Obligatory Thanksgiving post, but seriously… thank you for being in my life and ultimately saving it

Cliche opening statement: IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN!

Many of us Americans celebrate today differently. Some of us get the old Christmas tree out of storage and set it up, some of us begin cooking for family and friends at 6AM, others prefer to be alone on this holiday, and some of us are camped outside retail stores to get their hands on the best deals. To non Americans, this is just another Thursday.

So for those of us who are enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday, I do want to ask you, do you spend the rest of the year being as grateful as you are today? I think it’s safe to say that I’ve hit the midpoint of my life, and there is one thing that I have been determined to do: to leave a legacy. Now making an impact in the world doesn’t mean you have to be someone who has won a Nobel Prize or become CEO of a Fortune 500 company. While that influence is amazing, you can change the world slowly in your everyday life.  Think about your decisions, how you affect people. Your existence has a very far reach whether you realize it or not. Every word you say, every gesture you make, every interaction you have influences people. As today is Thanksgiving, I want you to think about the following:

The people you are currently texting and reaching out to on Facebook/Twitter/other social media platforms… when was the last time you really had a conversation with them? Has it been a while? Why not take some time to catch up after the holidays?

How are you treating strangers?

Are you more focused on presents or people?

Are you more focused on money or family?

What are you most thankful for at this moment in life? Is it different than last year? Why?

Lots to think about, and you don’t have to comment or answer here. Those are questions I hope you take with you through not only today but every day of your life. I have come to a realization in my recent years and I have accepted the nature of my being. I am most happy when the people in my life are happy. The feeling you have now, being incredibly thankful for all that you have, please don’t lose that after the holiday season. Feel that way every day. Don’t take the people in your life for granted; don’t take what you have for granted. Feel this way every day for the rest of your life and you will feel that much more fulfilled.

And I won’t lie, going down this path is not without its hardships. It can be difficult, especially if it is not reciprocated, but trust me when I say that you personally are rewarding yourself to the fullest. Be a good person, be grateful, treat others as you would want to be treated, and be the change you want to see in this world. When you are gone (and we all will be one day), what will your legacy be? What influence will you leave behind in this world? Me, personally? I hope that I will have taught future generations empathy because my personal belief is that the world will be a much better place with it around.

I have met so many people in the last few years, and I cannot imagine my life without them. My life is enriched, it’s more fun, it’s become less empty. I have had many low days and without any regard for themselves, the people in my life have lifted me up. That bond is so precious to me and I will never be able to fully express how thankful I am for it. You guys ARE my life. So thank you.

May you always give thanks, may you always be thanked, and may you always lead a fulfilling life.

Cheers.

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I treat Thanksgiving as a time to reflect on the last 11 months of the year

I can’t tell you how to see Thanksgiving or how you should spend it. But I can tell you how I see one of the craziest times of the year. I don’t focus on the newest sales or worry about which stores to hit come Black Friday madness. I don’t even think about what I’m going to wear to the family dinner. With all the holiday propaganda that is shoved into our faces, we can’t help but be affected by the subliminal messages, some good, some bad. On the good side, we are told to be grateful. But all of us have different things to be grateful for. Let me tell you about the downs in my life this year.

My nearly 4 year relationship ended. Won’t go into details, but it was a difficult time for me.

Two people that I knew (one a really good friend) passed away this year. They were both around my age. I’m 29 years old.

I lost my job due a company merge.

Now let me tell you about the ups in my life this year.

I held a small gathering called Rooster Teeth Las Vegas in May and I made friends with even more RT community members.

Months later, I was fortunate enough to volunteer for the Rooster Teeth convention called RTX, and I witnessed such an amazing display of camaraderie, friendship, and leadership with the staff and fellow volunteers that I worked with for those three days.

Thanks to the presence I keep on social media, I made some fantastic friends. We interacted with each other for a good portion of a year, but we did not actually meet until DragonCon 2013. I will be friends with these people for the rest of my life. They made me forget my depression and see myself in a new light.

I may have lost my job, but I am focusing on what I really want to do with my life now. I am taking charge of my life and doing all I can to get into the video game industry. Just by networking and keeping tabs on the industry, I’ve made many connections, and I am so grateful to have met them.

Being a geeky woman, I’ve learned that women who enjoy the nerdier things of life were being harassed and bullied for being who they are. I was able to create a very special project this year. I collaborated with people from all over the world to create a video that shows men who love geeky women as they are and geeky women expressing their thanks for that special support and encouragement. The Thank You Project is one of the best projects I have ever done.

In order to gain experience in the field, I’m now working as a writer on a very cool project called Fallout: Lonestar. This would not have been possible if I did not go to DragonCon. Thanks Twitter friends!

I watched Ender’s Game with my mother. This is the first time I have ever watched a movie on the big screen with just my mother. I can’t even explain how unique and awesome this experience was.

I had the most amazing birthday this year. It reminded me that I should feel that I am special and that I should be happy. I smiled so much during my birthday this year that I forgot I was ever sad earlier in the year.

I managed to raise over 1K for the Extra Life charity.

I am also currently working on a cool project called the Mass Effect Cast Cosplay Project for PAX East 2014 with Karissa Barrows that will feature the voice actors from the Mass Effect series. This project is partnered with St Jude’s.

So based on the lists above and when I add in my family, friends, and loved ones, I can say with confidence that I am a very lucky person. No year is perfect. There’s going to be crap that you experience every year, and there’s going to be awesome things that happen every year. That’s life. When it’s going tough and you can’t think straight and you can’t see through the tears, hang in there. It will get better. Focus on the good things and take charge and go out to find your happiness. Life will not work around you. When you really sit down and think about what you have going for you, it makes all the negative seem that much more insignificant.

This year, I’m going to think about the positive list above and I’m going to take that with me into the new year. Lists like these should serve as a daily reminder not an annual one. I suggest you make your own list and you do the same. So be thankful, be safe, and I will see you guys after I stuff myself full of turkey and mash potatoes.

Happy Thanksgiving.