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    Thankful for Being Thankful: A Look on My Most Precious Gifts

    Written by: Preston Chapin Soriano

    Those that know me know a few core things about me. One, I am very opinionated, up to the point of being obnoxious at times. This often leads to thing two, that I complain a lot. I am very passionate about what I believe in and what I feel is right, and because of this it makes it hard for me to not say what I am thinking, even about things that most people will find silly. “It’s just a cartoon for children,” you might say. Or “This thing just makes some people happy, isn’t that enough?” No. It’s not enough, not for me!

    But I’m not going to go into that, I could seriously write a whole post about children’s programming (because, it is called “programming” for a reason!). No, in light of Thanksgiving I am going to look back and instead of complaining about things that I can’t do, or things that I can’t change, I am going to look at the honest things that I am most thankful for.

    1. My parents. I know, I know. This one is a given. I just talked about in my last topic, too, that you shouldn’t just love and respect your parents because they are your parents. So, I am very happy to report that my two wonderful parents have earned every tiny ounce of love and respect that I can muster in my whole body. My mother is a firecracker of a woman. I have never met anyone so unabashedly protective and fierce when it comes to her children as my mother is. I know that every mother will claim lioness instincts over her cubs, but who else do you know that will so unironically defend her oldest of being called a “dork” by his in-laws? I have seen and heard many a story of my mom defending her children, sometimes to the point of making their teachers or school counselors cry. All in the name of keeping her children safe and happy. My mother is the strongest-willed person that I know, and I only hope that someday I can be as strong as she is. My father… is a goofball. I can’t tell you how many times I get pun jokes and silly memes texted to me from that man, and every time they make me smile. When I see a Monty Python action figure, the first thing I think to do is send a picture to him. Just about every ounce of my humor comes from my dad, and most of my critical thinking and pondering as well. He has been having deep, meaningful conversations with me about the meaning of life, morality, virtues, and the universe since before I can remember. He is the one who taught me to question everything that I see, read, and even think. Without my parents, I would not be the person that I am today. Good and bad, they molded me from my conception (ew) to even today. Even as an adult, I am still learning from them, trying to do better where they might have fallen short, and looking to them to improve where I do.

    2. My husband. I have no idea where I would be in this world today without Jed. He has been my rock for the last six years of my life, and even though he drives me crazy at times I love him to bits. I still miss him when he’s not by my side, and I spend almost every waking moment with him. Jed still to this day is helping me improve myself, from pushing me to achieve my goals to helping me manage my inner anxieties. Every time I think of how much I love him, I realize again how incredibly special he is as a person. I love the way that he always makes me laugh, even when I am so angry with him. Seriously, it is so hard to stay mad at that guy (not that I want to). From goofy looks to silly dances to knowing exactly where to tickle me, he knows just how to bring a smile to my face on the bluest of days. Sometimes the world just feels too much for me, but every time he ends up just taking hold of me and helping me find solid ground again. He is my love, my artist, my comedian, my partner, my playmate, my best friend. I wouldn’t trade him for the universe itself.

    3. My bro-sis, Keisha. For all the grief we’ve given each other over the years, I feel like Keisha has been the only one of my siblings who really ever understood me as a person. The more time I have spent with her, the more I realize how incredibly proud I am of her. She is much stronger than I ever realized, and I am so happy to be able to finally see how much she has grown as a person. I’ve stayed up so many nights with her just talking about silly things or serious topics. Nothing is really too much or too little, we always seem to find a way to find excitement and fun in each other’s company. I love my sister dearly, and I hope that our friendship and sisterhood continue to grow and strengthen over the years to come.

    4. My little baby Banna! For those of you who don’t know Banna, she is my 4-year-old Maltese-Poodle. She weighs 6 pounds and it is ALL SASS. This little dog always presents herself like a m-f-ing lady! Whether she is looking down at you (while on the floor, NO IDEA HOW SHE DOES THAT), or ignoring your attempts to play while at the same time abandoning you for Jed, she let’s you know exactly who is boss. I love my little Bannabear, even if she is a sassy little princess. It’s okay though, because she’s 6 pounds of adorable rolled into a pink monster hoodie.

    5. Lizz, my best friend and soul mate. This girl has stuck it out with me through thick and thin, from tackling bullies in high school to helping me with all the drama and stress that I’ve had to put up with. I will never forget the wonderful things that she has taught me as a person, the values that I cherish in her, and the countless hours of fun antics that we have shared. I don’t think that anyone could ever replace, or even come close to, the incredible friend I have found in her. Even though we are states apart now, our bond is still very strong. We can go weeks, or months without talking and when we pick up the phone it’s like we’ve spent no time apart at all. I am so grateful to have found such a wonderful lady to travel around the sun and share fun and crazy memories with.

    6. Life, Freedom, and Knowledge. Everyday I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have been born in the time and part of the world that I was born into. Without freedom from tyranny, patriarchal societies, disease, and many other things I would not be able to be writing this blog post. I would be stuck in a rinky hut dying of disease (maybe even the plague), or behind a veil silenced by men, or God forbid being married off at age 8 to a man thirty years my senior. Of all of the places in human history, this is by far the best to have been accidentally birthed to. Now, I can only hope that society continues to strengthen its moral values and grow, hopefully in a more peaceful and loving way. I want so much for my future children to grow up in a world that is even better than the one I found myself in, because even if things might be getting a little scary, we aren’t dying to fleas carrying the Black Plague, or getting run through by Attila the Hun, or getting our feet bound and broken. Yes, it could be worse, but there is still definitely room for improvement. We need to stop killing each other, and excusing the killings of others. We must look forward, to progress and continue to grow intellectually to create a better world for our children. Progress is the only thing that we can truly leave as a legacy. Materials things will perish, money will be made and lost, but ideals will last on through the generations.

    I challenge all of you now to stop pushing through life, pushing through to the next paycheck, the next vacation, the next big thing, and truly look at what you do have in your life at the moment. While goals are important, and definitely something to strive for, it is always good to slow down every once in awhile and really enjoy what you already have. We only have one life, and we’re not always lucky enough to advance to the highest levels of triple digits. That’s why it is important to look at what you have in your life, versus what you do not. This time of year people are excited about the food, the sales, and the fact that Christmas is right around the corner. Instead, we should be using this time to cherish what we have, what our ancestors worked so hard to give us, and what we in return will work hard to give our progeny. In the words of one of the most beloved characters in history, live long and prosper.

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