Errr, yeah. I just used a hashtag in my title. I have always made a conscious decision not to do that up to this point, but let me explain. My friend Jamie wrote earlier this year on Facebook that she is committing to “using gratitude as her internal compass” and I just absolutely loved that. Ever since then, we’ve been referring to our duo was Team Gratitude, often using it in hashtags like #teamgratitudegoesbaking for that one time we made lemon sugar cookies.
Anyway. What I really wanted to write about is how much I appreciate my friends, Jamie being one of them. Let me first start by saying that if you don’t follow Jamie on Instagram, I think you should. Her pictures are always pretty but it’s the captions that really get me. She posts pictures of walks to classes, trips to New York, restaurant visits… but laced in all of those pictures is always a narrative of discovery, reflection and gratitude. For example, she wrote the following caption here:
“in the moments of stillness and solitude today—including on my walk home on locust—I thought about the deep level of gratitude I have for the people I am fortunate to surround myself with: the ones who are effusive with their appreciation and approval, generous with their time and company, and magnanimous in their acceptance of my shortcomings and flaws.”
I’ve also been lucky enough to be the subject of her posts a couple of times and I guess what I want to say here is that I feel so grateful to have a friend who so freely expresses her gratitude and appreciation of the effort I put into our relationship. It’s something I realised doesn’t come as a given at all, something I absolutely cannot take for granted.
Jamie and I were hanging out in my room last night after she so nicely agreed to come over and help me eat some of my tiny potato gratins. She loved it so much she literally took a picture of it and wanted to post it on Instagram. A little later, I posted something on Facebook and I see that she gets notifications for whenever I publish something. I don’t even know how to fully express how taken aback I was?? I mean, Jamie’s great—she always listens to me without judgement and I think we’re so similar in a lot of ways so I like how easy it is for us to relate to each other but beyond that… I never really pay much thought to being appreciated by anyone (unless it gets to the point where I feel so unappreciated) so seeing her being that interested in me and what I do/say felt really nice. I’ve been seeing her every day for the past few days and honestly, it just makes me so happy every single time.
Another person I really want to give a huge shoutout to is Clare, who stands as one of the first friends I made at Penn because we were freshman year hallmates. That in and of itself is already a huge thing for me to be grateful for because there’s nothing more comforting to a lost and lonely freshman on a Friday night than another lost and lonely freshman to commiserate with. Apart from that, I would’ve never had the guts to take the creative writing class I took last semester (which ended up being one my favourite experiences/classes at Penn) and never would have heard about the Penn Perspectives lecture series if it wasn’t for her. So there’s also that!
But Clare and I had brunch yesterday morning at South Street and I just, oh my god, it just made me so much more grateful that we were put on the same hall in the Quad over 3 years ago. Clare is an English major and she’s writing her thesis on aspiring journalists who grew up watching Rory Gilmore on Gilmore Girls, which is really cool to hear about. Also, she’s into screenwriting and wants to go into film as a career and I just get really excited every time she talks about what she’s working on and what she wants to do, just like she gets excited listening to me talk about my projects and ideas. She was talking to me yesterday about how she’s trying to internalise the idea that we need to give ourselves more permission instead of barriers to make the things we want to make. I know she said that with the full knowledge that I, like her, often sell myself short. It’s just so invigorating to have a friend who’s ambitious and always growing but who is, at the same time, tugging me along.
Oh, it also is worth noting that I’m deeply thankful for Clare who shares both my sadness over Vine closing down and my enthusiasm for highly-relatable Tumblr quotes.
This week gave me a lot to be grateful for, truthfully. I’ve been thinking about how it’s not just my friends at Penn who’ve shaped my experiences—I am genuinely grateful to every person who has, even in the littlest ways. Like, on Thursday, after a long 3-hour class, my friends and I took a Lyft over to Center City to go see the Mask and Wig spring show. They’re a musical comedy troupe and their shows are so good. This is the third time I’ve seen one of their shows and it just never disappoints. The script was hilarious, the songs were catchy and the story was heart warming and riveting. The whole time I was watching, I couldn’t help thinking about how these guys are also taking a full course load, looking for jobs and managing all the other extracurriculars they have. I’ve said this before but the amount of talent I’ve seen at Penn will just never fail to blow me away. Sometimes you (or, at least, I) forget what a vibrant campus you’re a part of because you’re so buried in your own workload. Ken, Hui Jie, May May and I had a lot of fun at the show that night and we’re thankful for these experiences.
This isn’t to say that only my Penn friends deserve praise. I spent a good amount of time on Friday night talking to my friend Nadia on WhatsApp. I’ve been so curious about her job at Nelissa Hilman and I totally respect her decision to not go down the more typical corporate life route despite studying business and being pressured to by her parents. It was so cool to hear her talk about her experience working there and her dreams for the future. I think this is true for most people, but I find it very difficult to not be interested and excited listening to someone who is excited about something they really care about. She was also super supportive of me and my current state of exploration job-wise and it was so heart-warming to see her be so excited to listen to my plans/hopes for my future. It’s just one of those moments when you’re like, this is what we need more of!!! Girls supporting girls and their dreams!!! I. am. all. for. it.
Nadia and I have only met like a handful of times really (twice, I think?)—we know each other primarily through Twitter and Instagram over the years I guess, so I have to say, I really appreciate how a virtual relationship can sometimes carry over into a real life one and all the effort it takes from both people for that to happen. Also, Nadia, if you’re reading this, (and I know you are, because you are just the most supportive and just best freakin’ blog reader anyone could ever have in their life lol) I promise I didn’t just write this because you wrote a similar thing on your blog!!! Hahaha. I saw what you wrote and I was like “oh well, guess she beat me to it”.
Ok anyway. This is now at least 20 minutes late because it’s already Monday of the next week so I’m sorry and I’ll cut short my sappiness. I know it’s cheesy as hell and probably not that interesting for you to read if you weren’t mentioned here, haha, but over the years I’ve come to realise that some of the things I value highly in relationships don’t always come easy with every person I meet and when I see them in the friendships I do have, I just revel in it.