Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What are you grateful for?

Or, to be grammatically correct, "For what or whom are you grateful?"

I was thinking about this post five weeks ago when Thanksgiving rolled around, but I never sat down to actually write it.  I feel like now is as good a time as any to ask this question, what with the new year and all.

I've always felt sort of underwhelmed by each passing new (calendar) year.  When I ask myself why and really dig for an answer it's because a small voice in the depths of my mind is rolling its eyes (because voices have eyes? who knows) and saying, "Duh. THE New Year started at the end of August when school started again."  When I think about it some more, I remember that my birthday always coincides with the first week of school ... so really, the January 1st New Year always seems to be four months late and completely irrelevant in comparison to the Double New Year that totally overwhelms me at the end of August.  A lot of people go through a champagne-induced existential crisis around 2am on January 1st, but I do all of that much earlier in the year between August 27 and September 4th (or whenever Labor Day ends).

Resolutions, Smesolutions.  WHY do people make resolutions in JANUARY?? The only thing more absurd is making resolutions in FEBRUARY.  As my sister pointed out the other day, "Why would ANYBODY commit to doing ANYTHING of ANY difficulty during the coldest, darkest, windiest, crappiest month of the whole year??  And February's EVEN WORSE!"  For real.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  We're already down ... why knock ourselves out?

While everyone else is complaining about the gym and force feeding themselves steamed broccoli, I spend a lot of time trying to remind myself why I can't afford to allow the lack of sunlight to depress me.  For example, as I lament my limp and lifeless hair and curse my genetic history (thanks, Mom), I try to end on the thought, "Well, at least I have hair. Because it would be AWFUL to be 28 years old and not have any.  And I'm sure there's a bald, 28 year old woman out there somewhere."  It's a little thing called "Perspective." I'm not proficient at this technique, but I do ok with it.


Here are five things, in no particular order, that I am really, REALLY grateful for (not including people/pets/relationships).  On my worst day, I seriously thank the Powers That Be for these things.
  1. Contact lenses/glasses (but especially contacts; I was saying to somebody the other day--maybe Tiff and Shane?--that I never would have lived past the age of 12 if I had been born, say, during the Dark Ages with the same vision I have now ... I would've fallen into a pit I couldn't see or simply been eaten by a wild animal that could see me a lot better than I would've been able to see it).
  2. Indoor plumbing, especially for heated water. And flushing toilets. (We'll count that as one.)
  3. Tampons (come on: you know you're grateful too)
  4. Any and all major appliances (including, but not limited to, washer/dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, etc. If you think this is stupid, go ask your grandmother what life was like before these things existed).
  5. Good health (including, but not limited to): two arms and two legs and two feet that work (except for the whole bunion issue, which is still really minor), 10 fingers, and a brain that works sort of well most of the time.
Looking at this list, there's still two things left out and I'm afraid I'll jinx myself if I don't include them:
  1. Roof over my head
  2. Reliable car parked out front (because taking the bus everyday where I live would be awful. ALTHOUGH, if I had to take the bus, I would be happy that a bus exists).
I'm still leaving a lot of stuff out. I'm thinking about face soap and moisturizer. If you think that's dumb, ask the average woman from the Dark Ages how she washes or moisturizes her face. Answer? SHE DOESN'T! How awful would that feel?

Again, depending on perspective, one could argue that most of the above are luxury items and I seriously need to reevaluate my life. On the one hand, this may be true. On the other, this is the life that I know, and it's too late at night to explore the randomness of, "Why me? Why this life?"

Ok, so let's switch gears.  Here are five more things that I'm really grateful for but that I could totally (physically) live without if they were taken away from me ... although I would probably cry a lot before accepting their absence (ie, out and out luxuries):
  1. Swimming pools
  2. Perfect skinny jeans (thank you, Mossimo for Target), boots, and cardigans
  3. My treadmill with multi-room DVR in the basement
  4. Microsoft Word and RefWorks (YOU try writing a dissertation without cut and paste and "highlight/DELETE" ... you use that last one a lot) ... if you ask anyone who wrote a diss before 1990, they all did it without any of these things ... which means--technically--I could do it too, but nobody would rationally wish for those circumstances.
  5. My camera ... and let's be honest: the camera is pointless without a functioning computer. So put that on the list.
  6. What the hell ... let's keep going here: Coffee! and tea! and CAKE!! and CANDY!! and BOOZE!! (Please tell me that you see the absurdity of #2, #3, and #6? Do I need to point it out?)
  7. U2
  8. Anything sparkly, ie, jewelry (just say it, already)
  9. Kelly Ripa
  10. Magazines
  11. Nail polish

Some of this year's Christmas gifts: earrings from Sarah and a bracelet from Katherine
Looking at this last list, I am aware of how frivolous all of these are while sadly aware that losing ALL of them at the same time would totally and utterly suck. (Sorry, Mom.)

And it's at this point that I reach the bottom line: No matter how I cut it, it's easy to admit that I'm absurdly, sickly privileged. So much so (that has to be grammatically incorrect) that I'm wondering if I even want to post this anymore because it's flat-out embarrassing.


What are you grateful for?

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