Trying to Be Thankful for My Problems

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Happy Thanksgiving friends! I hope everyone has a day of celebration, family, and pie (especially pie) ahead of them today. In thinking about writing a few thoughts for Thanksgiving, in a year that I have had SO MUCH to be thankful for, I remembered that one of my main New Years resolutions was to try and cultivate being a grateful person. I attempted this in a few different ways, but the thing that stuck the most and really changed my perspective was trying to learn to be grateful for my problems. 

This might sound really weird, because who wants to have problems? But before making this shift in my thoughts I definitely swung between being really absorbed in my problems or feeling happy/grateful and dismissing my problems as totally insignificant and not important. Both ways were pretty skewed perspectives and both ways included me denying what I was feeling.

I had to make a lot of hard decisions this year. Deciding between two different MFA programs made me lose sleep, feel sick to my stomach, cry all the time. Just ask my mom and sister, the months where I was going back and forth on this were not pretty.

However, as problems go this was a really great one to have. Trying to acknowledge the stress of the problem, while trying to be thankful that two really great schools wanted me was  huge perspective shift. But it made my mental state so much better.

I also try to keep this in mind when I get stressed in school or petty things go wrong in New York. My subway is cancelled for the night with no notice. That’s a big problem. It means that it will either take me a lot of time or money (or sometimes both) to get home. This is a problem. Still, I feel so lucky to be in New York and this goes with the territory here. Also, even though it doesn’t always feel like it, I do have extra time and I do have enough money to pay for cab fare (occasionally). This problem can suck, but I can still be thankful for it.

The same with my thesis paper due next week. It’s totally stressful writing a 20+ page paper. That is real, but I’m also trying to remind myself how lucky I am to be studying the thing I love most. I mean, I get to write my paper comparing three of my favorite E. Lockhart novels. Who gets to do that?


Which is probably something I should get back to now. Have a lovely holiday everyone and please let me know what things you are thankful for and if you think my new theory on being grateful for problems makes sense or is totally cuckoo.


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