Tag Archives: gratitude

On My Own

It happened so fast I think I am JUST now having it all sink in. The last time I posted, I had decided, but not aloud, that I was ready to have my own place. A few days after that, I mentioned it aloud. Within a week, I was filling out paperwork and getting keys. I didn’t expect it to happen so fast. But that is the thing I have noticed about this crazy journey, when it rains it pours, and then your new city floods….

I got my keys. I had a roll of toilet paper in my purse this time. The first time I rented an apartment in college, my roommate and I signed the papers and were going to run and get a few things and the store before we unloaded (I think our parents were an hour behind us with all our stuff…maybe…I don’t really remember), but first, as is typically with my tic-tac sized blatter, I wanted to make a pit stop. I walked in and realized, “Oh my gosh! I have to provide my own toilet paper now!” Silly, I know, but before this I had lived with my parents or in the dorms, so toilet paper was just always magically there. This time I was wiser. I was prepared. I brought my own roll. I borrowed an air mattress. I ran to store for a shower curtain. I got cereal, milk, and my coffee maker. I settled in for my first night.

It has been a week. I am still moving my stuff in and trying to furnish the place creatively (read: spending as little as possible). I have discovered the usefulness of Craig’s List. Up until now I only looked at it because I found the missed connections section interesting. I have obtained a few tools to help me with the things I have found on said useful site. Friends have loaned me furniture so there is a place to sit if you come to visit, but not if you and two of your friends come over, so bring a chair. It is kind of a BYO whatever at this point. Maybe one day soon I can offer you your own plate, just not today.

I think what feels so good about it is that I am really starting. I am on my own so to speak. I know I am never really on my own. I learned this lesson a million times over these past few years. I have amazing people in my life. Not just the people out west but the ones right here in town. Especially the ones who have helped me make this place home. And even though it hasn’t been a whole week and I am less than 8 miles away, I miss the No-Longer-Pregnant cousin and the My-Actual-Biological cousin and the Wee One. I will be eternally grateful to them. If they hadn’t opened their hearts and home to me, I doubt I would have loaded my car up and headed this way. They gave me a safe place to land and to start rebuilding. Rebuilding was exactly what I needed. Thank you guys.

Taking a job, getting my own place. Those feel like HUGE things for me at this point. They are major commitments for me. The kind I very much intentionally avoided for almost two years. I needed to take that time for myself. To wander wherever my spirit took me. It brought me here, and on a few other adventures along the way. I’ve learned that no matter what the paperwork says, no matter all our best intentions, it can change. It can change because you want or need it to. It can change and you have no control over it. All you do have control over is how you deal with it. So here I am, on this journey, starting out again and I couldn’t be more excited.

Independence Day

Tomorrow is my favorite holiday. I love the 4th of July even more than I love Thanksgiving, Passover, or my half birthday (it was last week if you were wondering).

There is something really special about July 4th.

It is so festive and fun. For me, growing up, it was always about community, family, fun, and gratitude. I think that is what makes it so special, the gratitude aspect. Arguably, my other favorite holidays (minus my half birthday) are also holidays of gratitude. But I like Independence Day the most.

I could go on and on for you about the long history of patriotism in my family. The love of country that was instilled in me since I was small. The fact that I sing patriotic songs as lullabies because I know those songs best. And perhaps one day, in a future post, I will. But today I just want to share my unabashed enthusiasm for my favorite day.

My first 4th of July
4th of July circa my toddler years


I am so grateful to be able to celebrate tomorrow. My parents will be in town (Mom said, “I know it is your favorite holiday and Dad and I just wanted to be with you to celebrate), and so will some other family. I am grateful for my family. My friends, cousins, Dad, uncles, and Gramps served our country, and many members of my family have chosen lives of service in some capacity or another. I am thankful for them, and for everyone I have met, and haven’t, who work and sacrifice to make my life, and the lives of others better.

I am thankful, even though I did not enjoy spending a week at the downtown criminal courthouse, to have jury duty. Yes you read that correctly, I am thankful for jury duty. I see it as a civic duty, it is my responsibility as a positively contributing member of society to participate in the judicial system when asked. It is right up there with voting. It is a privilege that, even when inconvenient, is part of the whole package. I am also incredibly glad to be able to vote. I remember the first ballot I cast. It was for the California gubernatorial recall (do the math). I was so absurdly excited, and I still get excited every time I vote. I love getting my sticker, I love watching the news as the polls close. Even the “little” elections are exciting to me. I totally geeked out with enthusiasm the first time I was in D.C. as a middle school student, and again as a high schooler, and again as an adult, and I don’t doubt I will again and again.

You know, just part of my civic duty
You know, just part of my civic duty


I could go on and on about all the little things I love and I am thankful for as a citizen of the United States. I think Dennis Prager said it well here, it is only a part of what I love, but I really appreciate the way he articulates the idea of the values that make this country great.

Tomorrow isn’t my favorite holiday just because I think America is an amazing country (which I do, not perfect but amazing nonetheless), or because I am thankful that I was born a citizen of America (which I am), it is also my favorite because it is such a happy day. How can it not be? If we are setting aside a day in the summer to be thankful and celebrate freedom, we should be happy. No one has the pressure of buying gifts for people. We get to hang out with people we love. It is often a great opportunity for pictures because people aren’t matching, but they typically coordinate well with each other. Clothing is often minimal and people smell like sunscreen and barbecue. The food is great. The sun doesn’t set until well into the evening. The fireworks are so beautiful. It is almost romantic in a way. I mean really, what’s not to love?

This year I will miss Brother waking me up by blasting Stars and Stripes Forever on the stereo. Dad wont have set up chairs to watch the parade, and as small town and kitschy as the parade is I LOVE it . Getting to sit on the sidewalk with friends and family, some of whom are from different political affiliations (gasp), and worse, are Giants fans (poor things), while we enjoy a day of celebration and gratitude is all part of the coming together as a community and nation that make it such a special day.

A day meant for joy
A day meant for joy
Waiting for the parade to start
Waiting for the parade to start


Celebrating the 4th of July is whatever you make it. I know for me this year, I will be once again thankful for my freedom and all that that entails; for my family and friends; and for the journey that I have taken since the last Independence Day, and the freedom to be on this crazy adventure.

A family tradition
A family tradition