Health. I’m healthy all right, as in when people say “what a healthy baby you have.” I’m so healthy I can barely fit into my jeans. I used to have a tight body but now I have tight clothes. My new form-fitting, curve-enhancing wardrobe is not an attempt at sex appeal, but an uncomfortable and constant reminder to cut calories. I’ve tried healthy eating, small portions, a plant-based diet and now Atkins to lose those extra few pounds. However, maybe it’s time to embrace my new bigger body and be happy that I am healthy – healthy enough to keep up with the college kids at the gym, dancing my heart out in Zumba class.
Wealth. Not monetary wealth. Have you? Due to the state of the economy I have a wealth of time on my hands. While I’m under-employed right now as a freelancer, I am able to work out, grocery shop, cook, read and write. Instead of thinking about my net worth, I think about what my time is worth. For me, the recession equals recess: I can walk to Washington Square in the middle of the day. In addition, judging by the multitude of people wandering around there, I’m not the only one who should be thankful for having extra time on my hands. When it comes to free time, more is more and I seem to have more and more of it.
311. Our building has a gorgeous façade, but it is indeed only a façade, because it’s usually freezing inside. In a building where management refuses to turn on the heat until there are visible icicles hanging on the eves, I’m thankful I can call the City and complain. I do so each year, as do the other tenants, because it takes multiple officials in badges pouring through the halls writing up tickets before anything gets done. (They usually find other offenses while they’re at it; this year includes a faulty staircase and a vermin problem.) Even in mid-winter, management provides heat sparingly, cranking the boilers briefly in the morning and then providing one quick blast when people return from work. So I’m also thankful for my two space heaters on wheels, which I drag through the apartment – these two metal heat-makers become my most prized possessions, always by my side, providing a pocket of warmth.
3-D. I’m thankful for my husband’s obsession with electronics and his unrestrained spending habits, and the fact that he purchased an entire new home entertainment system, including a brand new projector with 3-D capacity. I, on the other hand, thought that our fifteen year old TV in the bedroom that someone gave me worked just fine. Normally I shy away from new technology. Furthermore, the reality was that we could barely afford it, but who needs reality when now we are transported to a 3-D fantasy? There is no need to leave the house – we enter other dimensions that exist behind our magic screen. Wearing our high-tech glasses, we are sucked in to the depths of other worlds from the comfort of our living room. With winter on its way, I appreciate the endless nights of movie watching snuggled up on the sofa, space heaters on either side.
Family. I’m thankful that both Niklas and I have great families – and that they live 1,500 miles and 4,000 miles away respectively. It’s good to be close to family, in the figurative sense, and with our unlimited calling plan, this emotional connection is only phone call away. My family is always there for me, there being the key word. In truth, I love visiting my family, but the distance allows it to be a choice rather than an obligation. While some families are held together by nothing more than a sense of guilt and forced festivities, I am thankful that our families are independent and supportive enough to understand that some years, like this one, we choose to spend the holidays with friends in New York – which can be a beautiful thing.
Friends. I’m thankful for my Facebook friends, all 352 of them, even the ones I know only through a series of photos and status updates. I appreciate them for entertaining me when I have too much time on my hands, for challenging me on issues by posting their sometimes backwards beliefs, for supporting me with “likes” and for revealing part of their lives to me (usually the better parts). I’m also thankful for real friends, because you can live in the physical realm with them. You can go to a bar with them in real time. They are a warm body with a pulse. When they LOL you can actually hear their laughter. Instead of one sentence updates and witty one liners, you can have long conversations. When they “share” they share their problems; you can share yours and know they will still love you.
What more does one need than health, wealth, warmth, fantasy, family and friends?