Gratitude and Happiness

I just returned home from a 4.5 hour wine date with a friend, that we both expected to be closer to 2 hours. It was so refreshing and wonderful to chat with her for so long. It left me feeling an undercurrent of happiness and an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the people in my life right now.

First, this friend is someone who I connected incredibly with, despite having very different hobbies. She enjoys things like bird-watching, yoga, and national parks, while I’m into boxing, axe-throwing, and nerdy things like fantasy books, D&D, and Magic. She’s also about 20 years older than me. But we both like wine and we both have excellent conversations! A few months ago, she said something about seeing us as being sisters in a past life, and it made me so happy.

We chatted about all kinds of things- work, relationships, family. It also made me so grateful for my incredible boyfriend. For me, at this point, I feel like I’ve found my person. I’m not thinking things like is he the right one or will this be my last relationship, but when we move in together (just a few more months!), when we get married, when we have kids. People always say that when you meet the right person, you’ll know. I used to always say I knew with my past relationships, but I just wanted them to be the right one. It’s different, when you do meet the right person, and you do know it. I never knew what it meant to feel that your significant other was your best friend until him. I never knew what it meant to “just know” until him. I never really felt like my significant other was part of my family until him. Everything just fits. Even when there are struggles, I never think about whether we should break up or if I’m really happy. I know I am and I know it’s just a part of any relationship. Instead, I just think of how to deal with them so we can be better, happier, and stronger.

I also felt so grateful for my family. I went this morning with my dad to TribeFest- a celebration for the Cleveland Indians. Throughout my childhood, I have memories of going with my dad and my brother to baseball games, even watching the World Series in the 90s. Today, my dad and I have been going to games for the past few years again and going to events like this one where we get to meet players, get autographs, and get an excellent caricature of us in our Indians gear. I am truly lucky, not only for my dad, but also for my mom and brother. To have parents who are so selfless and a brother who is more than a best friend. There are so many people out there who aren’t close to their family. I couldn’t live without mine. I would be successful or really much of anything without them.

And finally, my dog Zephyr. I recently had a bit of a scare when I found a giant lump on his back leg. He had it removed recently, but I didn’t find out it wasn’t a tumor until today. He just turned 9, so I know that we’re running out of time together, but I’ve been so lucky to have him in my life. He got me through graduate school, and through a lot of important milestones in my life. For practically his entire life, it’s been just the two of us living together, and I’ll never really experience that with a pet again. We both adore each other and I love every minute of it.

Thank you to all of these people (and dog!) who have been such an incredible part of my life. I look forward to many more happy experiences! Take the time to be grateful for your people(and animals), to tell them that you love them and how much they mean to you.

New Year and Old Friends

Almost every New Years Eve in the past 15 or so years, I’ve spent with my high school friends. I was a little disappointed at first to miss that party this year, but I’m happy to have spent the time in Chicago with my boyfriend and his friends.

Sometimes in my life, I’ve had these strong feelings of this is what my life would’ve been like had things turned out differently. Spending time with Michael’s friends was like that for me, because I knew them in college too.

The reason Michael (my boyfriend) and I met was that we were both part of a gaming club in college. I participated in it for two years, but got caught up in some nasty drama primarily between these two other members of the club that I was close with (for some reason). I don’t want to go into detail, but it was the darkest time in my life and I left the gaming group because of it.

My friend group in college ended up on the fringes of this gaming group. People like Michael and a few of our other close friends in college were still in the group and others had been or had friends in it. But for the most part, I didn’t ever see a vast majority of these people again.

Until last July when I went with Michael to a 4th of July party hosted by some of the people (not the nasty ones) from this group. And November when I attended one of the games that Michael is still a part of. And New Years Eve.

I cannot tell you how terrified I was to interact with them again after all of those years. I never really knew what they thought of me because of being caught up in all of that. I was afraid they would hate me or think poorly of me in some way.

I definitely wasn’t expecting the friendly, warm, welcome I have experienced every time I’ve hung out with them since. That’s what the gaming group was supposed to be like (if it weren’t for those two people who ruined it for me). That’s what it was like for Michael over all of these years.

I couldn’t help thinking that it could have been like that for me. It was disappointing to realize that I had missed out on all of that in college and even since then.

But I am grateful to have reconnected, for the time we do get together, and for friendly, welcoming gamers like them.

To old friends in the New Year!