Grattitude

*Note: I am aware “Grattitude” is actually spelt “Gratitude” – there’s a sign near the city that has is spelt this way because gratitude is really about your attitude.  See what I did there?  Let’s move on…

As I’m sure you’re aware, this past week was Thanksgiving.  My fiancé, or ‘fiancebabe’ as we like to call each other and he shall hence be known as, spent Wednesday-Saturday (technically Sunday morning) with various combinations of our family members.

While I’m sure a lot of people might think “Jesus. You must have wanted to shoot yourself,” we were thinking “Jesus. We’re REALLY lucky.”

I have an unconventional family that we refer to as our “modern family” and I love every single one of them, no matter how we’re related.  I also have an incredible future family-in-law that I would seriously choose to spend time with.  Not many people can say that.

Instead of raging the town at some bar in the city, we spent pre-Thanksgiving doing what every good Italian family does; eating.  As we went around the table and shared what we’re thankful and grateful for, I reflected on the many blessings in my life.  I went for the sappy road and shared my gratitude for my beloved fiancebabe and my soon-to-be in-laws.  But here are some other things I am (and lot of us should be) grateful for…

  • I’m grateful for the $8.17 organic chicken bone broth (with added organic bone marrow) I bought for lunch because it means I have a stable job and salary that allows me to enjoy such extravagances (once in a while).
  • I’m grateful for the many empty whiskey and wine bottles in my apartment because it means I have good friends who helped us drink them.  And even better friends who brought them.
  • I’m grateful for my insanely sore thighs because it means I am healthy enough to use them, and that I was able to treat myself to a Soul Cycle class.
  • I’m grateful for the medication I take every day because it means I have health insurance, a good doctor, and a country that’s finally recognizing the importance of mental health.
  • I’m grateful for the hangover I had on Saturday because it means I had a great time and that my mom can still out drink me.  It also means my body has a checks and balances system in place that makes me say “I mean it this time – I’m only having one glass of wine tonight.”
  • I’m grateful when my phone blows up from a group text because it means I have friends who want to stay connected to each other.  Plus it means I have a phone and my phone is super helpful, and it entertains me on my way to work.
  • Most of all, I’m grateful for when I feel uncomfortably full, for when I’m so comfortable I don’t want to get out of bed, for when my face hurts from smiling, and when my stomach hurts from laughing because it means that I have a good and plentiful life.

I almost forgot to mention something else I’m grateful for, or should I say someone else – I’m so grateful for my fiancebabe. Because of him I get to share all of the good (and the bad) things with someone who loves me in such a unique and powerful way.  He’s also not too bad on the eyes (wink).

I hope everyone found something to be grateful for this year, and I hope you find even more to be grateful for next year.

Oh, one last thing – I am also grateful for Pumpkin Spice Lattes because they are amazing and they mean it’s fall and I am NOT SORRY ABOUT IT.

Silver Linings of Rejection

Today I received my second rejection letter from grad school.  Grad school had always been idea in the back of my mind, so I decided to apply to two Creative Writing MFA programs.  Although I knew my chances were slim (the acceptance rate is 1% – only 6 students were admitted), I still had hope that I would be the 1% that got in.  Alas, something I really, truly wanted didn’t happen.  C’est la vie.  The first rejection letter, which I received two weeks ago, really hurt but the second one didn’t.  In fact, it actually made me feel good.  Well, after the initial “f*ck grad school, what a huge waste of time that would have been, creative writing programs are dumb” feeling wore off.  I get to stay at my job and keep working for an amazing company, and I don’t have to try to persuade my boyfriend to move to the middle of nowhere for two years.  That’s not all, I’m also taking away three important things:

It redirected my focus

Before I applied to grad school I was feeling very overwhelmed.  Everything in my life seemed to make me feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and lost.  I felt like I was rudderless and couldn’t focus my energy on one thing I actually wanted.  When the idea of grad school popped into my mind, it allowed me to concentrate on the one thing I really want to do but had lost sight of; write a book.  If I ever felt stressed from work or city life (which was often), I thought about grad school and living in a completely different place.  Even though I’m not going to grad school or moving (at least not any time soon), that ‘mental break’ thinking about grad school gave me was well worth the whole process.

I took the GRE

I’m sure most people look at this as a horrific experience I had to endure with no reward, but I don’t see it that way.  Was the GRE unpleasant?  Hell yeah – I had to sit in a room for four hours and answer questions that in no way, shape, or form tested my knowledge, but rather tested my ability to study for the GRE.  Even though that SUCKED, something pretty great happened from the experience; I learned I can still do math.

That may sound insignificant or stupid, but I legitimately thought I no longer knew how to do math (minus addition and subtraction).  My math scores were exponentially higher than I anticipated as were my writing scores (although I wasn’t too surprised with my high essay score – I mean, come on).  It felt really good to know that my brain has not melted over the past 6 years since I last took a test.

I started writing something important

Although I consider all of my writing important, I started writing something that could become the most significant thing I’ve ever written (fingers crossed); my book.  For years I’ve known I wanted to write a book, but I didn’t know how I wanted to focus all of the millions of thoughts and ideas buzzing around my mind.  Preparing a writing sample for grad school gave me the opportunity to organize, plan, and start the story that I’ve been dying to get out.  So keep a look out for chapters or excerpts that may appear on this blog or one of my other blogs.

The schools were in Wisconsin and Wyoming so it looks like I’ll be staying on the east coast…for now at least.  I actually really wanted to move to Madison, but after keeping a careful eye on their weather this past winter, perhaps it’s for the best that I won’t live somewhere where -25 is a realistic (and common) temperature.
If there’s anything you’ve ever wanted to try or secretly dreamt about doing, I highly suggest you give it a shot.  Even if you don’t get it, the things you do get as a result of the process could lead to something even better.