I know that Thanksgiving isn't for another week, but my little heart is just overflowing. I woke up this morning blue. A gray day, a little bit of sadness, a lot to do, and some frustration over school-- I just wasn't sure how I was going to make it through the day. But rather than stay in bed, I headed off to school, because I had to go to the gym (my triathlon is this Friday and I can't miss a day of swimming). I'm so grateful for my ipod, because this morning I turned on a talk by one Brent L. Top called "Look up, reach out, hold on"-- a little spiritual pick me up. He gave a beautiful talk on the Savior and gratitude, and a little voice whispered to me, hey, that's what you need to get a little bit closer to God today.
so all day I've done a little experiment-- when I start having a sad or negative thought, I've supplanted it with "I am grateful for..." and just listed things. a hat, warm subway cars, my ipod, people singing in the subway, crunchy dry leaves, friends who say nice things over gchat, words of wisdom, disarmament, NYTimes online, cell phone, family, the Atonement, that I can go to school, learning things I didn't know, fingers that can feel the pull of water, eyes that work pretty well, pants, cute mexican man with an accordian, my spearmint lotion I keep at the gym, wood floors, a capstone team that works well together, communication, memories of touch, lights that aren't too bright...
It's a random assortment of things, and I actually made a list on an index card. Silly perhaps, but it was just what I needed today, to feel a little grateful, to start noticing the great things around me again. I've forgotten some of my wonder at the city as winter comes and the semester gets so busy. I'm feeling more connected, a little bit closer to important things. I think this was a blessing, because I just found out that my roommates father died. She has a brother who lives really close by, which is wonderful because they can spend this sad time together. My heart goes out to them, but it is amazing to hear how positive and at peace they are right now. Gratitude for family, gratitude for friends, gratitude for life, each of these special days we have.
Tomorrow is Election Day. I've been talking to people today, and everyone seems to feel it in the air. Do you feel it? There is an excitement, energy, fear, anxiety-- a thrill that something BIG is going to happen tomorrow, and our world will change. It'll change no matter who you vote for. It's exciting for so many reasons-- we will finally be done with President Bush, we've had an exciting campaign, I've been reading about this every day since last September... Oh, and I'm now an AMERICAN CITIZEN, so I care more. Of course, my interview occurred two weeks after the New York voter registration deadline, so I can't vote, but I still care, and I've tried to do my civic duty by campaigning for my candidate of choice (I'm sure you can't guess who it is). I still have my swearing in to go to sometime in December, and I'll keep you posted on my citizenshipness.
So, my plug for you. Please, please, please don't forget to vote. This is an exciting day and an exciting time. Go to the polls, take a book and a snack and get ready to stand in line with your fellow Americans. If you are still on the fence, let me just put a little plug in for Obama.
About two years ago, I read Obama's book The Audacity of Hope. I hadn't heard much about him except that this junior senator from Illinois was planning on running for president. I knew nothing about him, and I was so disillusioned by the current administration that I was planning on waiting until after this election before applying for my U.S. citizenship. Yeah, it was a book by a politician, but it was surprisingly beautiful and optimistic. I found myself really wishing that this man with his ideas could be president, while at the same time scolding myself for getting so inspired by idealism, which we all know doesn't work in Washington. Fast forward to last fall, one evening in Washington Square Park. Obama came to speak to the students. It was a typical stump speech about the things he planned to do as president, but something about it wasn't so typical. I can't remember what exactly he said, but the feeling there was pure energy, positive energy, that ALL OF US were involved in this. It was exciting and he was inspiring. That was when I really decided that I wanted to become a citizen. I love this country, I love living here, and there are so many great things about it. But in the last few years it was a struggle for me to want to identify with it. Hearing Obama speak triggered something in me-- something that made me really proud to be here, made me believe that being American is what I want it to be, it doesn't have to be George W. Bush's America. It can be Barack Obama's America, it can be any America and as a citizen I would have the opportunity to help make it the America that I want it to be. And he continues to trigger that same thing every time I hear him speak.
I wasn't planning on getting so sentimental, and I planned on writing about Obama's policies and why I agree with them more than John McCain's. But it's getting late, and I really AM feeling emotional about it, and I still have reading to do and tomorrow is a big day, and you've all had the opportunity to read/listen/watch to your heart's content. I will just leave you with the headlines: The most important role of the president of the United States is as its representative. The job of the president is to represent this country in the international arena, to make wise, well-thought out decisions, to be a real leader at home and abroad. When it comes to creating policies, Congress has more power there. I think that Obama will represent this country well. He'll surround himself with wise advisers, and make informed decisions. That's not to say he won't make mistakes because I'm sure that he will, but I think that he will be a smart president, and heaven knows, we need a smart president who is willing to deal with the tough times ahead for this country. YES WE CAN.
What are we all going to do once this campaign is over? What will we read? What will the journalists report on? Will productivity suddenly increase in the workplace? Will people start talking to each other across party lines again? Thank heavens for YouTube so we can watch Tina Fey's Sarah Palin on SNL over and over and over again.
For some pictures of other Obama supporters (much cuter than I), go here.