It’s my first Thanksgiving here in the US and I’m heading off to the Hamptons where I’ll be spending the long weekend, but I will leave all of that for another post. It seems that Thanksgiving is celebrated a lot more here than Christmas as it’s a holiday that everyone can enjoy, no matter what religion you are.
Thanksgiving really is a time that makes you sit back and think what there is to be thankful for in your life and things that you should be grateful for but often take for granted. Around the same time, groups of friends celebrate ‘Friendsgiving’ where they gather all of their friends for a large dinner and spend some time together and then celebrate time with their family for Thanksgiving.
All of us interns here in New York are basically like family and friends all in one so it was nice to do both dinner in the city on Thanksgiving day and then head off for the weekend for Friendsgiving with a group of around 20 of us. Even being able to say ‘I’m going to the Hamptons for Thanksgiving’ was beyond my imagination six months ago which had me feeling very thankful for the position I’m in.
So here is a list of five things that I’m feeling thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday.
1. A roof over my head
Something we definitely take for granted a lot of the time, but I’m more conscious of the homeless on the streets during the winter months. In Liverpool I saw a lot of homelessness outside my apartment, through the city centre and out into the smaller areas. I have never experienced being without a home or somewhere to stay and I couldn’t imagine it for one second.
Growing up in a small town, I was never aware or conscious of homelessness because I never seen it. But living in large cities for the past five years has really opened up my eyes to the huge problem that homelessness is and that it’s evidently only getting worse.
I’m very thankful to have a warm flat, a bed and clothes to keep me warm during the winter months. There are many ways to help the homeless this winter and at any time of the year – help out with the Simon Community, Whitechapel Centre, Shelter or other charities that do great work with the homeless. Give what you can, buy them a hot drink, donate blankets or even coats like people have been doing in Dublin.
2. Living in New York
The most obvious one right now: I couldn’t be more thankful that I have the opportunity to live in the most amazing city in the world. I walk around every day and think, How the hell did I end up living here? I never want to leave New York, even though I know I’ll be leaving next September. It’s the first place I’ve ever felt like I could live here for more than two years.
I’m doing New York as best as I can – seeing and exploring as much as I can and spending every last dime on excursions, shows and concerts (and tips). Being in New York is giving me the opportunity to explore more of America and so far I’ve been to another three states since September. I’m hoping to get into the double figures by March next year. My life goal is to step foot in all 50, so I’m slowly working on it. Only another 45 to go!
I’m also extremely thankful that I have such a large social circle in New York, almost like my own mini family away from home. We live together, work together and spend 99% of our time together. I couldn’t imagine New York without them.
3. Good friends and family
You can always take the people around you for granted. I’m thankful that I have a large, healthy and happy family, a large group of friends and a town that I call home. When I do go away for long periods of time, I often start to miss the small things and people that I often wouldn’t think of back home – the regulars in my old work, people I used to work with, people that I only see at Christmas or Easter and even just going for breakfast in the local spot.
It’s a nice feeling living away from home but knowing you have somewhere to go back to if everything was to stop working out. If I was to get deported tomorrow (fingers crossed I don’t) that I have a home to go to, a family to welcome me back and a bedroom that’s mine.
This will be the longest period that I’ve ever been away from home at one time and the longest that I have ever gone without seeing any friends/family. It definitely makes you more appreciative of the time you do spend with them, I can tell you that for sure. But thank God for social media as I can keep up to date with my friends and family constantly so it feels like I haven’t been away from home at all.
4. A good life
Am I privileged? Hell yes. I have clothes on my back, a roof over my head, money in my bank account and food in my stomach. What more do I really need?
There are so many people out there without these things and who aren’t able to travel and move around like I can. It’s a privilege and I need to look at is as such and be grateful for it. I’m thankful for my family that they are able to help me and are always pushing me to see the world and follow my dreams of what I want to do.
I’m thankful for my health, even though my ticker may give up at any moment.
5. Being young
I’m so thankful that I’m 22 and have so much time ahead of me. Well I hope I do. I’m so young but I’ve been places, seen things and have so much more time ahead to see and do even more. I’m so excited for the rest of my life, but I’m making sure to enjoy every second of the life I have now.
I’m 22 and have lived in two of the world’s biggest cities – London and New York – so where next? The world is my oyster and I want to live in as many cities as I possibly can in the next ten years. There’s no sign of me settling down in one place just yet – there’s plenty of time for that to happen.
Thanksgiving is a special holiday here in the states and one I can definitely get behind. I think every year from now I’ll have to do my own little Thanksgiving wherever I am in the world if I’m not in America.