The Thanksgiving Post remains my most popular post to date. I don’t really know why. I was still pretty new to this blogger-writing-in-public thing. The words and thanks were genuine but I still had no idea what I was doing.

I love Thanksgiving. I am lonely and I am a little bit sad today, though. A typical Thanksgiving will not be happening for me. I am 3,000 miles away from my family and best friends. My love still hasn’t arrived and each passing day leaves me feeling more single than the day before. I had invitations. One to go to Mexico with couples. The other to have Friendsgiving with a group that included one of my actual friends and a bunch of people I feel extremely “meh” about. That situation would have led to me getting drunk before dinner just to make conversations bearable.

I really hope they aren’t reading this.

I turned both invitations down because “doing things that I don’t want to do” and “spending time with people that I don’t like” were both on my list of things to stop doing this year. I don’t know how much I’ve stuck by that, but if I do both of those right now I think it counts as progress.

So, yes. I’ll spend my Thanksgiving alone and yeah, I’ll probably spend most of it feeling lonely and a little bit sad. It’s fine though. Do you know why it’s fine? It means I have people to miss. It means that I can identify loneliness and not be afraid of it. It means that sad doesn’t scare me because I know happy is right on the other side. It’s also fine because I have such an incredible list of things in my life that I am so very thankful for. All of those things outweigh the sad and lonely by a billion times.

I’m thankful for my writing. I am thankful that sometimes I read something I wrote and it feels so perfect and true for me that I can’t believe I wrote it or that it somehow came from my soul to my mind to my brain to my fingers to the screen because I love the words so much. I’m also thankful for the times I write a bunch of garbage and get to delete it. Or the times I second guess my words but know they need to be free so I hit publish no matter how insecure I feel about it. The feelings, the experience, the vulnerability.

I hate the word vulnerability. Ugh. I’m not thankful for that word. I wish there was a different word for it. I wish I could write more. How do such heavy words make you feel so much lighter?  Does that even make sense? I hope so. Or even better, I hope you believe the words I write immediately and don’t have to second guess them like I do. Do all writers do this?  I’m thankful for my mother. I know you’re thinking that she doesn’t fit in this “thank.” But my mother is a writer, too. So if I got any tiny part of my writing from her then she definitely belongs here.

I’m thankful for my mother again. My father, too. I love them so much. If you look at all of us together, you’ll see that I’m just like my father. I look like him. I think like him. I probably even talk like him most of the time. But I’m more like my mother than anyone would think. Even more than she would ever think. She will probably hate to read this. I catch myself sitting like her. I drink like her. Every once in a while I’ll smoke a cigarette and I just know that I look the way she used to when she smoked cigarettes. She quit smoking on her 40th birthday. I remember it well. I was 13. I wanted her to quit so badly. Now every time I smoke I think about how I probably look like my mother smoking it. Isn’t that hilarious?

I hope if I ever have kids, I become even more like my mom because she is a really good mom. I think one of the greatest parts of life is realizing that your parents are just people. When you realize they’ve influenced you in the craziest ways–ways you’ll never be able to comprehend or remember or process–and that most of the time they weren’t doing any of it on purpose. They’re just like you, doing the best they can. They’ve always done the best they could with all the love they had. I’ve been blessed with amazing parents. I know this isn’t the case for everyone.

I have close friends with parents who were nearly nonexistent or have passed away. This realization is probably much harder for them. But when you accept that your parents are in your life to be your greatest teachers and begin to understand you chose them for that very reason, the resistance against them fades. They become partners of your life, not parents of your life and everything gets much, much easier. I am so incredibly thankful for my parents.

I’m thankful that I work for someone who actually gets it. Someone who lives the type of life I’ve been trying to prove exists for five years. I’m thankful I can work for someone that talks to me like I’m an actual person and not just an employee. I’m thankful I work for someone who calls my quirks and idiosyncrasies “the Katey-ness of Katey” instead of calling them something else that would make me want to hold back my Katey-ness in the future.

I’m thankful I work for someone who made more money in one day than I’ve made in the last five years because it proves that you can help people and still make money and still be nice and generous and full of more and more ideas about how to help more and more people. I’m thankful I get to work right next to someone that I look up to and have admired for years and so I get to see that he can be insecure and unsure and stubborn and a person just like anyone else. I’m thankful that before I left work yesterday I told my boss I was thankful to be working for him and he looked like nobody had ever said that to him before so I think he knew I really meant it. Because after the last few years of my life, I really meant it.

I’m thankful I’ve been back in San Diego for more than a year now and I love it just as much as the day I got back. I started laughing today because a little less than a year ago, my ex-boyfriend was in town and he had this great idea to go to a bar we used to frequent when we were dating. I always had a crush on one of the bartenders there and he happened to be at the bar that night. That bartender gave me a hug and said “hi, gorgeous” the way he always did after he’d had a couple of drinks as long as he was single at the time. He asked me how my Thanksgiving was and I told him I’d spent Thanksgiving at the bar with the owner because I’m a Thanksgiving orphan.

Later that night we were talking at a table and had some shots and a really quick, innocent kiss. I ended up leaving without saying goodbye and woke up to a Facebook message from Bartender wondering where I went and several angry voicemails and texts from my ex-boyfriend wondering why would I kiss Bartender? Why would I do that? Bartender hasn’t hugged me or called me “gorgeous” since that night and my ex-boyfriend de-friended me on Facebook and doesn’t talk to me anymore. Is it okay to be thankful for all of it? To be thankful it happened at all, or happened almost a year ago, and to be thankful it all made me laugh today?

I’m sure most of you don’t have a clue what it has to do with being back in San Diego. I’m not sure I know either. But none of it would have happened if I had never moved back to San Diego and I seriously needed that laugh at myself on a sad and lonely day like today. I still go to that bar and I still love the bar and love Bartender and even love my ex-boyfriend and am thankful that time heals all wounds and can make us giggle about situations that once made us feel like the only solution was to curl up into a ball and die.

I’m thankful for this earth. I’ve watched Overview at least 6 times and it always makes me cry like a freaking baby. I have a pretty strong belief that there are other places in this universe to live. I chose Earth. So did you. Life here is hard. Life here is also extremely beautiful. Today is November 27th and it was sunny and 84 degrees where I live. I went to the beach and got sun on my face.

There are palm trees here and there is snow over there. Every sunset I see makes me feel like I got punched in the gut and then sometimes there is a rainbow that makes me feel like nothing happening on this earth even matters. I’ve seen parts of this earth that make me wonder if I am even awake or alive or if it’s all just fake. That isn’t a joke. I’ve looked at a view that changed everything I thought I knew about myself and my life. Anything with that power is something to be very, very thankful for.

I’m thankful for my face. I have a post draft titled “My Fucking Face.” It is a rant about a conversation I had recently about…well, my fucking face. I have a nice looking face. It has probably helped me get jobs. It has probably helped me get discounts and free drinks and better tips. It has probably helped me in ways I will never know or understand.

You know what it’s never helped me get? A partner that loves me as much as I love him. This face has never gotten me the look that you see between two people that really, truly love one another. It’s never helped me believe that a guy is actually interested in who I am or what I have to offer.  Because the good nice guys are too afraid to talk to a girl with a face like this. Because the other nice guys that aren’t afraid of the face are just begging for a pretty girl to walk all over them or help feed their ego. And the guys who aren’t afraid to talk to a face like mine? Well, they’re usually fucking assholes.

I’m trying to be patient and OK with this part of my life. Part of me feels ridiculous for writing this. Poor me with the pretty face. WTF. If you’re beautiful you probably know where I’m coming from. If you don’t think you’re beautiful then you probably stopped reading two minutes ago. I live at the beach and see mostly-naked people all the time. People with some of the most beautiful bodies you’ve ever seen up close in real life. I look at them and wonder if the way I feel about my face is the way they feel about their bodies. Because I love my face but sometimes I really hate my body. Sometimes I don’t even feel that great about my face. Do they ever hate their perfect bodies? I don’t know.  I do know that this world can make everyone feel ugly but everyone deserves to feel beautiful and my face helps me do that. So I am thankful for it.

I’m thankful for turning 30. I don’t know if other people feel different when they turn 30. I started to feel different right away. I try not to think about age too much but we live in a society obsessed with that stupid number. I had a seriously complicated relationship with my twenties, so I was more than happy to make a big deal out of this special number birthday. The big deal comes from a lot of different things. It comes from the people I love that didn’t make it to 30 and the incredible amount of bullshit that one must live through for 30 years in a row so they can turn 30 and how much can actually happen in that amount of time and how much will happen in the next 30 years if I survive those, and how many times I probably should have/could have died during the past 30 years and how my parents have been married to each other for more years than I’ve even been alive and that when my mother was my age she already had three children and then consider the fact that I even exist on this planet in this space and time and that I am really just a small insignificant speck of dust in the universe and what the hell am I even doing here?  Right? And then consider the natural disaster and beautiful series of events leading up to my 30th birthday…how could I not feel something about all of this? I’m thankful I turned 30 this year. Something tells me I’m going to be really thankful to turn anything from now on.

I’m just…so very thankful.