Reflection: The Grateful List

On the surface, the holiday of way too many carbs and unavoidable awkward family conversations is approaching in less than a week. We all know deep down, however, that we respect Thanksgiving and the power it radiates of reflection upon our lives and the luck we have. 


    Every year in elementary school, teachers would build lessons according to the season. When it came to Thanksgiving, there was no doubt that an assignment of tracing your hand and writing down five things you were grateful for would be within the plans. You would jot down your friends’ names, your dog, and perhaps your favorite food, and stick the paper in your take home folder. It didn’t have that much importance to you in that hour, but you knew in the back of your mind that what you wrote stood true. You were lucky to have the things that brought you happiness and safety in your life, and were grateful that they were by your side. 


    I was always that kid who would list each family member separately on each finger and then panic when I had to decide whether to write my grandpa or my grandma down, afraid that I would insult the other. Looking back now, those activities truly did put my life into perspective. I would turn my head to see my friend writing down her favorite stuffed animal with no questions asked, while I would be forming my 8 year old existential thoughts of what was truly worthy of being appreciated. From this, not to mention the quite obvious influence of my parents’ style of raising me to be humble and gracious, I’ve learned to live and appreciate every aspect of my life. I have not been dealt a respectively easy hand at life, but I am not going to waste my time in pity and wallow. You can make the best out of everything with the right perspective, and by focusing on what you are grateful for that is bright — and so, that is what I will do. 


    I’m grateful for sunsets. No matter what happens within the hours of the day, and no matter how treacherous or shallow the slope I had to climb was, the day will always end and the moon will always rise. The sky will always turn to a mirage of mustard and rhubarb, painting an image that can truly never be done justice by camera shots. 


    I’m grateful for puppies. And older dogs. And middle-aged dogs. If it wants to chase a frisbee for an hour and cuddle for three hours, I’m grateful for it. All animals have a special place in my heart, and on the earth altogether, but dogs are the winners for me. 


    I’m grateful for moments of laughing for so long that your cheeks hurt. They say that laughter is the best medicine, and I can promise that I forget about everything going on in my life when I’m taken over by a giggling fit. It seems so delicate, yet the best memories are filled with uncontrollable laughter. 


    I’m grateful for musicians with raw and unaltered talent. There’s a reason that my favorite type of music features acoustic instruments and crowds cheering in the background. Growing up in a musical family, going a day without music playing in the background was unheard of. Artists who can go up on stage and orchestrate beautiful music from just their pure voice and the strumming of a guitar or the hitting of keyboard keys make me so giddy. 


    I’m grateful to be surrounded by brave souls and passionate hearts. I have learned through the years that it is only worth giving your time to someone if they are going to use that time for the better. Luckily, I’ve found my way around to the people in my life who feed positivity back, even when they stand in the hardest of rainstorms. Being surrounded by others who have the same ultimatum as you forbids your heart to do anything but radiate. 


    I’m grateful for challenges. The room goes silent. I know, I said these were all the lines of light in my life, but I have seen where my greatest strength sits from being in the bottom of a ditch. You don’t know how truly strong your heart is until you have no choice but to hold your spirit up as it wears pounds of negativity. By overcoming defeat, I have found light in knowing that the saying, “you can do whatever you set your heart to,” actually does hold truth. 


    I’m grateful for my spirit. Mastering who you are and where you want to go is a battle in itself that will never truly have an end. Being able to navigate your way around with the lack of fear is the first step, and I feel that I have conquered just that. I’m not sure where the path I’m taking will lead me, but I’m taking this path for me. I’m not letting the outside influence me, and I’m not letting anything rip at my perspective. I am my own individual, and I am grateful for that.

Chelsea Triano