Chosen Family (#313)

This post comes from my friend and a returning guest blogger, Riley McGrath.

My name is Riley McGrath, I am a 20 year old FTM transgender guy from Scituate Massachusetts, though home to me is really Bridgewater State University. I am studying psychology and am taking on a double minor in LGBT studies and women and gender studies. I hope to become a gender therapist where I will be helping trans folks like myself every day of my life.

Something that I’ve carried with me throughout my coming out and transitioning process is this idea of a chosen family. I grew in a big Irish Catholic family. These values have been ingrained in me, my whole life. Now that I’ve started my transition and have come out, the importance of family has changed for me.

To me, family is the people that accept and support you without any conditions. I don’t see my biological family being in my life forever unless they accept who I am and start to call me Riley. My true family is the people have been with me since I have come out and support me without exceptions. One of the beautiful things about being LGBT is being able to choose your family. Sometimes it’s after your biological family kicks you out. But you find the most amazing people to “replace” what you’ve lost. My chosen family is something I am grateful for every day of my life.

One of my favorite quotes about family is from the TV show, The Fosters. It is something I carry with me through the ups and downs of being queer and a trans male. “DNA doesn’t make a family. Love does” I really love that quote and it always reminds me of my chosen family.

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. My chosen family, even if some people aren’t in my life much anymore
  2. Drywall and painting
  3. My sister, who is one of my favorite people on the planet
  4. The trans community on social media (Laverne Cox, Aydian Dowling, Chella man, Chase Ross and too many more to mention)
  5. Question 3 in Massachusetts
  6. Bridgewater State University (as always)
  7. My friends Catherine and Sean, for letting me stay when I have to work early/ late… And their dogs too
  8. The crazy journey of manhood
  9. My car
  10. Both my jobs, my bosses, and my coworkers
  11. Music (for keeping me sane through the ups and downs of life)
  12. Being able to learn how to cook on my own
  13. Stories
  14. Church (for showing me that LGBT folks can be religious)
  15. My best friend and brother (for our hour-long conversations where I always end up crying)
  16. Rain
  17. Anyone that has ever doubted me
  18. Everything I’ve gone through and struggled with
  19. The crazy journey of manhood
  20. Having the right and privilege of voting
  21. Sunrises and sunsets
  22. My research group
  23. My dad (for giving everything up for me)
  24. How much I’ve grown since September
  25. The month of November (November 20th specifically)

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!

Time To Reflect (#312)

With my fall semester coming to an end, I feel like I finally have time to breathe. I’m grateful to watch summer to fall, fall turn to winter. Each day brings something different. I remind myself change is GOOD with each breath I take.

I haven’t been perfect. I’ve certainly made mistakes but I work hard to recognize and learn from them. I’m looking forward to the new year. A year full of the unexpected.

The best is still yet to come.

12.12.18

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Finishing up finals
  2. Trying new things
  3. Old movies
  4. A good night’s rest
  5. Taking it day by day
  6. Authors that inspire
  7. Shared laughter
  8. Our little cabin
  9. Late night ice cream
  10. The warmth of the summer sun
  11. Songs from Anfield
  12. Big stretches
  13. Time at the gym
  14. Sharing and connecting with gratitude
  15. A few deep breaths
  16. Cozy blankets and warm sweats
  17. Safe travels
  18. Time to journal
  19. Weekends with my brother
  20. Local pizza
  21. Learning and reflection
  22. Clean water
  23. My family
  24. A successful fall semester
  25. The here and now

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!

Featured image from Cambodia.

An evening at the mall (#311)

Community post #2! Thanks so much to our guest writers – I’m excited to share more. This post is by a fellow gratitude writer. We connected and talked about the power of gratitude over email and now this.

Check out Ryan’s gratitude journal at ryannjohnson.com/gratitude/.

Yesterday, I went with a friend to get dinner and ice cream at a mall nearby. It was the nicest mall I’d ever been to, featuring art installations in walkways, tall glass on every storefront, and the bustling atmosphere of the holiday season.

We arrived at the restaurant we wanted to eat at. They had an hour-long wait. My friend put down his number and we left to wander the mall until our table was ready.

The two of us walked, window shopped, tried on and bought new shoes, and lounged in one of the many sitting areas littered across the expansive public space.

Before we knew it, our table was ready and we strode over to enjoy a delicious meal together.

I’m grateful that an evening like this can be commonplace in my life. I’m aware of how terrible others’ circumstances can be, how my own fortunate circumstances were gifted to me, and that this privilege is ephemeral and it will be gone sooner than I realize.

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. The safety of my friends and family.
  2. My capacity to fall in love and that I continually do so.
  3. That my body still works.
  4. That my body still works well.
  5. The people who have stepped into my life and become my mentors because of the mentors they themselves have had.
  6. My reclining couch that ruins most other couches I sit on.
  7. Books.
  8. Audiobooks.
  9. Patrick Rothfuss’s “The Wise Man’s Fear” on Audible.
  10. Being able to make and eat my own favorite meals any time I want.
  11. Having a job I inherently enjoy.
  12. That I’ve fallen into a line of work that I’m good at and is in relatively high-demand.
  13. Having co-workers who care about one another and that I genuinely enjoy spending time with.
  14. That I live in America at a time when opportunities to shape my own life have never been easier.
  15. That my psyche is still intact and hasn’t shattered under the stress of events I cannot cope with.
  16. This laptop that I got a super good deal on.
  17. My ability to learn.
  18. My curiosity that motivates me to learn.
  19. Relationships with my parents that have grown so fulfilling as I’ve gotten older.
  20. That I’ve never been part of the food chain.
  21. That I don’t live in constant fear or dread.
  22. Friendly neighbors with healthy boundaries.
  23. Explosive music for exhilarating runs.
  24. The people who love and care about me, even when I sometimes don’t feel worthy of love.
  25. That I’m still alive.

Thank you Jake for having me do a guest post on your gratitude list!

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

If you’re interested in Guest Blogging for the Gratitude Journal, click (here)!

Right Here, Right Now (#309)

Don’t wait to be successful at some future point. Have a successful relationship with the present moment and be fully present in whatever you are doing. That is success.

Eckhart Tolle

11.29.18

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Time at the gym
  2. Quiet nights
  3. Pickup soccer
  4. My mental health tools
  5. Warm blankets and cozy mornings
  6. My family
  7. Late night ice cream
  8. Unexpected adventures
  9. My friends at UMass
  10. Pictures from home
  11. Life in color
  12. Sharing new music
  13. Rainy days and cloudy mornings
  14. Hand written notes
  15. A little support
  16. My breath
  17. Patient lessons and teachers
  18. Hanging with my mom
  19. Time to read outside of class
  20. Trying new things
  21. Bed time stretching
  22. Clean water
  23. Messages from Cambodia
  24. Good food
  25. The precious present

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

ATTN: Make sure you check out my current giveaway! See how you can give back with gratitude. From now until the start of December.

Featured image from summer hikes

Our Comfort Zone (#308)

There are times I can be quite rigid. I stick to my routine and wouldn’t dare change it up. I think there’s value in recognizing that. Theres power in reflection.

I’m grateful for when I can return to that familiar feeling. When I can recharge and find my breath. I want to find gratitude in normalcy and the mundane but not grow fond of it. I think it’s important to find ways to expand our comfort zone, not escape it. We just have to take it one step at a time.

11.28.18

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Morning coffee and happy smiles
  2. My supervisor Adam
  3. A productive morning
  4. Warm tea
  5. New traditions
  6. A little understanding
  7. Patient breathing
  8. Time to read
  9. Pickup soccer after work
  10. Liverpool FC, even when they lose
  11. Making new friends
  12. Late night ice cream
  13. Classic movies
  14. My family
  15. Learning something new
  16. Clean water
  17. Those who inspire and motivate change
  18. Leadership lessons
  19. Just getting started
  20. Sitting by the train station
  21. Sharing gratitude
  22. The Shea Durgin hill
  23. Warm blankets
  24. Expressing emotions
  25. The here and now

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

ATTN: Make sure you check out my current giveaway! See how you can give back with gratitude. From now until the start of December.

Featured image from Matador beach. Missing the California sun.

Give It Everything (#307)

John Wooden, one of my favorite coaches and philosophers said –

It’s so easy to relax, to cut corners, to let down after you’ve reached your goal, and begin thinking you can just “turn it on” automatically, without proper preparation. It takes real character to keep working as hard or even harder once you’re there. Don’t think you can make up for progress by working twice as hard tomorrow. If you have it within your power to work twice as hard, why aren’t you doing it now?

To me, the same applies to our energy when it comes to positivity. If we have the power to impact others, to be kind, and to show others gratitude – we must give our pursuits everything we have and then find a way to do it all again. This is how we create change, it starts with us!

11.26.18

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Getting to teach CORE
  2. Safe travels
  3. My friends from BSU
  4. Time for writing
  5. Sharing new music
  6. Clean water
  7. Calls from home
  8. My grandparents
  9. Bike rides on the weekends
  10. Good news
  11. Feeling organized
  12. A little support
  13. Vinyl music and all-time records
  14. Edinburgh tours and souvenirs
  15. Piano lessons
  16. Board game nights with the family
  17. Home cooking
  18. My cat, Ned
  19. Learning new things
  20. Soccer after school
  21. The sound of rain on my window
  22. That clean apartment smell
  23. A couple deep breaths
  24. A positive mantra
  25. The here and now

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

ATTN: Make sure you check out my current giveaway! See how you can give back with gratitude. From now until the start of December.

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Featured image from Malibu with my Uncle! 

Take It To Another Level (#306)

The work will get done.

I have to keep reminding myself of this as the fall semester comes to an end and I still have so much to take care of.

The work will get done, I keep saying. 

Each breath acts as an anchor, knowing I have goals I am working towards. Planning only gets us so far – and similarly – so does writing lists. I want to live out loud when it comes to gratitude and positivity. I want to take those next steps and live each moment and use each action to demonstrate gratitude. This looks like patience. This looks like empathy and encouragement.

Ultimately reminding myself, I need to take life one day at a time. The best is yet to come. The work will get done but saying it isn’t enough. Taking action brings life to another level.

11.25.18

Today I’m Grateful For…

  1. Time for photography
  2. Support from Julie
  3. Handwritten cards of encouragement
  4. Sharing stories and laughter
  5. Summer bonfires and s’mores
  6. Camping in Acadia
  7. An empty email inbox
  8. My family
  9. New Weekend Music
  10. A little support from my friends
  11. My summer in the UK
  12. Being cozy and warm when it’s cold
  13. Great teachers and mentors
  14. Time to journal
  15. Inspiration from others
  16. Clean water
  17. Making my bed in the morning
  18. Basketball with my dad and brother
  19. Getting back into my routine
  20. A good night’s rest
  21. Positive people
  22. Exercising for my mental health
  23. Late night ice cream
  24. A clean apartment
  25. The here and now

As always, check out my first blog 25 Things I’m Grateful For (#1) to know why I’m writing this list and why I want you to start yours.

ATTN: Make sure you check out my current giveaway! See how you can give back with gratitude. From now until the start of December.

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