the friday five: thanksgiving edition

Is it just me, or has November flown by? I can hardly believe next week is Thanksgiving. I’ll use this as an opportunity to confess that I absolutely hate turkey, stuffing, gravy and all other Thanksgiving inspired foods. The only thing I look forward to is homemade pumpkin pie with a dollop of Cool Whip. Please proceed with the “You’re not even American!” comments. Trust me, I’ve heard them all.

While I hate the holiday feast, I absolutely love having my entire family together. The house feels warmer than usual as everyone dons their newest cozy sweater and sips hot chocolate on the couch. We have a tradition in my family where every year, before my dad carves the turkey and dinner is served, we go around the room and each person says what they are grateful for. It’s one of my favorite family traditions because it makes us all slowdown from the daily hustle and bustle to recognize how incredibly fortunate we are to have our health and our loved ones.

This is why it breaks my heart that I don’t think I’ll be going home for Thanksgiving this year. While I’m lucky to have off from work on Thursday and Friday, Mike unfortunately works Friday and Saturday, which means we’d pile into the car late Wednesday night after work and drive three hours only to turn back around less than 24 hours later. I couldn’t help but choke up last night when I called my mom to tell her. She and my dad moved away from home when they were younger too and she said while it was hard not being able to see the family, it made for some of their favorite memories as they spent those years making their own, new traditions.

So, in honor of Thanksgiving, and our family tradition, for this Friday Five, I give you five things I’m grateful for this year:

Always laughing. Always.

  • My fiancé. This will be our sixth Thanksgiving together and every year I love reflecting back on how much we’ve grown and how far we’ve come together. There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not grateful for everything he’s ever done or sacrificed for me and I’m so excited that by next Thanksgiving, I’ll be able to call him my husband.

Typical — Rissa’s mad, my mom is awkward and I’m a diva.

  • My family. Some people may find it strange how close I am with my family, but I’m incredibly proud of it. My mom and dad are my biggest supporters and my sister and brother have become some of my best friends. While it’s hard living 200 miles away from them, and we’re hardly ever all together anymore – I know we’d go out of our ways to do anything for each other.

I love these people and would be lost without them.

  • My friends. These are the people who always make me laugh and remind me to smile. Whether I need to have a mental breakdown about life or force them to give me opinions on every tiny wedding detail that comes to mind, I know I can count on them to be there.

Those who spend every day doing what they’re passionate about are lucky.

  • My job. I am beyond lucky to have found a job right out of college, and not just any job – but the one I had dreamed about having for months. I work for an awesome organization that helps protect and rescue thousands of animals a year and I get to go home at the of the day feeling good about the work I’m doing.

I love being a short metro ride away from this beautiful city.

  • My new home. For so long, moving to DC seemed like the impossible dream. Mike and I trying to find jobs and a new place during the most chaotic time of my life was laughable at first, but we never gave up. We worked so hard to start this new life for ourselves, and so far we’re really enjoying it – even all the bumps we’ve faced along the way. While I still miss Philly on a regular basis, I’m so proud of us for doing something that so many others are afraid to try.

What are you thankful for this year?

“Make it a habit to tell people thank you.
To express your appreciation,
sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return.
Truly appreciate those around you,
and you’ll soon find many others around you.
Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.”
— Ralph Marston

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