Thursday, September 11, 2014

gratitude: day seven

i think it's no surprise that day seven of my gratitude challenge lands on a day on which i typically have trouble finding anything to be grateful for at all. i don't believe in coincidences. i think this is a message from someone special to me who the world lost 13 years ago today. he's telling me to stay positive and fight hard, the way he did when he was my basketball coach when i was 12.

today i am grateful for this gratitude challenge. i'm grateful for the reminder to find things to be grateful for, even on a momentously sad day like september 11.

i am grateful for the things in my life that still remind me of randy on a regular basis: seeing someone on the street who looks like him, spending time with his wife and daughters (which i don't do often), looking up at the freedom tower while walking around new york. last weekend, my first round of golf ever in my life was played at the course where my dad and randy's other friends donated a bench in his honor. i am grateful i finally got to see it and play the hole he loved so much. and when my dad stepped up to tee off on that hole, he drove his ball straight into a lake. "that's randy just saying hi, letting you know he's still here with you," i said.

i am grateful for everyone who reached out to me today, and every september 11 in years past. thank you for your kind words, texts, emails and calls. sometimes they make me even more sad. they make it feel more real in some way. sometimes i don't know how to react or reply to people who are doing the only thing they know how to make me feel loved and supported. so i just say thank you.

lastly, i am grateful to have known randy, even for such a short time. he was taken from this world too soon, but i'm so lucky that he had such a big impact on me and my family while he was alive. i'm lucky i got to hear his laugh and hear his booming voice cheering for me as i played field hockey in high school. his loss left a hole in so many lives and hearts. not a day goes by that i don't feel his loss, but today it is palpable.

my thoughts and prayers are with all those who perished 13 years ago today, their families, their friends and their communities. we can never forget because our lives will never be the same.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

gratitude: day six

today i'm thinking of people who helped me as i struggled through challenging and difficult times in my life. so, today i'm grateful for:
  • my business school learning teammates, john, ari, olga and jay: we were a motley crew of business school students but somehow we made it work, we all got along and no one failed out. seriously, though, i credit these four people with the fact that i didn't flunk out or give up my first semester of business school -- it was that tough. but these four are among my favorite people. global pants pride!
  • my roommates from 20i: in my last apartment before i moved in with shawn, i was lucky enough to find friendship, support and fun at a time in my life when i really needed all of that. i'm so grateful to melanie, marisa and michelle for collectively being the best three roommates a girl could ask for.
  • my therapist: since starting to see her in 2011, my therapist aleyda has become a rock in my life. i attribute my mental well-being to her, as well as the reason i am in such a functional relationship with shawn today. she also has told me from day one that practicing gratitude can help improve your attitude towards yourself and your world, and i couldn't agree with her more.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

gratitude: day five

all the things i've listed in the past four days have been things i'm genuinely grateful for every day. i'm surprised i keep finding new things to be grateful for, but of course i continue to be grateful for everything i've already listed on a regular basis, too! i'm overwhelmed by the many blessings i have in my life that i want to give thanks for. i now see that that's the whole point of this gratitude challenge.

today i'm grateful for:
  • my walk to work: i'm happy not to be a slave to the subway, at least for the foreseeable future. walking 30 minutes a day is a blessing when the weather is as nice as its been the past couple days and i get some time to think or make phone calls. getting out in the city and walking around has also made me feel more healthy, and i've been walking a few extra blocks out of my way every morning to get a healthy smoothie for breakfast every morning!
  • d is for doggy doggie daycare: shawn and i have been so lucky to find such a caring place to bring ginger a couple times a week for daycare. it's close to our apartment, the people love ginger, she loves being there and, best of all, they have a video feed that allows me to watch ginger during the day when she's there! its perfect for a neurotic loving doggie mama like me.
  • my cousin, bri: since she's also doing this gratitude challenge, bri wrote something really sweet about me today, so i thought i would return the favor. i am grateful for her love and friendship every day of my life! she is an amazing, genuine person and an incredible mom. she has been such a pillar of strength for her sisters and family, even as she's dealt with her own share of adversity, challenges and tragedy. i want to emulate her calm and laid back attitude, and look half as gorgeous as she does. i don't have any sisters, but she is the closest thing i have, and i am so grateful that our moms were close so that we had the opportunity to spend so much of our childhood together. and now that we're both grown up, i am so sad i don't get to see more of her. that's yet another goal i have for myself in the coming you brini!

Monday, September 8, 2014

gratitude: day four

today it struck me, out of the blue, that 10 years ago i was just starting my senior year of college! the tenth anniversary of my college graduation is just nine months away!

fall brings back so many memories, good and bad. because fall marks the start of school, it always seems like fall is the season of new beginnings. i graduated from high school and moved to boston to go to college 13 years ago; september 11 happened 13 years ago this Thursday; life changed for me and my family and it will never be the same again. the fall is also the time of year that my mother's father passed away, 10 years ago, and my father's mother, 6 years ago today. yet three years ago, i applied for business school in the fall, and two years ago i started at columbia. last year in late summer, i married shawn, and our young marriage started after we returned from our honeymoon on labor day weekend. so, my relationship with fall is a complicated one.

with all these memories and milestones swirling around in my head, here is what i am grateful for today:

  • my grandmother, josephine ernst, who passed away 6 years ago today. whenever something big and important happens in my life i still feel a sense of loss because i'm not able to call her up and tell her about it. i missed her so much at my wedding and when i was going through all the planning -- she would have loved it all so much. i also miss her cooking constantly -- especially these anisette cookies she used to make me every christmas at my request. i can't seem to get the recipe right without her around (and they're really bad for you anyway). but i also feel so lucky to have had such a genuinely loving, caring, fiercely loyal and selfless grandmother, who contributed greatly to who i became as a woman. i can feel her in my attitude and opinions and i see her everyday when i look in the mirror. as my dad said in his eulogy for her (which i helped him write), i know she is waiting in heaven for us all with a giant pot of gravy and meatballs. because she knows we'll be hungry when we get there, and its important that we're all fed.
  • my friends from college, especially jennifer, jodi and nicole, who i'm so lucky to still be close with today. college was such a transformative and influential time in my life -- like it is for so many people. i'm so lucky to still be good friends with these incredibly accomplished, driven and intelligent women. one day we'll rule the world.
  • new york city - the only place that has felt like home since i left my parents' house at 18. i can't believe its been nearly 9 years since i moved here officially. plus, i love nyc in the fall!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

gratitude: date three

today was anther long day and i'm tired, but i committed to doing this gratitude thing, so here it is. today i am grateful for:
  • my dog, who reminds me daily to put my own needs second to hers. yes, it's late and i'm tired and just want to go to bed, but ginger needs a bath so i have to give her one, and dry her off, and put her tick medication on her. it's exhausting being a doggie mama to a hyperactive, demanding, often sickly tiny dog. but i love that dog so much, i think nothing of putting her own well being before my own. that's love.
  • shawn, my dad and will for humoring me today, giving me tips and advice and showing me a good time during my first time on a golf course! what a fun day today. i think i might really be starting to like golf now. though i still think its a ridiculous game, spending most of the day riding around in a cart searching for your ball.
  • my parents, for always being willing to watch ginger for me.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

gratitude: day two

today was a sad day. i went to a funeral for a man who i never met, but who touched the lives of some people i care for greatly -- shawn and his family. it gave me a great reason to think on what i was grateful for today. it has also made me really sleepy, so i apologize for not being very eloquent today. so, here's what i'm grateful for today:

  • my family: i am so lucky to have loving parents, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents who have been such an integral part of my childhood and my life. i am truly the person i am today because of them. 
  • shawn's family: i doubly lucky because now, thanks to my relationship with shawn, i get a whole new group of people who love and support me. i'm especially grateful for judy, mitch and jared.
  • people who meaningfully contributed to shawn's life when he was growing up: everyone who touched his life, most of all betty and her family, helped him to become the caring, loving man i married.
today i nominate my personal leadership teammates: jenn, john, liza and ganesh.

Friday, September 5, 2014

gratitude: day one

i accept the nomination by my cousin suzette to share three things i'm grateful for every day for seven days. this is in keeping with one of my goals this year to find happiness through gratitude. this is a pass-it-on, chain letter type of facebook challenge so popular in these post-ice bucket challenge days. the rules of engagement are:
  • every day for one week, i post three things i'm grateful for
  • every day i nominate three people to do the same
  • if one of the people i nominate accepts my challenge, they have to post three things daily for one week and nominate three people each day, too
today i am grateful for:
  • my friends: each and every person who remembered this was a big week for me and made me feel special and loved in some small way.
  • my husband, who has as much troubling sleeping as i do, which comforts me.
  • my job! i'm so lucky to have one, especially such a great one.
today i nominate my brother joey (getting him back for nominating me for the ice bucket challenge), the recent birthday girl anne and my oldest friend lauren. yay for gratitude! i feel better already.