Thanksgiving 2012 in DC


Stunning Scenery - One reason why I'm thankful for living in DC

Yesterday was the first time I spent Thanksgiving in DC, and only the third time in my life that I haven’t spent the holiday with family. Looking back, there’s a lot to be thankful for this year.

My career break. Leaving a job voluntarily, especially in this economy, is always a tough decision. I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to study abroad in Taipei, and travel (if only briefly) around Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. I experienced and saw so many things, challenged myself in countless ways, and met so many great people.

My career. Coming back to the States with no firm offer in-country was stressful. There were moments while abroad that I feared the impending uncertainty I’d have to face once I returned to LA. Where would I live? What would I do? Thankfully, it only took me a couple weeks to receive offers. I’m now working at a career company. Note that I didn’t use the word job. After being back in the workforce for six months, it’s an amazing feeling to work at a place where I can honestly see myself for a while. It’s an amazing feeling. I’m constantly being pushed at just the right speed, the work environment is incredibly relaxed, and the benefits are just fantastic!

My friends. I once heard this interesting quote that people make the place. After moving to Philly, then DC, then Taipei, then back to DC, I wholeheartedly believe in the quote. After meeting so many people (and saying so many goodbyes) throughout Taiwan and Southeast Asia, I came back with a greater appreciation for all the friendships I’ve been fortunate to have over the past six years. And it’s not just close friends that I’m thankful for. Other friends, colleagues, activity partners, acquaintances, and even just folks that I’ve met once but have since forgotten, each individual has shaped my life in each city.

My health. Earlier this year my grandma passed away. And it was by far the most unexpected event that happened in my life this year. Her death was the first I’ve experienced among my immediately family, and was a powerful reminder that life is fleeting. As a twenty-something, I think I sometimes take for granted my health and youthfulness. I’m thankful that aside from poor eyesight and a deaf ear, I’m in good health.

While these are the top points that came to mind, about a year and a half ago I started keeping a log of three good things that happened for me that day. As this article argues, cultivating gratitude raises overall life satisfaction and helps foster a positive outlook. Although from time to time I’ve lapsed entries, the point of the exercise is to be more mindful of the positive things in our life. Try out the exercise for a week and see how you feel afterwards. Hope it makes you more aware of how great of a life you have!