On Thanksgiving, grateful for…

By Caitlin Kelly

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This is the warehouse for NYC’s food bank. As you enjoy your meal today, remember how many cannot, without help.

Today is American Thanksgiving, a day when friends and family gather to celebrate.

Here are some things I’m grateful for:

You!

This blog now has more than 15,900 followers worldwide, and more join every day. It’s a place we continue to have lively, civil, moving conversations about our lives. Those of you, like Ksbeth, Rami, Steve, Charlene, Matthew, Grace and Leah who have been here for years,  I’m honored you return here.

I enjoy writing it and hearing from you, and am so glad you make time to visit, read and comment.

Health

As someone who spent the fall of 2011 on crutches, so bad was the pain in my damaged left hip, (since replaced), and who has spent months on end in physical therapy attending to both knees and my right shoulder pre and post-surgery, I’m so grateful to be strong, flexible and healthy.

Without good health, we have nothing.

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My handsome hubby, Jose

My husband

Jose is a treasure. We met online when I was writing a story about internet dating for Mademoiselle magazine and 200 men replied to the personal profile I put up on one of the sites. He was in the mix. Ironically, we both work in journalism in New York but we would never have met any other way. It’s now 15 years and it feels like minutes.

Friends

We’re staying this week with dear friends in suburban Maryland, a four-hour drive from our home. They’ve welcomed us many times and it’s a blessing to know their home is open to us. In a world where work comes and goes too easily, where family can be complicated and moral support gets you through it all, deep and sustained friendship is one of my greatest joys.

BUSINESS OF FREELANCING

Work

Jose and I now both work full-time freelance. That means, every single month, we need to earn multiple thousands of dollars in income to pay all our bills. If we’re ill or tired, we can take time off, but there’s no paid sick leave or vacation. No one pays into a 401k to help save for our retirement now.

Everything is up to us. So having a strong network of people who know and respect our skill and hire us to write, edit, teach and take photographs is key to our ongoing success.

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Savings

We’ve been careful and frugal. Having a financial safety net allows us to take time off when needed and the creative risks we need to to compete effectively with people decades younger.

Ideas

We talk constantly about our ideas for work, travel, our home, new projects to work on individually or together, whether our blogs or creating new workshops. I’m grateful for a partner who is fun, funny and full of ideas. I am fortunate to have friends who help me refine mine and who share theirs.

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This is me, in Ireland, at my happiest — tea, travel, newspapers, painting

Creativity

I’m fortunate to have grown up in a home bursting with creative talent. My father, still alive and healthy at 86, was a film-maker and someone who makes art in multiple forms: engraving, etching, oil, lithography and silver. My late stepmother wrote for television and my mother was a journalist and editor. It was simply normal behavior to have tons of ideas, sell them to make a living and know that a percentage would be rejected or not very good. When I took the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking for a story, I scored in the 98th percentile. I guess it rubbed off!

 

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Paris, January 2015

Travel

As regular readers of Broadside know, we live to travel, and are gone usually several weeks each year to Canada, other parts of the U.S. and, in better years financially, to foreign lands. This year has been fantastic in that regard, with trips to Maryland, Ontario, Quebec, Maine, London, Paris and Ireland. Because we’re now both freelance, and have friends generously welcoming us into their homes, as long as we have work and wi-fi, there’s no need to stay put in New York. Beyond grateful to be able to keep my passport handy.

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Our living room

Our home

We live on the top floor of an apartment building with a spectacular view, facing northwest, of the Hudson River and the opposite shore. Every morning we’re greeted with a fresh bit of beauty, whether the rising sun creating a line of demarcation across the hills, sparking every window into a “ruby moment” as it reflects the sun, or fog so thick we can barely see the trees.

We live and work in a one-bedroom, so we have to be tidy and organized, but love that our balcony is our refuge/office/spare room when the weather is good.

I really enjoy our town, Tarrytown, NY, 25 miles north of Manhattan, a place so pretty films and television shows are made here — a few days ago HBO was filming a show with Sarah Jessica Parker.

We’ve enjoyed many fun versions of this holiday over the years — spent in frigid, dark-by-2pm Stockholm, others with friends in D.C. and N.Y, getting to know them and their relatives better. 

Our own families living very far away from us, we’re lucky to be invited to join others’ celebrations.

Wherever you are today, I hope your Thanksgiving is a happy one!

22 thoughts on “On Thanksgiving, grateful for…

  1. lovely list of gratitude. i’m happy to have met you and learned and laughed and chatted with you over these online years. enjoy your holiday and all that is good in your life. my favorite picture here, is the bird’s eye view one of you in all your glory. )

    1. Thanks! I love that photo…Jose took it from the balcony of our Irish house rental last June. It really sums me up in one image.

      Hope you have a terrific day.
      Here’s to more “online years.” 🙂

  2. Steve

    i’d love to read a follow up post of your Thanksgiving trip. We downsized a bit this year and only had 15. Last year was our record 27, including kids. Not everybody could make it this year. Three close family members have since passed on since last years celebration. Still we all have so much to be thankful for that so often we take for granted. Our health, our employment, grandchildren. i started a tradition around our table 3 years ago that right after our prayer we go around the table and publicly state one thing we are thankful for. I think a lot of times we forget just how blessed we really are. several shared some pretty tender areas of their lives and a few moist eyes were present if you took time to look. My praise this year was how grateful I am for the five incredible sons God blessed me with and how much of a pleasure it is seeing them grow up into the young men they have become. My father used to tell me you can tell what kind of job a man has done raising his family by the grandchildren he is blessed with. Those words really hit home with me this year. I miss that man immensely. Glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Steve

    1. It sounds like a lovely celebration. Five sons! What a family you have created. 🙂

      Yesterday was fantastic — the age range at the table was 8 to 91, with relatives in from California to Brooklyn. We had heard so much about them for years (and vice versa) and it was great to make new friendships and get to know them all. Our hosts were our wedding witnesses and flew from DC to Toronto for that, so they have felt like family for years.

  3. themodernidiot

    I am grateful for spies. Canadian ones. Especially those who drop perfectly-timed f-bombs on the land of my bad moods. Thanks for the laughs, the wisdom, the rants, and your time. I am honored.

  4. A belated Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

    I’m thankful for my family, for the fact that my mother is still here and is celebrating her birthday this coming week (three years ago she was critically ill and I thought that birthday was her last), for friends, books, blogs, good conversation. And beauty — always thankful for beauty. There was a gorgeous sunrise when I drove to work on Thanksgiving morning, with mist wreathing the fields.

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