In years past, I have been mildly annoyed at the earnest reference to Thanksgiving as “Turkey Day”, complete with plans to accomplish nothing beyond stuffing face and watching football.
I think I can peer out from inside my cave now; it appears things may have changed somewhat. After all, I did not encounter the phrase “Turkey Day” until after noon. Instead, the pictures and status updates flying around Facebook (my only contact with the outside world thus far today) consisted of overflowing attitudes of gratitude, many of which resonated deeply within me and echoed my sentiments exactly.
In typical Kitty fashion, here we go:
The Big Stuff – like almost everyone else, I’m thankful for health, safety, friends, and family. I’m thankful for the opportunity to enjoy the holidays with some of these people and in relatively good health (i.e. nothing seriously wrong, such as battling cancer or HIV or Lyme or having been newly paralyzed or whatnot).
The Human Basics – it’s easy to overlook these and take them for granted–until they’re no longer a given in your life. These include healthy food and enough of it, clean water, shelter, warmth (and other indoor atmospheric control), indoor plumbing, and a relatively clean environment.
Okay, so that covers the staples. But the true gems and true thanks live in the less-obvious corners and deserve their own mentions.
Deepened and Deepening Friendships – these are those rare diamonds that can enrich your life beyond your previous wildest dreams and give it brand-new meaning. I’m thinking of two friendships in particular, one of which is quite long-term and the other of which is budding and new. Neither are local, although I wish with every fiber of my being that they were.
One is East and one is North. With any luck, someday they both might come south. Others are budding and strengthening, too, even if not as prominently. A couple of these are local, others are elsewhere in my same state. It’s nice to find kindred spirits and it’s nice to find out that people you love and look up to so much are discovered to come to feel similarly toward you.
Clinic Success, but not just financial – yes, we’re on track to beat last year in terms of income, which is quite a wonderful feat for a new, infant practice. But the biggest gratitude goes to the Universal Higher Power for orchestrating the various clinical successes we’ve had–you know, where the patient raves about you to their family because their lives have improved so drastically, and those family members (whom you’ve never met) love you from afar and even include you in their prayers.
Living in San Antonio and Texas – I think of this as a layer of protection from a potential tyrannical entity (or several) that helps me sleep better at night and not live in quite such a state of underlying fear. The rebellious “hell no, we won’t go!”, middle-finger spirit of Texas helps me retain at least a sliver of faith in humanity and a tiny distant light of hope for the future.
And of all the Texas cities, San Antonio is the friendliest and most down-to-earth. It’s not up-and-coming, forward-thinking, fast-paced, hyper-stimulating, world-revolutionary, state-of-the-art, or hip and trendy. There’s not much money here, not much opportunity for locust investors to come “monetize” or “capitalize”.
But it’s a nice, easy, basic, inexpensive place to relax, enjoy yourself, and live life and if you can actually, contribute a product or service someone wants, with genuine, no-nonsense customer service, you might earn a comfortable living.
San Antonio is the first place I have ever lived that I can truthfully call a permanent home. Every other place was either a temporary home or home away from home (such as Calgary or Vancouver), or a total mismatch (Minneapolis or any other place in MN) or a partial mismatch (Dallas).
The Kittehs – it touches my heart to have Murphy look at me with child-like eyes and with cute little determination, jump up on the sofa next to me, nestle in among my laptop and bowl of dinner, and purr his ass off or start bathing….loudly. And then to look over the floor to see Maddie, on her back with her feet spread, to the point where all you see is a fluffy little black and white tummy. Or to wake up in the middle of the night with her kneading on my abdomen and then settling there, as unobtrusive as she can.
Music, especially the new cool material I’ve recently found – music has long been a powerful outlet for me that has provided release and relief in multiple ways. It made the tough parts of childhood and adolescence bearable. It heightened the excitement of our summer traveling. It connected me by mind and heart to my friends, both in Canada and Stateside. It provided a backdrop for weightlifting, bike riding to and from school, or any other type of exercise. And, it provided a creative and emotional outlet for complex and tumultuous thoughts and feelings.
Our current apartment – down the hill, hidden by a mature tree, with plenty of softened, non-overpowering western sun. It has plenty of space and it’s clean and sanitary. It provided a nice recovery environment for the surgery, too. We’re not ashamed of the place; having people over is comfortable and free of self-consciousness or embarrassment. Best of all, the fur-kids love it here.
The Hysterectomy – so many aspects of this came together so beautifully. I was able to work with a doctor of my choosing without insurance coverage restraints. I was able to work with the other professionals they recommended, without the influence of insurance constraints.
I went in well-informed and unafraid, knowing exactly what would happen and what to expect (at least as much as I could without having yet experienced it firsthand).
I had a supportive partner, a concerned family, and a dedicated friend/family member who thought nothing of putting her life on hold to come help me.
I’m self-employed, so I could dictate what my schedule would be according to my daily-changing needs without having to convince a supervisor or jockey for time off or head back to the rat-race before I was ready.
And the income didn’t suffer much, either – a few of my patients put off their follow-up visits while I was gone and have yet to get back in, but almost everyone else has stayed on board and my partner has been able to step in and fill my shoes quite nicely.
As grueling and difficult as the actual operation was, I didn’t know the difference and when I woke up, I began healing quickly and either on or ahead of schedule. And now I feel and look so much better!
Bonus: no hormone-replacement therapy, no monthly bleeding, and no chance of carrying a pregnancy.
Hobbies, especially new ones – these include things like working out, Nia, shooting, and bowling – these have been my outlets, both physically and mentally. Most of them contribute to physical fitness, energy, health, and a sense of accomplishment. They also serve as neurologically-balancing psychological/mental releases, as well as sharpening the mind. I simply feel better after having done any of these. And all of these also have social potential, in which many laughs and memories abound (other than working out, which provides some nice individual solitary time).
Facebook – yeah, yeah, I know. As much drama and stress as it causes and as much of a pain in the ass nuisance that it is… it’s still an asset to my life.
I get to keep in touch with distant friends and family. I get to reunite with former classmates and others I thought I had lost touch with forever. I get to form and grow new friendships, or develop and strengthen existing ones. I get to express various opinions and achieve solidarity with people who think like I do, or sharpen iron with people who hold alternate viewpoints. I get to rejoice in the fact that many other people hold some of my same unconventional viewpoints and that I’m not nearly as alone as I often feel. I get to post and repost jokes without sifting through a thousand emails. We get to share in kitteh squee and cute stuff.
It is also through Facebook that we can connect in an additional way with colleagues, current patients, former patients, on-hold patients, and potential new patients. Not that our practice’s Facebook page has actually gotten us a new patient yet, but hey, there’s a first time for everything.