As you already know, I grew up in the U.K., so Thanksgiving was never a part of my life until my family moved to Toronto. Unlike poutine, plaid shirts, and snow-related activities, this is something I’ve taken to like a duck to water. A little gratitude can go a long way, so here’s a list of things I’m feeling thankful for:
- My family: we have been through so much, and we could not be a more diverse group of people (in every way) but I couldn’t be more indebted to you. You have taught me the meaning of sacrificial love, dedication, and commitment. You have insisted on me pushing myself towards betterment, no matter what. When people make shady comments about me taking the slow and scenic route for my degree and it makes me cry (all day) on my birthday, I can count on you to remind me of my successes in my creative work, the battle I have faced with my health, and that I’m building my career on this side of graduation. You are the first priority and my biggest blessing.
- My love: I could write entire volumes on why, but I won’t. You already know.
- My friends: I am always in awe of you. It is an honour to be in your lives, to witness your growth, to share in your journeys, to be lowkey shady with you sometimes and to laugh hysterically in our groupchats. I’d be lost without ya, babes.
- My work: for challenging me, for expanding my skillset, for allowing me to be the person I needed when I was young for others. You pay the bills, and you lit a fire in me that I hope will continue to burn for the rest of my life.
- My home: because you make me feel safe, because you are warm and full of light and plants and people I love.
- New friends: this year has introduced so many people who have changed my life. Be it through work, uni, Explore, or just starting a conversation on a streetcar — you’ve brought a much-needed light into my life. I’m so grateful for the all-caps texts from Sarah quoting our favourite podcast, for letters from Mishma, who lives on the other side of this huge country but always feels so close by; I’m grateful for Taha who will drag me ruthlessly one minute and then cook for me the next, for Meg and Nadine and Simone and all the rest of my Belliloise family (I miss you), the Mixed in the Six community who’ve welcomed me with open arms and impressive bone structures (seriously. Y’all are the most attractive bunch ever).
- New opportunities: I’m doing a lot of interesting things at the moment, and sometimes it gets overwhelming. I doubt myself often. Though they often feel challenging, I’m pushing myself into the person I want to be — and sometimes growth is painful, but it’s also exciting and worthwhile and beautiful.
- New team: oh, my loves. Every year the team changes a little, and it’s always the coolest group of people I know — but this year feels so special. You are so full of positivity and support. You have such important stories to tell. You make me a better storyteller and a better person, and I constantly look to you for inspiration, guidance, and uplift. Thank you for all that you are and all that you make me. I am so lucky to be a part of this team — here’s to all that we’ll do together this year.
The Little Things
- The baristas at my local Starbucks who know my order, name, and lifestory.
- Living in a neighbourhood I love, close to the lake and the downtown core.
- My pets being happy to see me.
- Days with lower-than-normal levels of pain.
- The autumn.
- Eating delicious food.
- Bumping into old friends and catching up.
- Making plans to spend time with pals.
- My mum taking really flattering, well-lit candids of me (because she knows it’s the only way to get a picture of me not looking awkward).
- Finding my writing from a previous freelance gig in an expo.
- Pals who buy you drinks and snacks while you’re writing and studying (Kiera and Taha, you’re angels).
- Reading really great books.
- My pain — for teaching me compassion, patience, and perseverance through struggle. I wish I didn’t have you, but you teach me a lot.
I could keep going, but I’ll stop here. From now on, I’m going to try and be actively grateful for things more often.