never called myself a people person and now I think I would. I also appear to have his sense of humour, for better or worse.
If I don’t get a chance to say it on the day, Happy Thanksgiving America!