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The "100 Things I'm Thankful For" Challenge
Why I'm Attempting to List 100 Things I'm Thankful For...
To be honest, I have problems with gratitude sometimes, especially when things aren't going my way. If you've read my bucket list lens or my first blog entry on any of my Cherry Ambition blogs, then you know that I am and have been pretty depressed about my situation concerning employment and other life issues (which I won't get into here). There's a lot that I need and want to do, but can't because I need money to do it.
A good friend of mine (who went by the Squidoo lensmaster name of AWildDog) suggested that we both make lenses about 100 things we're thankful for, so we both could review what we have instead of only thinking about what we don't have and are striving for and struggling to get. Good timing since Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Plus, we're trying to see which one of us can get to 100 first. Hence- a challenge! So while this webpage might be somewhat short and brief at the moment, I plan on updating this list whenever I can, as I think of more things to be thankful for, as well as if/when more exciting and significant stuff happens.
Photo courtesy of AWildDog. Do not use without her permission.
I'm Thankful For The Following Abilities...
1. Writing abilities. I have a way with words, but only when those words are on paper...or a website/blog. I started writing a lot when I was young. I wrote lots of stories in grade school (some for homework, some just for myself). Then, I received a diary as a birthday gift when I was 13. After reading The Diary of Anne Frank around the same time, I was inspired to pour all my feelings out onto my diary pages. In fact, I think I've filled about 10 diaries. I do believe that all that writing and exceptional reading skills helped to better my writing skills as I got older, and they definitely helped in college. And now I'm able to use them to create good content for all of my HubPages webpages/hubs, which is important. I've done a bit of writing on my blogs, too.
2. Creativity / Artistic abilities. I have always been artistic. I'm artistic by nature. When I was younger, I could spend hours drawing, coloring, making stuff, etc. In grade school during art classes, my classmates would be jealous of my artwork because I would put so much detail into it and think of things to do that they hadn't thought of.
Though I don't draw or make things by hand nearly as much as I used to, I still create things, but it's currently limited to collaging posters & my own personal fashion guide book and designing products in my Zazzle store, Diva's Designs (pictured here). So I haven't abandoned my artistic gifts entirely.
I think this same ability also allows me to play around well with my lens formats, as well as coming up with ideas for lenses. Although I currently have plenty of lenses I can work on, I'm somewhat worried about running out of ideas. I'm hoping my creative thinking will allow me to be able to churn out some more ideas for good lenses.
I'm Thankful For My Past & Current Money-Making Opportunities
3. Unemployment benefits. I previously had a government job that I was let go from, but was able to get unemployment benefits for 2 years as a result. Without those benefits, not only would I not have had a job, but I would have had no money for food or health insurance. I would have been worse off than I was, so I'm thankful for being able to have had that temporary safety net.
4. HubPages. I migrated here by default in September 2014 after Squidoo was bought out by HubPages. For a short while, Squidoo was actually one of the biggest positive money-making opportunities I had going for me. 2012 was my best year on Squidoo, while 2013 was modest and 2014 was just so-so. But now that I'm at HubPages, I see & know what it's capable of doing for me if I make the most of it. My current goal is to make enough Hubs & get enough traffic so that I can make a reasonable amount of money per month from HubPages alone. I know it will be difficult, but I have no doubt I can do it. It's just a matter of time, effort and quality.
5. YouTube. There are two reasons I'm thankful for YouTube. The first is that it provides hours of entertainment and education. I love watching videos of my favorite people, dogs, babies, certain Buzzfeed videos & people massively failing at things. But I also love how I can learn exactly what I want and/or need to learn by simply watching a video about it. I tend to watch Buzzfeed (yep, them again), All-time10s, VSauce & any DIY fashion, beauty or home décor/interior design tutorial videos. (I'm really obsessed with DIY tutorial videos at the moment. Trying to change my diet, update my wardrobe, and plan for my future home when I'm living on my own.)
Secondly, back in September 2010, I set up my Official Cherry Ambition YouTube Channel with the intention of using it one day even though I didn't have most of the equipment I needed to make and edit videos the way I wanted to. Well, during Christmas 2012, my grandparents and I discussed my interest in YouTubing, and they agreed to pay for all the equipment I'd need and thensome. I made a few videos, but then quit due to lack of ideas, time constraints, and lack of privacy while filming. However, I completed an Internet Marketing Master's degree in 2014, so I have additional knowledge now that I didn't have back then. So I would like to start making YouTube videos again that I would post on my blogs and Twitter page, and maybe here on HubPages as well. YouTube has somewhat changed things now so that you can monetize outright on your channel, so long as the content is yours and is original. So I can make money on my videos right now, even though I'm still not actually a YouTube Partner, which is my ultimate goal. For now, I'll just be doing video hauls and vlogs, using those videos to promote some of my Hub/webpages as well. I think YouTube can/will help propel all my online stuff so that I can maybe, finally start making a living solely from my online stuff.
6. Other Internet money-making opportunities. Aside from HubPages & YouTube, I've been able to find money-making opportunities through surveys & such elsewhere on the internet. That, and I can sell things on eBay, Amazon, and Zazzle. But I haven't made as much money from these as I did from Squidoo, which is why Squidoo was my favorite. I'm still learning to adjust to HubPages.
Photo seen here is a screenshot of my old Scene Kids, Scene Queens, Scene Style & Hairstyles lens on Squidoo.
I'm Thankful For The Things I've Already Done/Accomplished
7. Getting My Driver's License. June 2nd, 2012, I finally received my driver's license. Sad since I'm in my late 20's and this was a decade overdue, but good because it's out of the way now. I was able to do it thanks to a big tax refund that I used to pay for driving lessons. I took driving lessons back in 2009 as well but I was let go from my college student government job in 2009, so I could no longer pay for those lessons. Otherwise I would have gotten my license that summer, I think, or at least by the end of that year. But I wasn't able to, and my parents weren't much help in helping my driving skills progress (they didn't want to take me out on the highway, didn't have a car I could drive, etc.). Actually, they weren't much help before that either, really. So I knew a good driving instructor would be key, which they were. Super-nice and encouraging, too.
Now that I can drive, I just need my own set of wheels so I don't have to share a car with family and be on someone else's schedule...
8. My Florida Trips. I love Florida. Love it. I've been 3 times to visit one of my old friends who lives near Tampa. I have been thinking about eventually moving to the Tampa/Clearwater. It's sort of like where I am now in Ohio, but warmer and sunnier year-round, and there's lots of beaches to visit. If I lived in or near Tampa, I would visit beaches every single week, and I could drive to Miami or the Keys whenever I wanted. Those would be nice road trips. Much better than the family road trips I've been on (such a pain). Unfortunately, I haven't been in several years, and would really like to visit, but don't have the money. So I'll have to wait.
Photo of road in Dunedin, Florida is from my 2007 Florida trip photos.
9. My Bermuda Trip. I visited Bermuda in summer of 2008 to visit family there. It was my first international trip in 21 years. (I visited Canada when I was 4.) Let me tell you-- it's gorgeous. Far more colorful than where I live (and even more colorful than Florida). The houses are painted in pastel colors (pink, yellow, green, blue), and their cars and clothing are just as colorful, but brighter (and not pastel). As someone who really likes color, I loved that there was so much of it. And of course, since it's an island, it's got beaches everywhere. But the beaches on the southern coast of Bermuda have pink sand from the corals breaking apart and washing ashore. Anyway, it's was a great vacation, even with my jellyfish encounter and drinking party I had no idea would happen. (I'll save those stories for my blogs or another lens or something.) I plan on going again with a friend or something in the future.
I'm Thankful For... - (Parts of) Nature/The Outdoors
10. The Sun. Yes, too much of it is bad for you. But it is necessary. Sunlight is a good source of Vitamin D, and it also affect your serotonin levels, which affects your mood & state of mind. It's why some people (myself included) are moodier during the fall & winter months, but just fine (maybe even unusually chipper) during the spring & summer months. I know for sure it affects me, probably to the point where I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. It's a big part of why I want to move to Florida. I hate when the sun isn't out, on top of hating the cold weather where I live. So when the sun is out, I appreciate it.
11. Greenery / Foliage. One more reason why I enjoy spring and love the summer, but dislike the fall and hate the winter. I miss when everything is nice and green, and the flowers are out and all. I wish I didn't have to see the leaves turn colors at all. I hate looking at how dead nature looks outside during the winter. That on top of no sun for days, even weeks at a time- it's so depressing to me. So I always look forward to the spring & summer for that reason as well.
12. Coastal Beaches & Ocean. I do not care for any other beaches except coastal ones where I can look off into the ocean and watch the sunset (or sunrise). These beaches stretch for miles and miles, unlike the lame man-made beach near my house off some dinky lake. The beaches farther south are better, as they're in a warmer climate year-round, meaning I can visit them anytime I want and it'll be nice and warm when I get there. Another reason I want to live in Florida- miles & miles of beaches. I feel happy, relaxed and at peace looking out towards the ocean...
I'm Thankful For...
13. My (Closest) Friend. I don't have any close friends that live within an 800-mile radius of me. They're spread out throughout the globe. The best friend that I have lives in the UK - AWildDog. I talk to her online. I'm so incredibly thankful for her. She has helped keep me sane (and I think I've done the same for her), and understands when I complain & go off about a lot of things. She doesn't tune me out. She listens to me, and I listen to her. We give and we take, as happens in all good & healthy friendships. I really hope I can eventually visit her one day, because as great as it is that I can talk to her at all, it's not the same as it would be in person. I know I need to find a way to branch out and make new friends, but I have difficulty with that and don't trust people easily. One day, maybe I'll have someone else I can call a close friend, but for now it's just her.
I'm Thankful That I Don't Live In Countries Like...
14. Libya. If you were paying attention to the global news in 2011, you likely heard about the air strikes & whatnot carried out by the U.S. in Libya. If you were paying attention to Libya a month before the No Fly Zone was implemented, then you know why it was done; Gaddafi/Khadafi & his government had been brutally attacking their own citizens in every way possible- guns, missiles, rapes, beatings-- and then denied that they had done any of this. This country, if it had been left to fend for itself, had the potential to become Obama's Rwanda. While people accused him & the government of only being there for the oil, if he'd done nothing, he would have gotten just as much flack for it. He was screwed either way.
But lets move away from the politics & back to the Libyan citizens, particularly the Anti-Gaddafi ones. Many of them left the country, but some could not, and those were the ones in peril even with the military intervention. I'm thankful that I wasn't in the same situation they were in, and they have my deepest sympathies. I cannot imagine how stressful and painful it must have been for them. Thankfully, Gaddafi was killed, the government was taken over by the citizens, and they've been trying to get things in order for their country.
15. Syria. If you were paying attention to media in 2012 (and really even in 2011) then you know that Syria has gone the way of Libya as well. The people are (understandably) fighting their government and the government is killing a lot of it's citizens. I don't know all the details because I haven't been keeping up with it extensively the way I did Libya news, but it's not good. A lot of people-- and the Syrians themselves, of course-- had hoped their suffering would not be dragged out the way it was for Libyans, but it's actually been worse for them. ISIS came into their country and began doing far worse than even their government had, and this caused Syrians to flee into Europe. Now they're having to deal with Islamaphobia, with governments that aren't equipped to take them in, etc. It's a depressing situation that might take years to improve.
16. Japan. They were hit in early March 2011 by what is being said to be the 5TH most powerful earthquake on record. Then they were hit by a devastating tsunami (which literally looked like something out of a disaster movie if you saw any video footage of it). Then they had to deal with their nuclear power plants, at least one of which did leak radiation-- and STILL IS leaking radiation, because they haven't been able to completely stop the leaking. And hours before I initially wrote & added this section to the lens, they were hit by another strong earthquake (not as powerful as the first, but still bad). They just keep getting hit with one thing after another.
Japan was one of my "places to visit" on my bucket list, but now not only wouldn't I live there, but I likely and unfortunately won't be visiting the country any time soon, either, at least not until they figure out a way to properly address the radiation issue.
17. Russia. Homophobic hate crimes are basically legal there, the government has been blamed for a plane that crashed over the Russian/Ukrainian border, and now their economy is tanking severely. I don't know what will become of Russia in the long run, but I know I'm thankful that I don't live there.
18. North Korea. They've lived under a dictatorship for several decades. Anyone who has managed to escape has basically described living in North Korea as living in a prison. They have no real freedom and no concept of the world outside of North Korea. And there have been articles about the actual prisons in North Korea being on par with concentration camps back in Nazi Germany. The United States has a LOT to work on, but I'm glad for the freedoms I do have here in the U.S.
I'm Thankful For...
19. My senses. I don't know what I'd do without them. I'm fully aware it's possible to live a full life without sight or the ability to hear or touch. But I'm glad I can do all of that without any problems. Without my hearing, I wouldn't be able to enjoy music the way I do. Without sight, I really wouldn't have been able to use my artistic talents. Without taste, I could not fully enjoy all the food I eat. Same goes for smell, which also allows me to enjoy perfume and alerts me when something is burning. Without touch/sensation, I would not be able to move freely, to hug others, walk, run, or do all those gymnastic moves that I could do when I was younger.
20. Having all my body parts in tact and functioning correctly. Yes, I know how weird that sounds initially. But follow my train of thought for a moment:
I appreciate my face, not just because others think it's pretty, but I do as well most of the time. And unlike some women in certain parts of the world, I've never had anyone threaten to throw acid on my face, nor has anyone actually done it.
I appreciate my skin. Although I have eczema on the inside of my right elbow and elsewhere, and my feet have a few issues, my skin is otherwise great. It could be far worse. I could have vitiligo, a condition where your skin loses pigmentation in certain areas. I could also be allergic or sensitive to simple things, like sunlight or water. People who're allergic or sensitive to either can blister, break out in hives, get really bad sunburns, etc. I don't have to worry about any of that.
I appreciate my hands, arms, legs and feet. While not impossible, it's more of a challenge do things without any of these body parts. Also hard to use them properly if they didn't develop properly at birth, as has happened for some people. So I'm glad I have limbs that formed the way they were supposed to.
21. Food allergies...and non-allergies. Surprisingly enough, I'm starting to have an appreciation for my food allergies. I do hate eating out, and having to worry about certain food putting me in the hospital because it could potentially kill me is something I will always have to deal with. But if I look at it from another, more positive angle, I do believe my food allergies have kept me healthy otherwise. I'm allergic to eggs, all dairy (including products with whey or casein in them), all nuts, meat, seafood, barley wheat, sesame, caramel color, and I believe even mustard. Yeah, it's a lot, and it's rendered me nearly vegan. But because I've lived mostly off of fruit and veggies with a few special vegan dishes, I do not struggle with eating healthy. I might have struggled in the past to get variety in my diet, but that has gotten so much easier with all the food alternatives available now, as well as recipes I can simply Google.
I'm also thankful for the allergies I don't have. As I mentioned before, there are people allergic to sunlight and water. I'm so glad I'm not allergic to either, as I enjoy both. I'm also glad I'm not allergic to other foods or ingredients, particularly soy. I really enjoy soymilk and tofu, and how versatile they are when it comes to cooking things. Glad I don't have to worry about a gluten allergy, either. I have enough allergies as is.
I'm Thankful For... - The Arts
22. Music. I have always loved music, though my taste has changed throughout the years. I use to listen to a lot of pop in my teen years, but I've mostly listened to rock since I graduated high school. I also played piano for about 12 years, and I was in choir groups for just as long.
Even though I only listen to music now online or on my iPod (I hate radio these days), I still enjoy it thoroughly. I've been to 6 concerts (7 if I count the band I saw live at NBC's Today Show in New York City), and I plan to go to several more in the future.
Whether it's live or on my iPod, the kinds of songs I listen to are mostly songs that convey feelings/emotions that I can relate to but can't always articulate. Some songs remind me of certain moments in my life, both good and bad. Some are just fun party or dance songs, yes, but these aren't the songs I listen to on a regular basis. It's the songs that speak to me about where I've been in life, where I am now, and where I hope to go.
23. Photography. I didn't realize how much I appreciate a good photo until I realized how many pictures I was (and still am) saving on Photobucket and favoriting on Tumblr. I also didn't realize how picky I am about photography either. I did take a photography course in college, but it turns out I'm not very good at taking pictures. I'm only good at picking out the good ones. This helps when it comes to my Squidoo lenses. I think a good, relevant photo can sometimes be more attention grabbing than the text/lens content alone. So I try to add good pictures whenever I can.
24. Culinary Arts/Cooking. I love to cook, probably because I love to eat as well. There's a bit of an added challenge for me in finding things to cook that I can actually eat, thanks to my several food allergies that I previously mentioned. And with my dietary restrictions, it's necessary for me to try as many different recipes as I can so that there's variety in what I eat. But when I do find a dish to cook that I can eat, and the recipe turns out like it's supposed to (which is actually most of the time), it's very rewarding for me. Example- the vegan pizza shown here (yes, entirely vegan, with one of the best vegan cheeses ever- Daiya Cheese).
Photo of vegan pizza is my own. Click photo for larger version.
25. Interior Design/Home Décor. Not the typical stuff that you might see on TV, but the more unusual designs. I like unconventional interior design, when people use bright, bold colors and have funky little trinkets all around their home. It inspires me to do the same with my own future apartment/house. I want every single thing I get for my place to be unusual/unconventional in some way, shape, or form, but I want it all to work together. I don't mind if people visit my home and think that it's a bit weird. I'd actually take it as a compliment.
I can't find a satisfactory public domain or Creative Commons-licensed interior design/home décor photo to add here, so I will simply link you to my interior design/home décor Pinterest board titled My Dream Home. The board basically has every type of thing I'd want in my home, and I frequently add pins to this board.
I'm Thankful For Other Stuff, Such As...
26. eBay & Other Online Shopping. Seriously. I love that I don't have to leave my house in order to go shopping. Although I can't buy much now, I can put everything on wishlists and buy them when I'm ready to. I don't have to deal with salespeople, and comparing prices between websites is easy to do as well.
eBay though- it's in a category of it's own. You can find a lot of stuff on eBay. The stuff I've found and bought have been things originally in other catalogs & other online sites, but often for half the price. Example- my 4 Coach purses (which I bought when I was working), and some cashmere cardigan wraps (that match all my purses, lol). I've also found some unusual, quirky stuff that's rare, like this cherry necklace seen here, and a Bazooka Bubble Gum necklace. Basically stuff that's very like me, but that no one else has, yet always wants.
27. The Internet in General. Aside from making money online & shopping, the internet is great for other stuff, too. YouTube comes to mind. I can find old TV shows there (and a few new ones, too), my fave music videos (instead of watching MTV or VH1), concert footage, random videos of people I don't know doing stupid stuff, etc. I was also able to apply for unemployment online without ever having to go in person. I was even able to do an entire internship online for my last year of college. Helpful since I was going back and forth between campus and my then government job, and I didn't want to have to spend time at a third place. I could do my internship work wherever I was, as long as I had a computer with internet on it.
In short- the internet makes a lot of things a lot more convenient to do.
Photo of cherry necklace is my own.
28. Help From Strangers. Now, this is tricky sometimes, because you can't (& shouldn't) always trust strangers. But in this particular case, I did, and it turned out to be a good thing.
I was running errands one day and had one last stop to make at the library. Of course, shortly before I get to the library, my car hit or got caught on something, because I heard a dragging noise. It got worse as I pull in to park in the library parking lot. Apparently the bottom cover (the part that covers the engine) had been partially pulled off and was missing screws even. Not sure what to do, I went into the library to go ahead and pick up a DVD & print out some documents, then came back outside. I looked under my car (which was my dad's car then, but is my car NOW) and thought to myself ,"Well, I'll just have to drive really slowly with my hazard lights on and take the longer way home." But even pulling out of the parking space, it seemed like that might not be possible either, & I'd probably lose the cover.
Thankfully there was a guy who stopped me on the way out before I pulled onto the street. But instead of just telling me that my cover came off, he said he'd take a look at it and see if he could give it a quick fix. The guy was an ex-mechanic. He took a look and figured that if he could get string or wire, he could tie it back on so it wouldn't be dragging on the ground. There just happened to be a nearby dry cleaners (I'd literally parked right in front of it). So he went inside to get what ended up being wire hangers while I went to see if any pieces or screws had been left in the spot where I'd parked the car. I managed to find one of 2 screws, but it wouldn't go back in. So he took the wire hangers, pulled them apart entirely and maneuvered them accordingly so they'd hold the bottom flap in place.
I managed to find out a few interesting things about him while he was fixing my car-- 1) fan of Obama, 2) though he appeared to be a white man, he said he was also African American [which could have been true since not everyone who is black or has black ancestors looks black, and there was no way to prove he was lying, so I chose to believe him], and 3) was going to City Hall to propose a plan for homeless people that would also keep money within their particular support system while helping the homeless get educated & get on their feet. So seemingly a pretty good guy and insightful about people in general, I think.
So not only am I super grateful that man was where he was that day to help me with my car, but he turned out to be a really decent human being. He reminded me that there are still good people out in the world who want to do good things for no other reason than that good things need to be done. So I try to remember him whenever I'm feeling about down about the state of the world today.