A Relatively Ordinary Life

Perspectives on things seen, heard, and experienced

As I reflect on this holiday weekend and look ahead to the short, crazed month of December, I realize that I am pretty lucky person. Despite the ups and downs of the past few months and well okay the past few years, I can actually say that I am lucky. I guess people get nostalgic around the holidays. For me it’s a constant battle between the desire to get into the holiday spirit and the pain of missing those that are no longer here to deck the halls with me.

When I get a bit melancholy I try to focus on the good and like I said before I am lucky. So here are the five things that I am concentrating on this year:

1. My family. It might sound rather cliché but I really owe my mom and sister a lot. Without their strength and support who knows what would have become of me? Even when I am down and out and just a pure pain in the butt to be around, they are there. I have two of the best cheerleaders and mentors that anyone could ever ask for. They are my rock – my foundation.

2. My friends. So I might not be setting records with the number of friends on Facebook or contacts on LinkedIn but I have friends from every stage of my life that are true friends not just a number on a social media site. Whether it’s the girls I grew up with (we all suffered through those hideous uniforms) or the friends I made in high school, the years and the miles (in some cases, more than half the globe) do not stand between us. And my friends from college – oh, my Loyola Bunch – what would I do without them? It’s the friendships that grow and keep expanding. It’s the friends who look at me and know something is just not right. And the others that I have met and bonded with through insane work environments complete with the crazy bosses and the tears and the Limoncello. Truly, I am lucky.

3. My health. It’s a funny thing when you start to recognize that you’re not getting any younger. Milestone birthdays always have a way of making you think about the diseases and chronic ailments that seemed like something only “old” people had to deal with. I’m thankful that I am in control of my health and that I can do everything that I want to especially when I recognize that there are other who can’t do what they want to do or need to do.

4. My memories. A window into my past and a way to hold onto those that we truly love and miss. Memories like the funny sayings or the rake-dancing on the front lawn make me smile. I can smile because I have in my heart and mind the most important connection to those who are no longer here.

5. Brussells sprouts, giraffes, wine tours, and the tiny muscles in my shoulders. A strange grouping of things but each of them is about trying something new, laughing, and pushing myself just a bit harder. The sprouts are simply about trying new food. A vegetable that I did not ever think I would like but found that I simply love once sautéed in a little Honey Dijon mustard. The giraffe signifies meeting new challenges. So when faced with a handful of carrots and a very large hungry giraffe, what do you do? It was simply the most interesting day. The wine tour, well wine tours are always something special, especially when you get to taste wonderful mixtures all from your state. And the tiny little muscles in my shoulders are absolutely the most empowering thing. I’m the girl who could not lift a box or do a push up but now, after months of having my butt kicked but a fantastic trainer, I have definition in my shoulders. I am by no means a body builder but I have definition. It’s about pushing myself and seeing the results.

It’s a list of somewhat expected items and a one or two with a twist but it is about my life and what makes me smile – really smile. What makes you smile? What are you the most thankful for this year?

2 thoughts on “Five Things That I Am Thankful For

  1. Colleen Banick says:

    Beautifully said, Laina. Nothing wrong with a little nostalgia!


  2. Heather says:


    Good on ya! (as the Aussies like to say)

    You inspire the rest of us to focus on the things that matter and ignore all that crap in life that doesn’t (the closer parking spot, black shoes with a brown skirt, getting a few spaces further ahead in a toll booth line)….

    As for shoulder muscles, there’s a particular evening of bowling that comes to mind, plus all those quarters of gym where you suffered through weight lifting (oh, the shame!) rather than something less smelly and basement-ish just to spare your friend from having to stay late after track practice. I’m sure I’m not alone among your friends to say I’m thankful for YOU!



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