Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks and today I’d like to express my gratitude for the many blessings in my life. When reflecting back on the year, I immediately give thanks for my faith, my family, my friends, my education, and my health. But when I dig a little deeper, I also see how many things over the past year have been blessings in disguise. I’d like to give thanks for those as well.
Living on a budget thanks to school and student loans is not exactly everyone’s version of fun. In fact, most would say it…well…sucks. But living on a budget has enriched my life more than any dollar amount could. It has made me appreciate the smaller (yes, priceless) things in life. Spending time with family instead of rummaging through the racks to find the latest sales. Taking the dog for a walk instead of Starbucks-ing it up for the 5th time this week. Reading a book instead of getting a manicure. Resting. Time well spent, indeed.
Living on a budget has also decreased the importance I put on money. Luckily, I am VERY fortunate to be entering a career with many, many opportunities. The world is truly at my feet. I have been blessed to be offered several positions…but I have been even more blessed in being able to turn them down. Without sugar-coating it and at the risk of sounding boastful, the job offers I have received have come equipped with substantial salaries … money I never dreamed possible to make. But the money isn’t everything. Opportunities to learn and grow as a person and as an occupational therapist are worth SO MUCH MORE. I would gladly take a job at half the salary if I was guaranteed learning experiences and the ability to truly make a difference in the lives of those I am treating.
Since I am living on a budget, commuting 2 hours and 45 minutes to work has been the way of life for the past 11 weeks. What at first was a daily dread, I now embrace fully. For those who know me best, I’m not one to sit still or waste time (unless I’m flat out exhausted, which is likely why I fall asleep as soon as I hit the pillow every night). So to me, the thought of sitting in a car for 2 hours and 45 minutes EVERY DAY for 12 weeks sounded miserable. It sounded like wasted time. Instead, I have grown to look forward to my daily commute. It is a time to relax and clear my head before and after work. A time to sing to Jake Owen at the top of my lungs. A time to roll down the windows and catch some fresh air. Most importantly, it’s been a special time to call the people that mean the most to me. I’ve probably logged as many minutes on my cell phone as I have miles on my car. Had my commute been any shorter, I probably would have gotten home and jumped into the next task on my to do list. Instead, I have gotten to share work stories and wedding plan with Megan. I’ve gotten to chat with Keri about the next chapters in our lives and where we will both end up next. I’ve been able to catch up with James and many other people whose phone calls and conversations I have neglected for far too long. Not such a waste of time, afterall.
Ouch. This is a tough one. One that I am continually having to convince myself is a blessing in disguise each and every day. My heart has been broken by those taken away too soon and by those who have chosen to walk away. By disappointments and regrets. By a sweet little shih tzu named Petey and by a boy who could care less if I am alive or dead. Heatbreak, whatever the source, is not easy. It is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. But without heartbreak, there is no compassion. How can you appreciate the hurt in others if you’ve never been hurt yourself? I am a better person for it and a better OT for my patients. It has also made me appreciate the people I love and who show love to me in return more than I have ever before.
I am now entering a phase in life I have decided to name, “The Unknown.” A crossroads with paths going in a million and one directions. Overwhelming…scary…amazing. Sure, I could freak out. Instead, I am choosing to welcome it with open arms. I’ve been praying non-stop in hopes that I will feel a pull one way or another. Recently I have felt overwhelming peace about pursuing one path in particular. Whether or not it pans out - I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that someone already has it all figured out. He knows my story - He is the author. It always has (and always will) be in His hands.