[Editors's Note: This is the latest installment from former 'Survivor' winner Jenna Morasca as she chronicles her supporting role in boyfriend and fellow 'Survivor' winner Ethan Zohn's battle with cancer.]
With Thanksgiving upon us, I could go the route of saying, “Ugh thanks for nothing. What the heck should I be thankful for right now?” But that’s not me. Thinking that way would not help me, so why bother?
One thing I have come to see this year is that sometimes the things that challenge us the most are also the things that teach us the most, and are thus the best for us. I’m thankful for learning that. Some people don’t and it makes them very bitter. And hey, I’m one of those people who believe life should be as sweet as you can make it.
In light of that, let me say no matter how tough things can get – and I know so many folks these days are going through tough times of one kind or another – there are always things to be thankful for. I think the more we focus on the things we are grateful for the more we find ourselves focusing on happy, positive thoughts.
Below I made a list of the 25 things I am thankful for. I encourage you to also make your list. It doesn’t have to be 25 things. If you’re having a rough year, it can be two things. Some days I’m more than happy if I can think of two things, you know what I mean? The main point is to recognize the good in your life even if it is small.
So here are the things (and people) for which I give thanks:
0. Ethan. I know it’s really obvious that he would be on my list and that’s why I put him at 0. I just need to honor and acknowledge the fact that Ethan has brought so many wonderful gifts into my life and opened my eyes to new cultures new ways to see the world. Most of all he has taught me that love really can conquer all. This is my small tribute to him.
1. Friends (duh!). What would life be without friends to help you balance it?
2. Family (double duh!!). Even though they may annoy us sometimes their unwavering love is priceless.
3. Candy. Oh nothing makes me feel better than a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cupcake from Eleni’s.
4. Animals/Dogs/Rocky. Animals make me so happy it’s hard to describe. Many times I just go and sit and the local dog park and smile for hours. I can’t forget to mention my dog Rocky and our new fish Lu and Algien and our albino frogs, Andre and Snatch.
5. Naps. Taking a nap in the middle of the day is AWESOME!
6. Reality TV. Yes I watch ‘Girls Next Door’, ‘Rock of Love’, ‘Survivor’, ‘Big Brother’, etc. and I’m not afraid to admit it.
7. Twitter/Facebook. I am almost embarrassed to write this, but I do enjoy the invasion of privacy aspect (Facebook stalking anyone?).
8. Monopoly. Mostly because I am undefeated. No one has EVER beaten me. If you think you can, bring it on.
9. Christmas. I mean it’s the most wonderful time of the year. I live all year for that one day!
10. Disneyworld. I can go there every year for the rest of my life and it will never get old. (Sorry, Ethan, you have many more trips in store for you).
11. Memoirs. Mostly memoirs about people who were in the sex industry or addicted to drugs. Reading them is like stepping into their lives- very compelling without the commitment.
12. NYC. It’s the best city in the world and I would never want to live anywhere else. Where else can you do anything and eat anything you want at ANY time of the day or night?
13. My dad’s house at the holidays. He decorates the house like something out of a National Lampoon movie. It’s amazing.
14. Tinkerbell. She’s the first sexy, saucy Disney character. You go girl!
15. Vacation on a tropical island. I love nothing more than being in my bikini on the beach, reading a book, with tropical windblown hair and a tan face- JOY!
16. Laughing. To me, laughing is as vital as air. I love laughing so hard that I cannot get a hold of myself, cannot breathe, and almost feel like peeing my pants. That’s the best laughing in the world.
17. QVC. I know your laughing at me right now. But QVC at the holidays is so much fun. As we mentioned in # 9 I am obsessed with Christmas and QVC at Christmas time is like a junkies dream. All I do is watch all day and buy WAY too many presents that no one will ever use. I mostly lean toward the holiday candles.
18. Real Housewives of Orange County. The original gangsters of the burbs. Love these crazy bitches.
19. Any spa treatment. I’m so not picky. Any massage, facial, or peel will do.
20. S Factor (www.sfactor.com). This is the ONLY thing that allowed me to get back into shape after playing ‘Survivor’ and it has changed my life. It’s my “therapy” and exercise each week, but more importantly, I met the most amazing group of girls there.
21. Alone time. Sometimes just being alone and spending time with yourself can be very powerful.
22. Gossip magazines. I like gossip magazines, but I really only look at the pictures (there I said it).
23. Exercise. Nothing makes me feel better about myself then getting out and getting some exercise even if its only for 30 minutes.
24. My birthday. It’s the one-day of the year I make all about me, and I love it.
25. Life. Life can be unpredictable, ugly, scary, and amazing but its one big journey that provides us with the chance to learn and I use every experience as just that.
Take time this holiday to make a list of things you are thankful for, then tuck it away and bring it out every time you are doubting life or the path it is taking you on. There are always things to be grateful for.