I’m really, really, genuinely happy with my life.
As I recently explained to one of my friends, I lived my life in reverse. When everyone else my age was partying and dating and experimenting with gods know what, I had my head buried in books. I saved my real living and risk-taking for my post-college years and now at 29—almost 30!—I do not regret it.
There are many rivers left to cross, many bridges to build, and many goals left to work on. However, I am totally at peace with my process and content with where I am, what I have, and the people in my life. That said, it would be ungrateful of me not to give a shout-out to the eight reasons I am extremely thankful this Thanksgiving 2018.
Earlier this year, my mom was hospitalised. It was the first time in my life I was ever truly confronted with my mother’s mortality. Like everyone else, prior to this moment, I thought of my mother as an ever-present fixture who would always be there, even when we lived 1,500 miles away from each other. To be slapped in the face with the fact that this isn’t as true as I’d like it to be makes me value not just her own health, but my own.
My heart conditions have been a hot topic in my circles lately. It’s a known fact that I could quite literally drop dead at any second my heart decides to give out. However, I can’t remember the last time I had an angina attack. And, after hiking a mountain in Alaska, getting lost in the desert in Utah, and biking around Georgia on my own, my parents joke that I am the “healthiest unhealthy person” in the family. May I retain that title for many more years to come!
Having grown up away from my family and constantly moving and losing and remaking new friends, I love with a tinge of detachment. I was always the one person in the family who lived anywhere from an hour to six hours away from everyone else. Until 2015, I didn’t even live in the same country as my mother. That has a sobering effect on the kind of love one bears towards family members.
However, this year, I think my attachment to family has changed. This is especially because everyone in my generation of the family is 25 years or older. We’ve hit that level of maturity where silly bickering and old rivalries have died out. We understand the importance of harmony and teamwork and what we can achieve when we all work together.
Though my cat is undoubtedly considered a part of the family, he deserves a block to himself. As many of you may remember, Shadow is a semi-feral, but that’s becoming increasingly past tense. When strangers come by, he no longer flees into the bedroom and hides under the bed. He’s become more curious, more willing to explore, to sniff a trusted stranger, and accept a bit of affection.
If you have never tamed a feral or semi-feral cat before, this probably doesn’t mean anything to you. But if you’ve watched a cat (or other animal) go from timid due to abuse and neglect to friendly and well-adjusted due to love and support, then you understand the sense of privilege you feel as the human who guided them along this journey.
When I quit my job in 2015, I did so to travel and write. Those were my top two priorities and boy did I make the absolute best of this in the past few years, especially this one. By the end of this year, I will have been to more than half-a-dozen countries and travelled to four states, not counting the ones I just passed through in the airport.
I have also done a lot more local exploration on my bike, as some of you have seen. I documented it as best as I could via my blog and I am always extremely grateful when people take the time to watch them and comment. I am especially honoured when people tell me they’ve been inspired to get out there themselves based on the posts I’ve made, whether written or audio-visual.
5. Going Home
Of all the trips I’ve taken this year, the most important one for me was going home. Some of you may remember my little stunt earlier this month, where I flew home to Jamaica on my expired passport and took the risk of getting back in to America on a semi-expired green card. My family and friends were really worried, but it turned out alright.
Many of you can tell by the tone of my cultural posts that I have a very idealistic view of my home country. In my mind, Jamaica is the best country that ever existed. A part of me felt like I needed that trip to sober that idealisation that came from being homesick. Well, that didn’t happen. Visiting my home country only intensified that feeling of Jamaica-is-the-best-place-ever! But…the economy, crime, and violence still sucks, so here I am!
Over the past few years, especially since living in America, I have been against purchasing a car. Even within a month or two before purchasing Seth, I was pretty anti-car. However, as I began to explore more, make new friends and attend more events, Uber and Lyft were beginning to cost me more than my car payments currently are.
I had promised myself that whenever public transportation cost as much as owning a car, it was time to make the switch. And, I’m glad I have. However, I didn’t buy a car to take me to all the places I needed to go. It was more about buying a car to see places I could not have gone to on my own before. That is the reason I’ve been able to haul my mountain bike around and make my little biking videos for all to see.
This year, my career has taken an interesting turn for the better. Despite my talk about putting in the work in my earlier years and relaxing now, I have been working my butt off this year to grow my business and increase profits. At first, this was primarily because I needed it to fund my novel. However, I am now once again in a position where I could sustain myself entirely from my business, if I so chose.
One of my biggest career moves this year, however, was publishing my debut novel, The Moreau Witches. I wrote the book in just six weeks, but the publishing process has been a long, hard road. I am extremely grateful that I was able to put my business in a position to fund the process.
This brings me to my final note of thanks this Thanksgiving—my readers. If you guys hadn’t pushed me to write the full novel, I probably never would have. At this point, book sales have gotten to the point where I no longer recognise the names that come in for the orders on my website. I also certainly don’t know who buys the book on Barnes & Noble or Amazon.
My readers have also been extremely supportive with my blog in general. My website has been doing exceptionally well, as most of my traffic now comes from search engines, as opposed to social media or paid ads. Most of my audience is from Jamaica, which blows my mind considering how tiny my island is and how big the country I live in is. I suppose that’s the power of support on a cultural level!
There are so many homesick Jamaicans around the world just looking for someone to celebrate the beauty of home with. Thank you for choosing me!
I’m excited to see what 2019 will bring. So far, the past few years have continually been on the up-and-up for me, so naturally I sense further progress and more adventures. Only time will tell. What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving?