Two days ago I was turning 24-years-old. I have to admit, mentally I’ve never really prepared to be 24. When I was 16, I was sure I’d be married by now. Actually, now that I think about it, I probably didn’t even imagine 24-year-old me yet, because it was eight years away. Think about where you were eight years ago; yeah, completely different.
Now I’m sitting in my house, the night before Thanksgiving, reflecting like always. Every thanksgiving from the time I was 17 to now has been different. When I was 17 I was in high school, thankful to have two days off and a half-day the day before. When I was 18, I was thankful to be almost done with high school. When I was 19, I was thankful to be settled in the new place I called home, Nashville. When I was 20, I was on top of the world, thankful to be playing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. When I was 21, a big storm was coming and I was struggling to find something to be thankful for. When I was 22, I’d realized I’d found the love of my life and I was thankful he’d finally come along. When I was 23, I was happy to be back in New York City, and thankful to have such a cool, wonderful job that allowed me to do so. Here at 24, I’m realizing that every year, I missed something I should have been thankful all along; love.
At the end of the day, doing great things and making music doesn’t mean anything if I can’t do them with my twin sister. Watching myself on television during the parade wouldn’t have been as great if I had checked my phone afterwards and hadn’t seen all the missed texts from my friends and family saying how proud they were. The year it was hard to be thankful would have been even worse if I didn’t have my loved ones there to help pull me out of my slump. When I’m 90 years old, I want to look back at my life and feel love in everything that I did. I want my accomplishments to be shared with people I love and the friends who helped keep me motivated to get there. This life is full of wonderful things. Be thankful for not only the opportunities that will arise, but the people you have to share them with. Hold onto the people in your life who give you that warm, fuzzy feeling. Keep looking for more people to add that feeling to your life. Embrace the goodbyes because it means the right people are on their way. Take time to realize that love isn’t just in people, but in the way your pets come up to snuggle with you; that feeling you get when you’re spending time on your passion; that moment when you find the sweater you’ve had your eye on for weeks 50% off; it’s even in the feeling you get when you’re exhausted and you’re happy to be in your own bed.
This thanksgiving, be thankful for love.