10 things I'm grateful for in 2018

  1. My friends. I returned to Portland after stints in both Seattle and Eugene, mainly to be closer to my friends during what was a rough period of last year. I've been humbled by the incredible support my friend have offered me this year and hope I've been as emotionally available to them as they have to me.
  2. My apartment. When I sought to return to Portland, I knew the housing market was crazy. Amidst the emotional turmoil surrounding a recent breakup, I did my best to find a new place to call home. Luckily I found a great fourth-story apartment in a newer building for below market rate. It's perfect for me in that it's minimal, has bicycle parking, in a great location, and quiet. I really lucked out.
  3. My brain. I can't offer enough gratitude for having been born with the brain I have. For whatever reason, I was blessed with the right biological makeup to navigate our insane modern world. Had I been born two hundred years earlier I don't think I would have made it. Sure, my brain is also responsible for causing some existential dread, but it's also helped me to where I am now. Thanks, brain.
  4. Yoga. To help curb the existential dread that comes with a brain that tends to think too much, there's yoga. I've practiced yoga in the past, but always found myself falling out of the habit. After several months of practicing several times per week, I can attest to its benefit in helping calm my mind's chatter.
  5. My bicycle. Any time I'm feeling down and out, a quick ride to the park or to the cafe seems to quell whatever's ailing me. My current bicycle is a Surly with an eight-speed internal hub and a Brooks saddle. I've never enjoyed riding a bicycle as much as I enjoy riding this one, and I treat it like a baby.
  6. My family. My family has been there for me through everything. They were there to care for my cat when I foolishly sent my ex-girlfriend across the country with him. They were there for the fallout from the 2016 election... enough said. They were there when I moved back to Portland and they're always there when I need someone to talk to. I'm forever grateful for their continued generosity and open-heartedness.
  7. A newfound sense of optimism. I think that in our increasingly secularized world, our faith has eroded and been replaced with skepticism. Being skeptical is practical, but only as long as it's productive. To me, optimism is believing everything will be okay, even if you don't have the evidence to prove it.
  8. The inventiveness of those who came before us. It's so easy to forget that even a modest modern lifestyle is more luxurious than that of kings a hundred years ago. We've eradicated so much suffering through technological advances and we take it for granted every time we flip a light switch or flush the toilet.
  9. Those who put their lives at risk to help others. The other day I asked myself how I would react if I were tasked with risking my life to save someone else's. I've never been much of a hero and I'm not confident in my bravery given a dire circumstance. I'm thankful there are people who are.
  10. Time. I'm most grateful for the time I'm afforded each day to live according to my own schedule, to pursue the things I want to pursue, and to live the life I want to live. Not everyone gets this much time. When I'm feeling boredom, I breathe and remember how lucky I am.