An Email from a friend recently prompted me to respond with a list of things we’ve lost in this recession. It’s a long list, filled with things both big and small. My job and ability to support my family, affordable health care and our lovely home top the list. But she knows all that and the list I sent her was small things – trifles really, pleasures and vanities that one can readily do without. Like a decent haircut and eyebrow wax, taking your kids to the movies or skating rink, the daily latte, lunch or happy hour with friends, vacations… I miss those things.
I am by nature a pessimist – or as I used to like to say, a realist. Since our lives fell apart I’ve endeavored to become a cultivated optimist. I had to or the realities of the situation would have plunged me into a depression without a doubt! So even though I just received yet another rejection letter (Email) – this one for a job for which I had interviewed and thus thought I had a chance of an offer – I want to write about some of the things we’ve gained. After all counting your blessings is a traditional pastime at this time of year.
With our move this summer to the Midwest our lives have changed (more about regional differences in another post). We are not better off financially but we are richer in other senses of the word. We have family – family who give us shelter; who attend Jr High School Choir concerts (even though their taste in music in no way overlaps with the songs sung) as a show of support for my daughter; who teach my children new skills – chopping wood, erecting fences, firing guns; who stop by with little frivolous gifts like a dozen tiny bottles of nail polish in bright jewel tones and farm fresh produce; family who text me an invitation out to lunch; and family with whom we will cook a traditional and vegetarian Thanksgiving meal.
We have space – more exterior than interior it’s true but the outdoor space is calming and enriching. After living in a tiny trailer in a cramped and crowded trailer park it is a joy to be watching the children turn cartwheels in a wide open field below a blue sky speckled with fuzzy clouds.
We miss our old friends but have new ones – classmates for the children and goats for me! It is hard to be depressed when you are surrounded with goats whose sheer exuberance, athletic ability and wicked sense of humor combine to lighten your mood and bring a smile to your face.
And there’s our readers – not just of my blog, but also of my novel – who provide feedback, advice on how to start fires, virtual hugs, notes of support and encouragement; who help to support us through Amazon.com purchases through the links on the blog, by sending us gifts of warm clothes and timely donations; and who have in many instances become friends. In the vernacular of the day: A big shout out to all of you who keep me from feeling alone in our challenging and sometimes difficult journey!
By moving we have also placed ourselves closer to my best friend and grad school roommate who, along with her daughter, will be driving down from Wisconsin and joining us for Thanksgiving. Family, goats and friends – now there is something to be thankful for! We Boxcarkids wish all of you a very happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday!