Finally, a time to sit down and reflect on the past 8-12 months. Not that I condone reflecting once a year – absolutely not! But aside from writing in a daily gratitude journal, I’ve learned the importance of regular reflection.
Sometimes reflection is personal. (More often than not, it is.) Many times, you’ll have the help of your close friends and confidantes. What’s really nice about these people, is that they are always there for you. Whether or not you say “thank you” is secondary, and these people actually listen and take what you say to heart. (They’re not your average Joe!) These people are there for you 24/7. If they are on a business trip, they’ll message you within 24 hours or even send a super quick text message immediately. If they are snug in bed at 1130pm, they’ll take your phone call just because they see your name flashing on caller ID. These are your true friends. Know who they are.
Nevertheless, taking a step back at life these past 12 months, I have a lot to be thankful for.
Firstly, friends and family. Growing up, I was a floater, and a common concern of floaters is that they know a lot of people, but may not have very deep relationships with many people. Over the years, I have been blessed with friends from all over the world and of all age ranges. They’ve walked this world “like a boss” and I have been so fortunate to meet them and to be inspired by them. Whether it was at a 3-5 day weekend conference or during a 1.5 hour plane ride, I’ve made some of the most phenomenal friends that I still know today. Now that it’s January, and I’ve been in one country for 4 months, I have tangibly seen the depth of my relationships grow. I am amazed by how God has given me this time to develop new relationships with certain people and to have brought some incredible role models into my life.
The key? Follow up and a consistent connection. Being genuinely interested in another person; being both open and non-judgmental to their story. One of my personal philosophies is, “Everyone has a story to tell, if you’re willing to listen.” And through these stories, you will always learn something. Make note, the opportune moment doesn’t always arise, and when you’re on a plane, sometimes you just want to shut out everyone and get your work done! So chill. You don’t have to meet everyone.
Family: Your immediate family will always be there for you. Always. And despite the times you think they’re completely out of their minds, all they really want is the best for you (even if “the best” is in their own opinion.) So don’t be quick to get angry. And that relative you have overseas, call him up just to talk or say hi! Sometimes that uncle is like a second dad to you 🙂 (And if you’re like me, connect with those adopted relatives you have too. Haha!)
So far, this post has all been about people, and indeed it should be. We’re social beings, and heck, your life revolves around interactions with people. If you’re not thankful for the people around you nor opportunities you’ve had (that involved people), it’s time to get out of that box!
Note: I composed this post on Thanksgiving Day in 2012, but never posted it at the time. My post was originally going to be longer, but short and sweet for the new 2013 year! I thought it would be a good reminder for everyone who is going back to their busy lives today. During the holidays, I started a new daily blog on Tumblr. Her Gratitude Journal is the title, and I’ve created it especially for the people around me each day who have touched me and don’t even know it.