Tomorrow is my birthday. The completion of another year of life tends to make me reflective, so in the spirit of appreciating life, love, and food, let me state emphatically that I have much for which to be grateful. This year, however, has been a hard year for me. It is best summed up in one word: REJECTION. My grant application was rejected, one of my papers was rejected, and I was rejected by a man. The first two make me sad, but that last one angers me! I have had very few unequivocal successes this year, which makes me wonder how I find the motivation to get out of bed every day and try again. I know what gets me out of bed: it's that morning coffee or tea! After that, I can't go back to bed, so I figure I might as well give my graduate student life another chance. And it does pay the bills, which lets me drink more coffee and tea, thereby making me happy. It's one big, caffeine-fueled loop.
But I have things besides delicious caffeinated beverages for which to be thankful, including:
* My niece, Lydia, whose smile and spunk makes me happy to be alive.
* All of my family, both given and chosen.
* Love, enduring and newfound.
* My graduate advisor, who continues to believe in me and the work we are doing when I have all but lost hope.
* The lessons graduate school has taught me, including patience, humility, and sheer determination. I think that by the time I finish my Ph.D., I will feel like I can climb any mountain, conquer any challenge. These past four years in graduate school have been among the most difficult years of my life.
* My fellow food bloggers, who inspire me to cook and eat well and share their recipes and advice with joy and generosity.
* Life, Love, and Food, which has filled a void in my life that I didn't realize existed until I started writing more seriously. Writing this blog for the past six months has brought me great pleasure, and it has become an integral part of my life.
* Readers of Life, Love, and Food, real or imagined. There might just be two of you out there (hello and hello!), but nonetheless, I continue to write because I like to write. If you keep coming back to my humble blog, I must be spinning words that you like to read. For all of my readers who are related to me or who are friends who feel obligated to read, thank you for not laughing at me as I started writing this blog and sharing my dream of becoming a food writer and cookbook author. It's true that one does not need a Ph.D. in neuroscience to write about food, but your support of my dreams, no matter how far they may be from my reality right now, has meant everything to me.
* Finally, I am grateful for the abundance of laughter, love, and great food that sustains me through the darkest days of November and graduate school. Nothing makes me happier than sharing food with wonderful people, and I am blessed in the act of sharing and the act of remembering these wonderful times.
May your darkest days of the year be filled with happiness, joy, and peace!