Today I turn thirty-three. I can still recall the moment when I turned thirty and I thought that the end of the world has arrived. It did in a way…I got cancer. Thirty was definitely the most difficult year in my life. A real game-changer. But you know what, life goes on and I survived!

I don’t get sad anymore about turning old. I’ve learned to embrace it. One thing I’ve been focusing on lately, is living with gratitude. I have made an effort to once a day say to myself very consciously, “I am grateful for this moment.” Sometimes it’s when I’m facetiming/skype session with my family, sometimes it was in the midst of a warm hug with a close friend, sometimes in was in an airplane heading to a beautiful location!

And so, to start a new year in style, a list of thirty-three things that I’m grateful for today.

1. I am grateful for a family that always calls me home. For a mother who never forgets my appointments and would call me the day before just to wish me luck, a father who has taught me to be both strong and generous, a brother who never lets me drink alone, and for sisters who make me laugh and who hold out a hand when needed. For aunts, uncles, cousins, and nephews/nieces who make up the rich fabric of family. I am ever so grateful that we all remain a family. There is no one or no thing I care about more.

2. I am grateful for the privilege to see with my own eyes seven countries and ten states – and counting. For the memories I’ve made, lessons I’ve learned, and people I’ve met in each of them.

3. I am grateful for a passport from a country that gives me the green light to travel almost anywhere in the world.

4. I am grateful for those rare books, movies, and songs that leave me lost in thought.

5. I am grateful for happy hours.

6. I am grateful for nature. And trees. The after-rain smell, the springtime smell. Mountains and trials and the fact that I have feet and legs to walk them.

7. I am grateful for an ice cold IPA on a warm summer day, and a warm cup of mocha from Moore Coffee.

8. I am grateful for lovely clean clothes, that I have more than one outfit, and that I have a wardrobe to hang them in.

9. I am grateful for straight up just “getting away with it”.

10. I am grateful for Second chances. Third chances. Forgiveness. The ability to say: thank you for that experience, and mean it.

11. I am grateful for my job. The fact that I get to work with amazing people.

12. I am grateful for the smell of someone you’re falling in love with, right when you’re falling in love with them.

13. I am grateful for the small and free pleasures of life. A sunrise. A relaxing walk in the woods. A crisp Fall day when the trees are filled with leaves of vibrant and spectacular colors. The sun warming my face after many days of the sky being filled with dreary, gray clouds.

14. I am grateful for croissants. What a glorious celebration of butter.

15. I am grateful for my blue 2007 Honda Civic that gets me wherever I need to be.

16. I am grateful for what I’m convinced is the most amazing group of friends in the world. I am grateful for the ability to accept them for who they are and what they are willing to give to our friendship, and for their patience and understanding of my endless wandering. I feel a deep connection with them even when I am physically very far away. It makes it feel like I’ve done something right in my life to deserve these friends I have.

17. I am grateful for rush shipping.

18. I am grateful for the fact that life has put a string of funny, interesting, big-hearted guys in my path. I’ve been seeing one for a while now.

19. I am grateful for phone chargers that reaches the bed.

20. I am grateful for campfires, s’mores, and hearty laughter.

21. I am grateful for the pain I’ve felt and the times life has truly tested me — they have shown me who I am and how strong I can be, taught me to appreciate periods of peace and joy, and prepared me for whatever comes next.

22. I am grateful for warm, comfy beds.

23. I am grateful to live in a place and within a system where we have access to the best doctors in the world, and also among the best overall cancer care in the world. For the doctors who care about what they are doing. Dr. Shao-Ti Meredith who found the bad stuff, Dr. Edward Kim who help shrink the bad stuff, and Dr. Venu Pillarisetty who removed the bad stuff from my body.

24. I am grateful for instant noodles that satisfy my hunger when I need something quick to eat.

25. I am grateful for flash drives/thumb drives/portable hard drives. My blog, photos and much of my documentable life is stored on one of those things!

26. I am grateful for hopping on the treadmill when every cell said “not today.”

27. I am grateful for the kindness from complete strangers. When people let me skip ahead of them in the checkout line in the store when I only have a few items. When they stay for a few second and hold up the door for me. Or let me into their lane when I drive.

28. I am grateful for coupon codes.

29. I am grateful for a bra that supports me when no one else does.

30. I am grateful for my health. I do not have the indestructible body of Superman. But if I treat it well and get plenty of sleep, work out and eat healthy then it works wonderfully well (most of the time). Sure, I may get sick sometimes. But overall I have much to be thankful for that I often take for granted my body and how it helps me do everything – see, listen, walk, write, hug, kiss, think and experience my world – every day.

31. I am grateful for cars with seat warmers and drive thru car washes.

32. I am grateful for my sense of taste, which lets me savor ripe mangos, delicious avocados, and scrumptious fried chicken.

33. I am grateful for YOU. Readers who visit my blog and read what I have to say. For all the FB, IG, texts, and phone calls made to make this special day a memorable one.

Love you guys!!!

2 thoughts on “GRATITUDE | 33

  1. Wish we could’ve been there to beat you at Whirlyball!!! We can’t wait to see you again! We are grateful for you… you make our life exciting 😂😂😂

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