Lately (as in the past two years) it has seemed as if the whole world has gone to shit. It makes it hard to stay grateful, present and mindful. However I have found my things that make me thankful and it’s all about trying to make my world smaller. We live in time where we think very globally because of social media and the 24 hour news cycle but I have learned that if I think locally, I am a much happier person. Now let me say that again for anybody in the back. Making my world SMALLER, thinking locally makes me more mindful and less overwhelmed by the insanity that is our global environment. It is easier to stay thankful consistently too.

I have learned that if I think smaller, I am a much happier person.

It’s always been one of my goals to be continuously growing. In fact when I feel the most frustrated it’s because I’m feeling fucking stuck and stagnant and haven’t learned a new skill, new information, OR all the things I’ve learned are out of my control. For instance it is not in my control who is president. The orange faced twatwaffle that sits in the white house makes me legit angry. Is that in my control at this time? No. The election happened and I am not going to rehash why he sits there again, since it is the least helpful thing I can do. I learn new information about the current regime daily. Does it make me feel like I’m growing as a person? Nope, not even a little. Because it isn’t. I need to stay on top of it so I don’t allow myself to grow complacent. But there is a fine line between staying informed and going insane.

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Read about how the creator of this comic feels about staying informed enough to create political cartoons.

So I say this as a person who loves to be on top of the news, that likes to be one of the best informed people in the room. It’s not healthy. It’s not helpful. Take a step back. It’s almost thanksgiving! It is time to be grateful for what we have and look at the good in the world. I have to think about things within my actual day to day life for that to occur. So here is my list of things and reasons I am thankful and grateful in no particular order.

Reason Number One: My child.

Yes she drives me nuts because she is a toddler. But she is funny, sweet, spicy and she is mine. I wanted her so badly to be in this world and I made that goal happen. Never have I been so happy about a decision coming to fruition as I am about Juniper. I am very thankful for my daughter. Not everyone can get pregnant easily or is able to have children. My baby and the light she brings to my life makes me feel grateful and lucky.

Reason Number Two: My city.

I live in Fullerton. It has a vibrant community of playgrounds, it is safe, has great restaurants and it is just a fun place to live. I am incredibly lucky I have found myself here. Most people live where they live for a reason. Try to remember the positives of why that is. Fullerton was where my husband lived, but it’s also close to his family and it was a beautiful house even before I moved into it. I’m thankful the place he already lived was a good place for both of us. It’s also a multicultural city so my child is not the only one who is mixed race and will grow up in a multilingual household. Speaking of where I live…

Reason Number Three: My Home

I work hard to make my home welcoming and comfortable. But beyond that I’m lucky I have a fucking home! So many people struggle to keep a roof over their heads and because I am incredibly privileged this isn’t something I worry about (anymore). Our home is owned by my in laws who we rent from. They will never make us leave. It is in good shape (though every home has a list a mile long that needs to be taken care of). And people who visit say how warm and inviting it is. That is a goal that I always had and have now achieved. What is it you love about your home? Maybe you don’t love all of it, but think small. Do you have a piece of furniture you love to cuddle up on? Maybe you have twinkly lights above your bed that make you feel magical? Think about that thing and be thankful for it.

Number Four: My female friendships.

I have a plethora of amazing female friendships. Kick ass lady friends who hold me up when I am down. Who let me feel sad without shaming me for it. Who remind me that I am not alone in any struggle I have. Life isn’t always perfect. We all have our trauma and our difficulties but with strong friendships we can survive it all. I am thankful for women supporting women. Find your tribe, build your village. You won’t regret it.

Reason Number Five: My husband.

My husband is my opposite. This isn’t always easy. But it is INTERESTING. I am not bored in my relationship. Oliver has so much energy. He is always on to a new thing and goes at it full force.

His catch phrase is if anything is worth doing it’s worth overdoing. He’s also very handsome so I put up with a lot of his insane ideas.

He is constantly challenging himself to learn and that is inspiring. It is also the thing we have most in common even if we point it in different directions. Oliver is a cartoon character full of youthful energy that I don’t think will ever wear off. He has learned to support me through depression and anxiety. He is an amazing father who is currently at the park with our daughter as he is almost every morning so I can get some writing done. I love him. We are not perfect. We fight. We also have amazing sex. 70/30 is our happy to frustrated together ratio and I think that is a pretty damn good. It’s good to love and to be loved. I am thankful that I have both.

Reason Number 6: The Election.

No, not the presidential election! I said think smaller. I am talking about the local elections WHICH WERE A HUGE WIN! For the first time in Orange County’s history it has become blue. BLUE WAVE BABY. I hope this means there will be real change in congress and that we will see our morals and views represented. I feel my vote counted and that we have hope for our future even if on a larger scale it is still a huge fight and there is scary things happening nationwide as well as locally. There are good people willing to do the work and that is definitely something to be thankful for.

Reason Number 7: My extended family.

My brothers are hilarious. When we are together we drink and laugh until I pee myself (hey I’ve got a mom bladder now I’m working on that pelvic floor don’t judge me). My brothers love my husband, possibly even more than they love me. My parents are warm and loving and I miss them all the time since I live on the opposite coast. But also that distance helps me miss them and appreciate them in ways I never did when I lived at home. My in laws will do literally anything we need for us when they are in town (they love to travel). My sister and brother in law are funny and kind and we enjoy their company. My Aunt Liz is like another mother to me and even takes the train out almost weekly to help with Juni so I can get a break or we can have a date. I am LUCKY. Yes they all drive me insane at different times but that is family.

Reason Number 8: I get to stay at home with my baby.

I am privileged enough that I don’t need to work a 9 to 5 job outside my home. I have a physical illness (Fibromyalgia) that makes working a typical job near impossible. I’ve worked many of them and lost many because of my health issues. We have invested in a property with my in laws that I rent out through Airbnb and this is enough for me to have an income that helps my family. If I didn’t have my in laws to help purchase the home I wouldn’t be able to stay at home with my daughter. I wouldn’t be able to write this blog just for a way to release my creativity and connect with other mothers. I would be limited like so many of my friends, and my followers are. I am incredibly privileged. It wasn’t always this way. There has been times in my life I worked multiple part time jobs, there is times in my life I worked myself to exhaustion to buy groceries. I am no longer there and I am lucky.

Reason Number 9: My dogs.

Animals are proven to reduce stress and anxiety and on top of that Bullwinkle and Berdoo are just the sweetest. They love unconditionally in a way that no human ever could. I lost my dog Captain last year and I still miss him. They are a part of our family. Not everyone has the time and energy for a pet, but I consider it well worth it. My boys teach my daughter gentleness and love. They are beyond patient and tolerant and everyone should try to be more like the person their dog sees them as. I am thankful for dogs.

Reason Number 10: My creative pursuits.

I have a band full of amazing talented people I love working with. My husband and I write songs together that I am so proud of. I get to go dance my heart out at least once a week at S-Factor. I write here just for my own release and to move through and process things in my life. Maybe you aren’t interested in the same things, but you are a great baker, or wonderful at math, or good at crosswords. Maybe you’re incredible at naming each plant in your garden or can mountain bike for 20 miles. What is it that you do that makes you, you? That’s something we should all be thankful for, the things that intrinsically make us, and our families who we are.