Recently I’ve learned not to complicate things; that I’m a simple person that thrives on the little things. So when I started thinking about what I’m thankful for, I thought of all the things I’ve learned over the last few years about myself and where I currently live, Oswego, NY.
My list may seem cliche and boring, but to me, after learning about all the hardships of those in my community without the same “Zella” luck that I’ve been able to take advantage of, it made me appreciate what I have even more.
With that being said, here’s my list of things I’m grateful for since I started living on my own and learning about what it takes to survive.
1) I can afford to turn my heat on: For many people, this is an unaffordable luxury. It’s not terribly expensive, despite National Grid charging $60 in “delivery fees,” but for some this is a burden that can only be combated with layers of clothes while in the house.
2) My car starts every time I need it to: Another thing that people may take for granted, my car is the most expensive thing I have and something I’m really proud of now that I am paying for it on my own.
3) I have a (two) job(s): They’re not much, but I can pay my bills and frankly, isn’t that all we need?
4) I can afford to eat what I want, when I want: My favorite part of Italy wasn’t the history or the sights, it was about what the Italian people really care about: Food, culture, and conversation. When I visited my family in Milan, we didn’t do anything extravagant; nothing that would get a wow out of a thrill seeker. We went on bike and car rides, swam in a river, went to festivals, and ate and ate and ate. Though this is something a lot of people don’t find to be one of the more important parts of their lives, the fact that I get to surround myself with good people and tasty food makes my life a little better, and I’m glad I can afford to do it.
5) My clothes fit: Everyone complains about clothes and I’ll admit, I do too. But when I really think about it, I have clothes that fit and make me look a bit better when I need to go into public.
6) I have people around me that genuinely care about my existence: Good friends are hard to come by and even harder to keep in your life, especially if you met them in college. However, I’ve been lucky enough to keep a good group of people in my life for quite some time now, even if they live 3 or 6 hours away. When I messaged old high school buddies to help me be a part of Movember, they signed right up with me. When I call a friend in Buffalo and ask what’s going on, we spend over an hour shooting the breeze and planning a visit to each other’s current residence. It’s amazing; something I’ll never take for granted. My family, too, has continued to be a rock for me to stand on in a time of need, even if it’s not of the fiscal nature. I can always call my parents or grandparents for a good laugh and some reassurance.
7) I’m on my way to a Masters Degree: I was lucky enough to have most of graduate school paid for by my employer, SUNY Oswego, making it easy for me to concentrate on my studies and complete my degree in 4 semesters. With one more semester remaining, I’m happy with what opportunities have turned into over the last 2 years.
8) And of course, my girlfriend: She’s put up with me more than anyone of the last 2 years. Between never being home, reading or writing papers when I am home, and making sure I eat every day, there hasn’t been a person more involved with keeping me on the right track than Leah.