Since everybody talks about why they are thankful on Thanksgiving, I decided to be different and write about why I’m thankful three days after the fact. Okay, so it’s actually just because I’m my normal procrastinating self.
2010 has been a whole year of Thanksgiving for me, simply because of its stark contrast with 2009 or, as I like to call it, The Year I’d Like to Forget. I’d worked on a congressional campaign in 2008, an experience that was crazy and glorious and ended quite suddenly on Election Day, leaving me unemployed only 6 months after I’d graduated from college. I managed to time my unemployment quite perfectly with the Great Economic Downturn of 2008 and thus began my year-long job quest.
I started out looking from my parents’ house in my hometown even though I knew searching for a job over long distances was pretty much doomed for failure. Then in March I went to visit my friend in Washington D.C., the same friend I had interned with at the White House two years before and who would become my awesome roommate The Tangential One. The night I arrived I accidentally parked a good mile from her apartment near Eastern Market. As I walked down the brick sidewalks in that cozy D.C. neighborhood, I suddenly knew without a doubt that this was where I was supposed to be.
Three weeks later, in the most terrifying risk of my life, I packed up all my belongings and moved 800 miles away from everyone and everything I knew. Paying rent in D.C. is a scary prospect when you have a job, much less when there’s no money coming in. For the next eight months I applied for jobs, interned on the Hill to pass the time, watched my life’s savings disappear, and eventually had to get a job working at a Starbucks in Target (My Starbuckian experience is a whole ‘nother story, made funny by the fact that I don’t like coffee).
It would take a year of miserable blog posts to properly explain the extent to which I wanted a job, ANY job that even remotely matched my interests and could pay my rent. But you don’t want to read that because it would be seriously depressing. Suffice it to say, the day I finally lucked into a job in communications was definitely one of the happiest of my entire life.
So on this, the fourth Sunday in November, I am very, very thankful, especially for three things.
1. Having a job. I try to remind myself every single day how incredibly amazing it is that I have a decent-paying job that allows me to write. My work can be long, difficult, and frustrating, but I’m determined to always remember that my worst day with a job is better than my best day without one.
2. Spending Thanksgiving with my family. By November of 2009, my budget was pretty simple: If it wasn’t paying rent, buying food, or adding money to my metro card, it was cut. That included any gas money or airfare to see my amazing family.
3. My computer. Sure, this does seem a touch materialistic. And it is. But anyone who spends as much time as I do glued to their computer knows how depressing a worn out computer can be. By Thanksgiving 2009, my old Dell cracked all along the hinges, another piece breaking off every time I attempted to open or close the laptop. It was frozen about half the time and had a big red line that went through the middle of the screen. My very first purchase upon getting a job was my beautiful, beautiful Mac. Ok, so I borrowed the money from my parents. It was and remains so very very worth it.
I’m an optimistic person, so I’m going to choose to believe that a year from now, I’ll have even more things to be grateful for. Even so, I’ll always remember 2010 as the year things got good again. And I am so thankful.