Thanksgiving 2014: Taking time to express gratitude

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to those people and things I’m most thankful for, particularly at this time. This isn’t to say there isn’t more to be thankful for besides what I’ll mentioned, because that’d be completely erroneous.

I truly am thankful for every single thing and person—no matter how much of an impact he, she, or it has made upon me—because that event, person, or whatever it may be played a part in who I am and where I’m at today. For all I know, my life could be completely different if just one person I’m acquainted with wasn’t in my life in some way.

I’m not always happy with where my life is or how it’s going, but I really am grateful to have gotten where I am today. Some people are robbed of living, and some people will never get the chance to experience what I have.

Life has its ups and downs, but I’m just glad I’ve been strong enough to get through it all. So thank you to everything and everyone that’s played a part in my life.

The problem, though, is I need  to learn to show my gratitude more often, because it’s a shame that there’s really only one day a year people do so. It’s better than nothing, but that’s doesn’t mean I can’t change my actions.

Over the past few years, I got the idea to thank—or sometimes even show—people more often for whatever they’ve done for me. My progress isn’t satisfactory yet, and maybe that’s because I’m not one to actually speak my mind. Rather, if I want something to be known, I’ll find those words and write them down.

It has been easier for me to express my gratitude to certain people compared to others, and it’s probably just because I don’t easily open up to people. But I’m slowly getting there.

Hopefully, I’ll eventually reach the point where I can show my appreciation for others more easily, but, until then, this will have to do.

God

There are a lot of things I’d like to thank Him for—essentially everything—but, at the moment, I’d mostly like to thank Him for getting me through life so far and giving me the strength to do so. These past few months haven’t always been easy, and I’ve had a couple of low points, but God has helped me get through it all.

Mom and Dad

This one is pretty simple, so there’s not much to say. My parents have made countless sacrifices for me and my siblings throughout the years. They have both given up their time and money for me and my siblings to live better lives and to make us happy. We may not always get along or agree, but I never have to question that I have their love and support.

Winston

If it weren’t for my older brother, there’s a definite chance that I wouldn’t be a Kirk Hinrich fan, let alone a basketball fanatic, so I’m definitely thankful for that. But more importantly, I value the time we have together more now that I’m in college and he has a job.

Whether it be making random references to movies or television shows or talking about sneakers and cool socks, the conversations are great. I’m also grateful for all of the times he sacrificed his time to drive me places before I could do it myself, especially now that I’ve received a taste of what it’s like to be “the driver.” It sucks sometimes, so it was very kind of him to deal with driving me around for years.

Amanda

My twin sister has (literally) been by my side through nearly everything, and I could never thank her enough. I’m ridiculously fortunate to have her with me in college, because I wouldn’t be able to get through it without her. And, even though she can be really annoying and unbearable at times, I’d much rather have to deal with that than not have her at all.

There are a lot of things I have to thank her for, but I could never fully put into words how grateful I am to have her in my life.

Mr. Clark

It has been such a blessing to know him for the past five years, because he has doubled as a tremendous mentor and a true friend. He inspired me to pursue a career in sports journalism, he has always helped me when I ask for it, and he has continually supported and believed in me.

He’s also one of the few people I can actually talk to about basketball, and I’m not sure I’d allow anyone besides him to tease me about my love for Kirk Hinrich.  It always makes my day to hear from him, and I’m just so thankful to have him in my life, because I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dana

This girl is truly one of my best friends. We don’t get to talk as much as we used to anymore, and that’s understandable, but she has always been there for me. She never complains about me venting to her, and she’s one of the few people who I feel truly understands me.

Phoebe

I can’t even explain how we became friends. It kind of just happened since she was already friends with my sister, but that doesn’t matter. She’s one of my best friends, and I miss her so much now that she’s off in California. But she’s proven that distance won’t end our friendship, and I truly appreciate that. It’s easy for any type of relationship to become one-sided, but she has made sure that hasn’t happened, and that honestly means the world to me.

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have (obviously) had a gigantic impact on my life, but my favorite thing about the Bulls is the fact I can watch them play and stop worrying about whatever problems I have. I know it’s horribly cliché, but I can’t deny the truth.

Basketball in general makes me feel better, but there isn’t much else that makes me feel better than knowing I can watch the Chicago Bulls play basketball, even if they’re performing poorly.

Kirk Hinrich

Anyone who doesn’t know about how much I love Kirk Hinrich doesn’t truly know me. I wrote a column about him for my school paper, The Daily Illini, and that pretty much explains why he means so much to me, but I still feel that doesn’t do him justice.

Any time I’m feeling down, just watching an old highlight video of his can instantly lift my mood. It easily brings me comfort and contentment, and that speaks volume to what he’s done for me.

Health

Hopefully I don’t jinx anything my saying this, but my health has been pretty great since I’ve got to college. *knock on wood* I can’t even recall having the common cold since moving to Champaign. Sure, my allergies act up when I’m down there when it’s nice and warm out, but I haven’t been too bothered by any sicknesses. It certainly won’t last forever, but I’m thankful for the fact is has been good.

Opportunities

I can’t pick out an exact time, but it was probably near the end of my sophomore year of high school that I initially came up with the idea of becoming a sports writer. I always thought I’d get my start by just creating my own Chicago Bulls blog. I would probably think of as “pretty crappy,” but it would just be a start. I never got to that point, because I actually got my start at FanSided’s Pippen Ain’t Easy.

That was toward the end of my junior year of high school, and the gig lasted about two years and eight months before I decided it was time to leave. I made a lot of growth there, and I’m extremely grateful for my time there, because if not for that, my journey to becoming a sports writer would be completely different.


“Thankfulness creates gratitude which generates contentment that causes peace.” – Todd Stocker

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