Enjoying: 17 Things I'm Thankful For in 2017

I gave you a recipe, and now you're gonna have to hear me feelings-blog.

My friend Kim's Thankfulness Turkey, which was some awesome drag queen realness.

My friend Kim's Thankfulness Turkey, which was some awesome drag queen realness.

I'm getting sentimental in my start-of-middle-age. And this year has politically been one of so much non-stop insanity that I'm kind of amazed we're all still alive. I suppose it's a testament to the adaptability of the human spirit - we find ways (hopefully) to move beyond the outrage once we get used to the outrageous happening every week. The levels of dismay have retreated to a slow-burn as we process and then battle say, lifting bans on killing hibernating bears or the FCC dismantling Net Neutrality.

Which is why instead of continuing my normal tradition of raging against colonialism this Thanksgiving, I felt really compelled to actually list things I was thankful for (which then took me a good two weeks to finish because work/life got in the way - look, the thankfulness season really ought to extend at least until Christmas anyway, right?).

Well okay - allow me a little rage against colonialism. While you're eating your heart out on this day of completely fictional American myth-making, consider donating some thoughts & prayers (read: cash) to these two causes:

  1. The Puerto Rico Community Foundation, which is working its butt off to provide relief to the Puerto Rican citizens still suffering after Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rico has already been subject to a lot of bull even before the natural disaster hit, and to have its situation rubbed in its face by the people in government who can't even pretend they care about it is so so so infuriating.
  2. The Native American Rights Fund, which last year was busy protecting people protesting the Keystone Pipeline (that which recently leaked, just as all the protesters said it would) placement through protected lands of South Dakota. This year, they're still busy protecting things like Native rights to vote, rights to the land under their treaties, and all those other things that you're kind of baffled to hear they still have to fight for in 2017.

Cool! Now back to sentimentality. Cue a Dean Martin song or something.


17 Things I'm Thankful For in 2017

1. A strong supportive network of friends both online and in real life.

I'm consistently amazed by the folks I've lucked into surrounding myself with. Their compassion, their creativity and their willingness to connect. There's been studies alleging that it's harder to develop deep friendships the older you get, but I feel like I've been living in an opposite case scenario. The more I've ventured into the world, the more people I've found to truly cherish.

2. A livable++ base income

It's disingenuous to pretend that money doesn't matter. This livable++ situation could change at any time, but these last years working a corporate gig, I've realised that if there's one thing I've been able to be super calm about, it's been my savings. That I can comfortably give to the causes I care about is something not to be understated or underestimated and damn it, everyone who IS this comfortable ought to be fighting to make sure everyone else can get to it too.

3. That somehow, finally, a conversation about sexual harassment stuck around. 

4. The lack of toxicity in my workstream.

I joke sometimes that the agency I work for is kind of boring, with how respectful, non-hierarchical and generally chill everyone seems to act towards each other. And then I meet someone from somewhere else and hear the horror stories of the snide comments their bosses will say to them because they're working mothers or whatever, and I'm like "oh, this is actually something I shouldn't even joke complain about." 

5.Yin Yoga and finally being able to touch my toes

Y'all don't even know how inflexible these joints are. I wasn't able to reach my toes from a legs-straight standing position until THIS MONTH. I attribute this achievement to about six months of various types of yoga, but the MVP has to be Yin... maybe because it's so slow and gentle and relaxing and easy that it's the first yoga class I've been to where 75 minutes fly by. 

...Who knew this was basically the color my hair was waiting for?

...Who knew this was basically the color my hair was waiting for?

6. Everyone in my family seems to be healthy, happy and having things in general work out for them.

7. Going blonde!

8. Being single again and feeling much less lonely than I was when I was coupled up.

9. Being single in the age of Tinder.

Yes, swiping left a thousand times before you find anyone even barely worth a right can get disheartening. Yes, the conversations are mostly so boring you wish often that someone would be mean to you just so you don't have to see another "haha hey." Yes, I do wonder what "too much choice" means for all of our ability to actually settle down in the future. But also - was the old way really that great? 

Like, when we talk about the commodification of dating, wasn't that what it was anyway - only with choices artificially limited for the female half by slut shaming and virtue signaling? Or if we are to make it a bit more modern, what's so bad about Tinder that wasn't bad about meeting a random guy at a bar, or at some hobby meet up, or through friends, or - egads - through your parents? Maybe I want to know before a date that a dude is "not into gay shit" or thinks traditional gender roles should be upheld or read Ayn Rand and identified with it. Maybe I like my hobbies enough to not want to make it weird with the dudes hanging out with me in it. Maybe my friends and family have their own agendas, and have proven pretty terrible at setting me up with anyone I'd find interesting, and get super disappointed in me when I end up nope-ing out of there and make snide remarks about my standards keeping me alone forever as if being with someone is way more important than being with someone compatible.

Anyway, sure, Tinder is filled with trash. So is the rest of life.

10. Speaking of apps, the Insight Timer Meditation app

2016 me was pretty cynical about meditation. 2017 me found this app super helpful to go to sleep without the crutch of a depressant. Turns out listening to throaty voices serenely croon about relaxing specific muscle groups in your body while feeling your consciousness float up into the sky is a better (or at least healthier) way to doze off than several glasses of whiskey.

11. Rediscovering a love for paper books.

12. Cooking Level Unlocked: Making delish dishes from whatever I find in my fridge.

13. Two specific Youtube channels that have given me LIFE recently:

UNHhhh (now the Trixie & Katya show), which has made me cry laugh for hours.

Dogen, a gaijin guy and his perfect Japanese and perfect satires of Japanese life, who's rekindled my own desire to maybe 勉強 a bit more. 

14. Learning about fasting.

Which probably deserves its own post. But basically, I've been experimenting with days where I just drink lightly salted water and it's led to some incredible revelations in terms of health and weight control.


It's not for everyone, but I strongly advise people to at least look into it, either with Lean Gains or 5:2 to start. Assuming you have a relatively healthy relationship with food already, it's shocking how free you feel when you realize you can go several days - hell, I've gone a full week - without it.


15. Podcasting

Both in terms of how many I listen to now, and in terms of now how we have our own. This is also something that probably deserves its own blog, which I'll do soon, I promise!

But in the meantime, if you've ever wanted to hear what I (and Jessica, my co-blogger on the recent 11.11 spectacle) sound like in real life, especially as we're walking you through the politics and news stories related to China's hit television series 人民的名义 (In the Name of the People), subscribe to us at rmdmypod.podiant.co

16. Whatever Asian genes I have that are keeping me looking like a teen into my 30s

This is not so much a brag as it is an acknowledgement of a privilege. I know that one of the things keeping whatever 30s+ anxiety women tend to feel at bay right now is that my skin has yet to wrinkle. I know THAT'S some patriarchal bullshit, but it's also bullshit that I haven't yet had to confront and wrestle with. Plus, when you basically look not a day into 23, it's much easier to party like you're not a day into 23.

17. Shanghaiist.com

In November, thanks much to Joe Rickett's intense distaste for unionization, Shanghaiist.com was presumed lost alongside the whole of the Gothamist LLC ship. It was incredibly touching to see the outpouring of grief and support for something that I'd dedicated over two years to manning. 

Luckily, Shanghaiist's fate wasn't nearly as tied to Gothamist as you'd believe, and this turned out to be just a brush with death rather than an actual one. Alongside our other international sister sites, Londonist and Torontoist, we were spared the axe because technically, Gothamist didn't really own us. Or I guess I should say "own them." Boy is it weird to have your identity still kind of tied up to a job you haven't done in six years. 

In any case, my heart's been warmed and my desire to blog has been rekindled, and whenever Shanghaiist gets that Kickstarter it's supposed to do up, I'll be excited to donate to keep it alive. I'm thankful it existed and continues to exist.