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Giving Thanks

Looking back at last year’s Thanksgiving post, I wonder if I’m the only one who can tell how desperate and miserable I was. I was in my 30-day notice period at a job I hated (and freaking out about the fact that I was quitting to become self-employed). I was bringing home paychecks totaling less than $900 a month, saved only by my freelance income. And my son was failing half his classes with no help whatsoever from the quacks at his school.

This year is a complete 180. Jayden’s teachers are actually following his IEP and he’s on track to make the A/B Honor Roll. I ran fast and hard from my career as a therapist and have survived nearly a full year as a full time web designer. My life is far from perfect, but it is no struggle for me to identify what I’m thankful for today. In fact, it’s more of a struggle to prevent this post from becoming a novel.

Of course I’m thankful for the “standard” things in life. My family and friends. A roof over my head and food and being able to pay my bills. Those things go without saying. But there are so, so many things I’m thankful for today that I wouldn’t have mentioned in the past because I didn’t have time to notice them.

The way the sun streams through the front of the house in the early evening. Even after I transferred internally and stopped working 60+ hours a week for my former employer, I still got home well after dark most of the time. And while I work more hours now than ever before, I’m able to stop whenever I feel like it. I can go sit on my porch or take a drive or just sit on my couch and take in the world around me. I have been more present in my own life than ever before and it’s amazing.

Yoga pants. Yeah, I’ve put on a little weight in the last year. But now that I don’t have to dress up every day, I didn’t have to rush out to buy a new wardrobe. Instead, I have become a fan of comfort and I save my clothing budget for the times when I actually need to look decent.

The fact that Jayden now sounds like an adult when he talks. Can I just admit that I missed out on ALL the good stuff when Jayden was little? From the day he was born, I was either in school, working, or both. But now I’m home with him every day, and while he isn’t learning to crawl or walk or write the alphabet, he’s still changing before my eyes and I actually get to see it happen. I can’t express how glad I am for the chance to see things while they’re happening instead of realizing months later that I missed something again.

Being able to call my friends and family just to chat. Before this year, if I called someone, it was either because (1) I needed something or (2) I wanted to rant about my awful day at work while I drove home. I still don’t talk on the phone much, but when I do, it’s usually just because I feel like it. I don’t carry around the guilt of forgetting a birthday or failing to check on someone who’s sick or going through a rough time. And it’s awesome.

PayPal notifications that show up at exactly the right time. Every single time I have worried about money this year, money has showed up (often in the exact amount needed). This isn’t magic; I received money because I worked for it. But freelancing means I don’t get paid every other Friday; sometimes I have no way to know when payments will show up or when a project will be completed. Without fail, though, money has always been there when I truly needed it.

The diversity of people, personalities, and opinions in the blogosphere. When I blogged on top of working a “real job,” reading other blogs was like homework. I had a system for reading and commenting and I rushed through it every day out of obligation. These days, I don’t comment nearly as much, but I do spend time reading a large number of blogs and websites and actually taking in what the writers have to say. I’ve also stopped reading the blogs that don’t interest me and branched out into other niches to hear different voices. My fellow bloggers constantly remind me to keep an open mind and keep learning.

People who still read my blog. This summer I rebranded my blog from personal finance to whatever it is right now – a dumping ground for my random thoughts, I guess. As I expected, I lost some readers from the finance community who were all, “What the hell? This post doesn’t even have the word budget in it!” I also lost some readers after my post about why I write. And you know what? That’s okay. I would much rather have 500 readers who actually want to read (luckily I have a few more than that) than thousands who are just visiting because they think they should. And I appreciate every single one of you more than I can say. *group hug*

I sincerely hope all of you are spending Thanksgiving with the people who mean the most to you. Honestly, I hope no one is around to read this post because you’re too busy remembering all the little things that make your life awesome! If there’s one thing I’m most thankful for today, it’s the opportunity to reflect on 2012 and see that change is always possible and storms always pass. 

About Andrea Whitmer

Andrea is a freelance web developer and mom trying to maintain a sense of humor in an otherwise chaotic world. She blogs in hopes of helping others avoid the same mistakes she made in the past. Join in the discussion here on So Over This, or connect on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Google Plus. You can also subscribe to new posts via RSS so you never miss out!


  1. *hug* Happy Thanksgiving! 😀

  2. Glad you stuck the word budget in. On a more serious note, congrats on the 180 year 🙂 I'm sure it feels great to look back on it all. Have a happy Thanksgiving and have a great day 🙂

  3. I'm not at all sorry I'm here this morning and reading your blog. One of the things I look forward to each day is coming here, reading your latest post, and then migrating over to the "blogs I love" section to read from my favorites there as well. It continues to be a pleasure to get this peek into your thoughts and your world. I'm thankful you rebranded the blog rather than abandoning it completely.

  4. Group hug right back!

  5. What a great post, Andrea! I'm happy that 2012 was so much better than 2011. Was especially happen to read about Jayden's scholastic achievement. YEA for you both!!!

  6. Budget & the Beach says:

    I'm glad things turned around for you this year! And I'm thankful for yoga pants as well! 🙂 Glad we've had the chance to work together this year. I'm very grateful for all your help!!! I mean it!

  7. Happy Thanksgiving to you! Glad I stuck around after your rebranding 🙂 And glad to hear how well things are going 😀

  8. momoneymohouses says:

    I love your blog even more after the rebrand! Keep the posts comin'!

  9. Canadianbudgetbinder says:

    You know Andrea, I'm the same way. I enjoy your blog only because I know you tell it like it is and I like that. Your blog has done a turn around and I'm still here. I read all the time and only comment when I have something to say not because I feel inclined to. Thank you for helping me and continuing to help me this year. Mr.CBB

  10. @FrugalBeautiful says:

    High five for yoga pants! Even though I know you still have a lot on your plate, I'm proud of what you and your son have accomplished this year- so many great things, lots of hard work, and dare I say, awesome pants. 🙂

  11. @FrugalBeautiful says:

    OH and budget budget budget budget.

  12. Hmmmmmm… I notice Comcast isn't on this list.

    (ducks and runs)

  13. Congratulations on the good year. It sounds like you have much to be thankful for. I made the leap to self-employment two years ago, and though I don't yet make as much as I did at my old job, I love the flexibility and that I get to do something I enjoy. There is so much to be said for that!

  14. Oh I love this post so much. I'm glad you are in a way better place!

  15. Yep, great authentic post. You recognized what wasn't working and you found courage to create something worthwhile from those tattered scraps of hell. Quite industrious.

  16. so good to hear that jayden is doing much better. i'll prolly be one of those readers who will read till you decide to not blog anymore

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