2018 Can Be Your Year

Every year, since social media became a part of my life, I’ve noticed a yearly trend.
As each year comes to a close, the low parts rise to the top.
Social media is filled with memories of tough, crazy, miserable experiences we’ve had in the past year.
With the future year a clean slate, people begin to claim that this year will be their year. This year will be the one that goes right. The year they finally do everything they always wanted to do.
But this keeps happening every year.
Obviously, a year is much too long a time to be anyone’s year. Too many days, too many moments to make it an all around good year. And we tend to dwell on the negative, us humans, so chances are, no matter what, as the year ends we will remember the pain.
What a sad way to welcome a new year.
So much hope, so much expectation, so much belief goes into January 1st.
At some point this week I was upset about something. It’s been something I’ve been working for, and it was continuously being pulled away from me.
I was frustrated. I was tired.
Suddenly, I had this moment of shame.
I am so unbelievably lucky.
G-d has granted me so much – so what if I don’t have every single thing I want?
Like a spoiled child, I continuously noticed what I was lacking rather than recognizing the endless gifts.
So I decided to try to re-focus. To put my eyes on what was important. To step back, even if it’s a tiny step, and notice, appreciate and give thanks.
To spend some time each day really thinking about and appreciating the little things, the big things, the amazing things.
Because there are so many.
This coming year may not bring me everything I’m looking for.
This year may not be the year I become the person I want to be, or meet my other half, or make no mistakes.
But if I spend as much time thanking as I do asking, this year will be a step above the last one.
I pray He teach me compassion and empathy without giving me pain.
I pray that He helps me be more grateful for each thing I have.
2018 won’t be my year just because I don’t know what it holds yet.
2018 will be my year because I am alive, I am healthy, I have purpose, I have dreams and I have more and more each day to thank G-d for.


Blog Post: 15/52


Featured Photo via Unsplash

When I Look Closer

There are plenty of reasons these days to not celebrate Thanksgiving. The source of Thanksgiving is far from something to celebrate, yet we still do it. The honest truth is, I don’t think most Americans think of Thanksgiving as anything more than a day that is spent with family, eating good food, and trying their best to be thankful. That doesn’t take away from the pain the day represents, but it does comfort me slightly to know that it’s not a malicious celebration.
Either way, I hardly think that a day that encourages us to look inward and take notice of what we are grateful for could be taken for granted in a world like the one we live in.
I’m not naive – I know how many eye-rolls go down when someone says “Let’s all share what we are grateful for.”
But today, I’d like to share my own little grateful list. Ten things (of so many more!) in my life that I’d like to be a little more thankful for.
I am thankful for…

warm socks
I live in a basement apartment. Mornings are cold. Sometimes, nights are cold. There is so much cold. The feeling of pulling on some warm socks in the early AM or as I get into bed at night is not a feeling I’d like to take for granted.

No, I am not a meme geek. But there’s not really anything quite like the feeling of being sent a meme that encapsulates a friendship, a feeling or a moment. It’s the most modern-day form of telling someone “I see you, and I get you”

Recently, I discussed with my creative writing students about the power of being vulnerable. It is one of the most difficult things in the world, to let people in, to let people see the less-than-perfect parts of you. But the reward of allowing yourself to be vulnerable is limitless. And I am incredibly grateful that I am able to be vulnerable on a daily basis.

This one is a little bit cliche. But they are pretty much the greatest. There is nothing like the trust and love between sisters. There is no one I can be so unedited, unapologetic, and so strongly myself around. And I did nothing to have them in my life.

Disappearing into a world that you don’t have to do anything to create is a truly beautiful feeling. Falling back into characters, getting involved in a storyline, learning something about yourself. They inspire me, they entertain me, they teach me.

I love food. I love to make it, I love to eat it, and I love how it brings us together. Cooking a meal for people I love, and then sharing it with them is my most simple, yet most rich joy. I can hardly wait to share a home-cooked meal every evening with the family I will one day raise.

being human
I know, this one seems kind of basic. But, oh wow. The unbelievable tapestry of feelings, of colors, of emotions, of moments that make up the human lifespan cannot be ignored. Breathing itself is a gift we take for granted – but living, truly living? I forget much more often how precious that is.

fall weather
Fuzzy hats. Warm scarves. Boots. Big sweaters. Apple cider. It is my favorite. It makes me feel alive, the wind, the leaves, the transformation the world undergoes. Although nature all around me dies, it is a reminder that G-d created a world in which even in death, there is beauty.

 friends who get you
There are friends that require effort. There are friends that you naturally keep layers of yours from. Then, there are friends who get it. Who get you. Friends you can text at any hour of the night, without concern. Friends you can say anything to, without fear of judgment. Those are the friends you hold close, and don’t let things like life get in the way.

faith in G-d
I must be grateful for this, because I do not want to take it for granted. I was raised in a home where faith in G-d was a given. As I grew, I fostered my own faith, I developed my own belief. And today, even when G-d runs the world in ways I can’t understand, even when it seems like not only is He not answering my prayers, but perhaps He’s not even listening to them…on days like these, I am grateful, so grateful, that my faith in Him is not based on these moments. That it is based on something far more real, much, much deeper than logic and feelings.

Most of all, I am grateful that I am able to take all of these things for granted. My life is so full of blessings, I don’t even notice them all.
How could I not be grateful for that?
Blog Post: 10/52

Featured Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Day 3 of the #Happychallenge

I’m tired. Today was the third day of Chanukah, and the first major party that I took part in.
Today, what made me happy was my family.
I have them. My parents. My siblings.
They’re all here, and healthy, thank G-d.
Most of us are home for the holiday, except for two, and their spouses and children.
Family is incredible, and I don’t know how people live in the world without their family.
It made me so grateful for the family that I have, knowing that so many people are suffering now, as a result of worldwide terror.
I love you, family.
#happychallenge is easier than I thought.
Bubby, I hope you are watching me try to find the good in each day that comes. This is for you. I’m writing something happy.