Growing up, I’ve always loved birthdays. I am a big fan of tradition and holidays in our family are full of them. Birthdays are like mini holidays; they happen often and are breaks from reality that we’ve always celebrated with food, family, and love. Not to mention that I also love gift giving! Finding someone the perfect gift that you just know they’ll love and seeing their reaction to receiving it is so heart warming, especially if it’s handmade.
The last few years though, I haven’t been feeling the love for my birthday; not for all birthdays, just mine. I think this mainly stems from the fact that the years I’ve been sick have flown by so fast that I feel like I can’t keep up, as though I’m falling behind in life. I often just want to pause life until I can catch up! I know that is not going to happen because my life path is a little different from the norm so I just need to do the best I can with what I have. Acknowledging this though doesn’t stop those negative feelings from dampening the mood on occasion. Plus, I just get tired of only being able to watch people eat and not partake myself sometimes.
Luckily for me, every few years, my birthday falls on the most food-centric holiday of the year: Thanksgiving. That means that the day of my birthday involves lots of yummy food and desserts that I can’t eat. I miss pumpkin pie very much. Anyways, all things considered, I wasn’t super pumped for my birthday. In the end though, it ended up being a great weekend and it made me realize how much I have to be grateful for. So, in honour of my birthday on October 9th being Thanksgiving day this year, here are 9 things I’m thankful for:
- My family: This year, I was fortunate to be surrounded by family to celebrate my birthday! My parents, sister, grandparents, and a couple of my aunts, uncles, and cousins came on Sunday for Thanksgiving dinner. Also, my aunt and uncle from away came and camped here with their motorhome in our driveway for weekend so the entire weekend was spent with family. I am very grateful to have been able to spend time with all of them and for the fact they all came to my home to make it easier for me to participate in the festivities. I’m thankful for the fact I was surrounded with people I love and who love me on my birthday.
- Crafting: Blogging isn’t only my creative outlet; I enjoy many other art forms and crafts! I spend a lot of time taking photos, doodling, and crocheting, among other crafts. Crafting makes for a great hobby because it doesn’t require much energy and is something I can enjoy even when I am not feeling the best. It gives me an opportunity to think creatively and to create something I’m proud of. I love seeing a crochet project go from just a ball of yarn to an actual item you can wear and use.
- My dog: Teddy has only been a member of our family for a short amount of time but it feels like we’ve known him forever. He fits in perfectly! Every day, he does something goofy that makes me smile or cuddles with me and I never feel lonely having him around. Working on training him is something I really enjoy doing and, seeing him succeed, gives me such a sense of pride. He is the best furry friend.
- Modern medicine: This one is a somewhat give-in as the reason why. Without modern medicine, I wouldn’t be here writing this post! Yeah, I would way rather be eating and drinking than running TPN, sure, I would much rather be able to walk than use a wheelchair, and, yeah, I don’t like having tubes hanging off my stomach and arm, but, if I have to be sick, I am grateful for it to be in a time where we have medicine to support the functions by body can’t do. I am grateful that it is there to compensate.
- Spontaneous adventures: On Saturday, my parents, sister, and I, along with my aunt and uncle and all the fur babies, went for a trip to my favourite beach, the Duck Pond! It was a very warm day in October (seriously, some of us were in short sleeve shirts) and there was almost no wind despite being right on the Bay of Fundy. Getting onto the beach was hard (I had to get a ride from my mom while my dad carried my chair down the hill and then my mom sat me down and picked me back up after taking pictures on the rocks) but so fun. The dogs all had a blast running down the beach and I enjoyed watching the waves hit the shore while the time moved out. It was a great little adventure.
- My wheelchair: Speaking of spontaneous adventures, none of them would be possible if it weren’t for my wheelchair. It sounds funny to say I’m grateful for it but, without it, I wouldn’t be able to get around like I do with it. It has given me so much more freedom. After waiting over a year, I finally have my own light weight wheelchair that is fitted for me and I’m so appreciative.
- This blog: Having this platform to share my message has been such a blessing. Firstly, it is very therapeutic to share what’s on my mind and I really enjoy writing. It’s been a great hobby! This blog has also allowed me to meet a lot of fabulous people who follow my journey and form a great support system. It’s also allowed me to share messages I believe in and advocate for causes I support. My Invincible Summer has been a great journey and an amazing creative outlet. Thank you to everyone who’s been following!
- Online education: Some of you may not know this but, for a bit, I’ve been back to school online through Athabasca University. I’m listening to what my body and brain can handle and am taking things slow, doing one or two classes at a time. I’ve finished two (almost three!) classes towards my bachelor degree so far in addition to what I got done at MUN during my first year. The university has been perfect for me because they allow you six months to finish a class and they have tons of accommodations available for us with disabilities. I don’t enjoy it as much as “real” university and it will most likely take me much longer than 4 years to finish my degree but I am grateful to have this opportunity and to complete university, even on a different timeline.
- Turning 21: Like I mentioned above, I wasn’t looking forward to my birthday. I didn’t feel ready to turn 21. The last few years have been hard with my health struggles and I feel like I haven’t accomplished much. But, looking back, I see that I have made it through so much. My accomplishments and the things I’ve learned over the last few years may not be those of your typical twenty-one year-old but they’re mine and I’m proud of them regardless. I’m thankful for how I’ve grown through adversity and adapted to what life has thrown my way. I’m thankful to have been here on earth for 21 years!
And there we have it! These are the nine things I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving. This was a great post to write to help me feel more optimistic about the upcoming year and more positive about turning 21. I’ve come to find that, no matter what I am going through, there is always something to be thankful for. What are you grateful for this year?