Gratitude: Day 14 | A Basic Need That Has Been Met

Shelter. When trying to think of things to be grateful for it can sometimes be easy to focus on the big or small things, or the odd things, and sometimes it’s easy to overlook the basic things. The things many of us take for granted home, food, clothes, etc. We don’t think about being grateful for these things because we always assume they will be there. For many, it is easy to forget that these basic parts of life are not a given for everyone.

Gratitude: Day 14 | A Basic Need That Has Been Met |

Having lived before without some of the basics, and having spent a good chunk of time not sure that I would be able to keep others I want to make a point now of expressing my gratitude for what I have. I chose today to be thankful for my apartment.

I live in a small (although not the smallest I’ve seen) studio apartment on the north side of the city. At this point, I feel I’ve outgrown it a bit, and I plan to move when my lease is up next year. Despite feeling a little cramped lately, this has been a great place to live. I’m very grateful I was able to find a great apartment, in a very good neighborhood, and I was able (and have consistently been able) to afford it.

I’ve spent a good portion of my life not always being sure that I would have a place to live. After my parents divorced I lived with my mom and throughout the years the line between housed and homeless was a very thin tightrope we very carefully balanced. It wasn’t until a few years ago things finally seemed to level out. Right about the time I moved to Chicago, actually.

I had been looking for a job in the city for a couple of months, and I finally found one at almost the same time we found an affordable apartment for my mom to move into. It was a whirlwind couple of weeks, we moved my mom at the end of February and I started commuting to the city for work in March. I moved in the beginning of May.

It’s been a wonderful apartment. It has its faults, it has the quirks and hiccups you might expect from an older building, but it has running water and heat. It’s a shelter from the sometimes chaotic Midwestern weather. It’s a quiet place to hide when I can’t deal with people. It’s home.

Living in a large city there are almost daily reminders of how blessed I am, even so, it’s still easy for even me to forget. It’s important to remember how good we have it. Even when the hot water goes out in the middle of your shower it’s important to remember that you have running water (been without, not great). When the old building quirks make me want to pull my hair out and run away, I need to take a moment to be grateful that I have a warm place to rest and to call home.

What is a basic need that you are thankful for?

Gratitude: Day 13 | Songs You Love

When I was young, my parents only allowed us to listen to Christian music. It wasn’t until my early teens that I was allowed to make my own decisions about what music I enjoyed. This was the mid-nineties and while most of my peers were embracing the rise of the latest boy bands I found my interests leaned more towards the classics. I loved older music, 50s, 60s, and 70s were my jam (literally). I discovered Billy Joel, who remains, to this day, one of my favorite artists.

During my early and mid teens, while my parents were divorcing and my life in general took a turn for the unstable, music was my constant. It helped me deal with the changes happening around me, and to me, that I had no say in and couldn’t control. It helped me feel less alone and inspired my dreams. This love has carried through to my adult years, and I still get super stoked every time I find a new song or artist to love.

Gratitude: Day 13 | Songs You Love |

Since I’m a big fan of a wide range of music, I thought for this post I would stick to a top 5 list. And they are…

Jonny Lang – Breaking Me

I’ve loved this song for years. Lang’s voice is unparalleled in passion and expression. He’s long been one of my favorite artists, and this song is definitely one of his best. I’ve been known to come home from a long day at work, lock myself in my room, and listen to this song on full blast to drown out the stress and anxiety of the day. To be honest, I could use just about any of Jonny Lang’s music to de-stress, but this is my favorite song of his, so it’s my go to.

Supermassive Black Hole – Muse

This song tops my workout playlist. Most of Muse’s music works well for a workout soundtrack, but this one’s opening beats are great for motivating me to get my butt moving. This song puts me in a great head space and while listening to it I feel empowered to take on the world. On a side note, it also makes me feel like punching something….but in a nice way (thinking I should take up kickboxing).

Jolene – The White Stripes (Dolly Parton cover)

I am the only person I know who doesn’t hate this cover. I love it! It is my favorite cover of any song I’ve ever heard, bar none. I’m a big fan of Dolly Parton, and a big fan of The White Stripes, while I enjoy the original version, I adore this cover. I’ve heard of couple other covers of this song, they’ve all kept pretty true to the original and I’d rather just listen to the original. Maybe that’s why I like this cover so much, it’s different and unexpected.

She Used To Be Mine – Sara Bareilles

This is a more recent addition to my most loved songs. It’s one of the main pieces in the Broadway musical “Waitress” for which Bareilles wrote the musical numbers. I know this song, I relate to this song in so many ways, I feel this song in my bones. This song is my song (minus the bit about being knocked up, ‘cause nah). In general, I’m not a huge fan of Sara Bareilles, her songs are more hit or miss with me, some I enjoy, others not so much. This song is a hit for me on so many levels, it soars above any of her other music. I can, and have, listened to it on repeat for hours.

Black – Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam has long  been one of my favorite bands. While I was a bit too young to appreciate them in their prime, I discovered them not long after the demise of the Seattle rock heyday. They are one of the most iconic bands ever, due in no small part to Eddie Vedder’s distinctive voice. Black is the perfect track to appreciate all that this band has to offer, their talent is striking. It also has what is, in my opinion, the best line ever written. The last line of the entire song, listen to it, appreciate it, and be thankful.

I know I said earlier that Billy Joel is my favorite artist, and I’m pretty sure you were expecting to see him on this list because of that, and I fully intended to include him, but there are just too many songs of his that I love to narrow it down. So, I opted to leave him off the list. Maybe I should make another list for just him….hmmm.

What are some of your favorite songs?

Gratitude: Day 12 | Someone Who Left A Mark

I mentioned in passing earlier that I had gone through a rough break up several years ago. In all honesty, I was, what is now referred to as, ghosted. Here one day, and gone the next. He loved me one day, and then suddenly acted as though he’d never known me. Now before you assume that this post is about him leaving scars, that’s not it at all. While he certainly hurt me very deeply, he was then and is now one of the most positive experiences I’ve ever had.

Gratitude: Day 12 | Someone Who Left A Mark |

I met him September 2008. I knew of him before we actually met. We had mutual friends and our circles overlapped. I didn’t have much interest in getting to know him, with what I knew of him I didn’t think we’d have much in common. In some ways I was right.

He sought me out, to this day I have no idea why, but he did. He spoke to me first, I was hesitant but didn’t want to be rude. Initially, we had small talk, I was a bit defensive, as I said I didn’t expect us to have anything in common, and I was unsure of some of the things I’d heard about him. As is my way, I was very blunt and asked him about some of his beliefs and other things I knew of him that seemed questionable. He was very open and explained his views to me, this was the beginning of me learning to see the world differently.

We talked for several hours at that first meeting. This is going to sound odd, but I knew then that he would change my life, and I knew then that whatever happened between us he would be an important figure in my life. I also knew then that it was going to end badly, even painfully. I knew then that I would be hurt, but I wanted to see where it went, and I was more interested in the experience of knowing this unusual man than I was in my own preservation. Although this feeling haunted me our entire relationship I still didn’t expect things to end as they did, and I was still surprised when he left.

Over the next several weeks we spoke regularly, and usually for great lengths of time. He was funny, smart, very kind, and fiercely loyal to those he loved. There were many things we didn’t agree on, religion was a major point of contention, but he was open to my opinions and I loved listening to his. Because of our talks I learned so much. I learned how to see outside of the bubble I’d been raised in. I learned how to listen to and understand the perspectives of others without judgment. I learned what it meant to appreciate the differences in others. Because of him, I grew as a person. I can say, and quite happily, that by having known this one man, I am the woman I am today.

Over the course of time our relationship grew. We went from acquaintances to friends, and then more. He used the ‘L’ word first, and he used it frequently. He treated me better than any man I’d known before. He treated me like I mattered as a person. He talked frequently of the life he wanted and he wanted it with me. He had dreams and plans, and I was a part of them. I saw our future together as a great adventure just waiting to happen, but in the back of my mind I still knew it would end.

In the final weeks of our relationship I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew something was going on with him, but he wouldn’t talk about it and I didn’t want to nag. Looking back I can think of hundred different things that it could have been, but I’ll never know what happened. There are many reasons I could give for why things ended as they did, and I could be wrong with all of them. I don’t know why he ended us, and I certainly don’t know why he ended it the way he did. I’ve come to accept that I will never have the answers to those questions.

Over the years my questions have faded, along with the hurt. With time I’ve come to the point where I wouldn’t know what I would say if I did see him again. I no longer care to know his reasons. I no longer wish for an explanation or an apology. Now when he crosses my mind it’s just a memory of someone I used to know. I’m thankful I met him, and I’m thankful to have had my time with him. In some ways I’m even thankful for the end. I still believe he’s a good person, and I still believe that at one time he loved me. He left many marks on me, some good, some bad, but all are important. These scars help to define me, and I have learned to embrace them.