"I Am Thankful" posts usually go live before Thanksgiving but I was busy. Most of all, I am thankful to you!
I am writing my 'What am I thankful for' post tonight - or tomorrow - at 2:45 a.m. on the morning after Thanksgiving. Better late than never, but this means my Black Friday post will probably come on Saturday.
Thanksgiving dinner at the Arsan household
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday
Growing up quasi-Muslim in a Christian country means you don't really get to celebrate any holidays that mean anything to anyone other than your family and a handful of others. When I was little, my parents dismissed Christmas as a holiday where poor people went into deeper debt to buy things for people that didn't mean much to them in the first place. We did have a Christmas tree one year, and usually exchanged gifts on New Year's Eve, (which Turkish people do), but there was not meaning for Christmas to us.
But Thanksgiving was different. When my parents were still married, they had lots of other Turkish friends with kids our age and we always celebrated Thanksgiving. I remember big parties with lots of food and lots of kids. We got dressed up and went to my friend Canan's house in Highland Park - I can see her fire place flickering in my mind's eye like it was yesterday. Her birthday was always around Thanksgiving and it was usually a double celebration with a birthday cake and gifts too - no football. I always felt like because we were immigrants it was important for us to celebrate Thanksgiving. Our Thanksgivings were always the best.
I guess that was the prelude to what I am thankful for... maybe I needed to set it up a bit to give it some background. Now, let's get into what I am actually thankful for...
This is what I am thankful for
1. I am thankful for my beauty. It may sound vain but I am not sorry. I am eternally grateful for my looks, but beauty is more than looks. My looks do not define me and I did nothing to earn my looks, but I do choose to be beautiful. I eat well, I take care of my health, my skin, my teeth, my hair and my body. I also work hard to be knowledgeable, to be kind and to stay happy. Beauty, to me, is the whole, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
My face - no makeup in a magnified mirror
My eyes are a little bloodshot because this photo was taken in Vegas at 4:30 a.m.
Some people might be upset by the fact that I've listed my beauty as the number one thing that I am thankful for, well too bad. Everyone is always complaining about lack of confidence, and how the media causes women to have a poor self-image... well, here you have it, a woman who is perfectly happy with herself. If you have a problem with it, well, that's your problem.
2. I am thankful for my family. I have a great family, small but great. My dad is awesome. My mom is probably the best mom who ever walked the earth. My brother's aren't half bad, in fact, the two of them together make one really good brother. I kid. I am very thankful for my loving family.
My dad dancing at my brother's wedding last weekend
This photo was created by Google auto-awesome, it's funny
3. I am thankful for my friends. I only have a handful of close friends, but I am very fortunate that I have so many good people around me who I can trust and rely on. My friends make me feel like the richest person on the planet. The only one missing from the photos you'll see below is my friend Traci (sorry Traci) - clearly, we need to take a vacation together. Hopefully some place warm!
SXSW with good friends!
With Jen at Great America this past summer
With Monica and Greg in the back of a NYC cab
Heading to Koreatown for massages at 1AM
My childhood friends
We reunite each summer when Merzi is in town
ChiGirlBrunch in Chicago
Great friends I made on the internet
My exceptionally sexy friend Katie
Somehow scoring us a bottle of vodka in Vegas
Monica - my sista from another motha
She made me love her, I didn't wanna do it, no I didn't wanna do it
4. I am thankful for the amazing city that I call home - Chicago. It is so beautiful, I feel lucky all the time. I look out the window at work and I am shocked by how wonderfully magnificent this city looks at dusk. I love living here and I probably always will.
Chicago skyline facing northeast
Chicago lakefront path facing south
Wrigley Building at night
5. I am thankful for my job. I love what I do for a living and for most of my life, I have been very fortunate when it came to work. I have always had a cool job, working for amazing clients and getting to do incredible things. Probably because I would not settle for anything less, but I am grateful and happy that I am able to do what I do.
My cube decorated by coworkers on my birthday
Private event hosted by Levi's with Destiny's Child (Beyonce)
Private event for Four Seasons with Dom Perignon
Private "Garden Party" for Caldrea
There are so many more things I am thankful for... this post could go on for hours and hours, but a) I don't think you want to read that and b) if I don't get some sleep I am going to be in HUGE trouble tomorrow.
Oh! But I forgot one thing that I am thankful for....
I am thankful for you. You, because you're reading this ridiculousness. Every week when I log onto my analytics and see how many thousands of people navigated onto these pages I am in shock. I am so incredibly thankful to have a forum where I get to express my thoughts and feelings and EVEN MORE thankful that people read it! I cannot believe people care about what I have to say.
But I am most thankful that one of you (in particular) reads my posts. It's why I am probably still here writing this tonight. I am thankful to have you in my life, as limited as it may be, it makes me happy.
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