The 4 Unexpected Things I'm Grateful For This New Year

This year, I really want to embrace my life and where I am. I’m working to reach certain goals and I want to improve different areas of my life, but in 2015, I’m going to raise a toast to all the things I complain about even though they aren’t actually so terrible. Here are the four unexpected things I’m most grateful for.
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Not Being Married
Last week at the airport, I was surrounded by couples traveling home with their screaming kids. As I turned up my Taylor Swift and flipped through a magazine, I reminded myself to be grateful for my solo travel life. I can’t wait to get married and have a family, but once that happens, there’s no turning back, so I'm thankful that I can go about my day without consulting anyone on anything or changing any diapers. But, every time I see a wedding or baby photo on Facebook, I can't help but feel a pang. When will it be my turn?
I met up with some childhood friends over the holidays, and I was fully prepared to explain that while I'm not married with a house and kids, I am, indeed, happy. I was surprised to listen to them gush at how exciting my life seemed. They were impressed with the husband-less things I was doing — like my blog and YouTube channel. Their support and love helped me understand that I don’t need to defend where I am right now. I may not have hit certain milestones, but that doesn’t mean I’m behind. I’m living a full and interesting life, and if I’m happy, perhaps that actually puts me ahead. Right now, it's my turn to be selfish and only have to worry about me, myself, and I — and I'm not going to complain about that.
Disappointments
My life, like everyone's, has had lots of disappointments — lots of things I wanted that didn’t work out. But, I've learned a lot and gained new perspective, and that's something I can be grateful for.
Two years ago, I applied for a new position within my company that I believed had the potential to change my life: higher pay, better title, and a huge opportunity for learning and growth. I wanted the job so badly, I could already see myself in it. I made it to the final interview round, and then they didn’t give it to me. It was awful. I felt rejected and embarrassed.
It took me a long time to shake the disappointment, and then it hit me: I wasn’t bummed that I didn’t get that specific position, I was bummed that I had to continue working in the one I was no longer interested in. Once I understood where my feelings came from, I was able to channel my energy into a productive job search. A few months later, I got another gig in my company and moved into a space that was right for me (yay!).
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After that, I always asked myself what I was really disappointed in: Am I sad that a guy wasn’t “the one”? Or, am I just upset that I’m still single in general? This helped me put things in perspective — which I'm grateful for.
My Size
Last week, I hiked in L.A.'s Runyon Canyon. The hike is super steep, and the journey to the top is not for the weak. I was easily the biggest person doing the hike and when I got to the top, I was winded, but I felt great. On the other hand, there was a skinny girl who came up behind me and immediately vomited.
If I were skinny, I doubt that I’d think as much about my health and fitness abilities. But, being fat, I’m constantly told that I’m unhealthy and should “do something” about it. So, I have. I’ve started doing intense plus-size workouts and eating clean. I’m in better shape than I was a year ago, and I enjoy showing other women how to make changes for healthy curves.
In fact, I’ve discovered that I enjoy the gym and cooking healthy meals. I would never have thought that I was in better shape than someone way tinier than me, but sometimes that's the reality of it. It's pretty cool to think that loving myself through healthy living has paid off like this.
Dating Rejection
It hasn't been easy navigating the difficult NYC dating scene, and, at times, I've wanted to quit it altogether. Nobody likes getting rejected — yet it's a big part of dating for most of us. I used to have a huge wall up with guys, because I was absolutely terrified of being rejected. That kind of thinking only kept me isolated from the kinds of connections I was looking for. But, if one person doesn’t think I’m the bee’s knees, so what? That doesn’t mean there aren’t five others who will totally dig me.
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I am 100% in charge of my self-esteem, and I'd much rather be alone and content than in a relationship just because I feared loneliness. More than anything else, getting rejected has taught me that I CAN be alone, and that's a big step.
It's great to feel genuinely grateful for the usual suspects — friends, family, health — and while I'm happy to have all of those things in my life, I'm also pretty proud of being able to think outside the typical gratitude box. It's not always easy to find the positive in what could be viewed as negative, but it is possible.
What are some things you're grateful for as we start the new year?
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