‘Tis the season for mustard color clothing, pumpkins, cuddling, flannels, comfort food and wine. Ok, every season is for comfort food and wine, but with the holidays looming in the air we take this time to reflect on the passing year and our #blessings.  So what comes to mind when you consider this year? What are you most thankful for? Is it your family? Your house? Security? Safety?

      Most of us tend to, first and foremost, give appreciation to the tangible things at hand, and rightfully so. There is no way I would be here without my mothers love or hard work, my friends ability to keep me sane or the comfy bed I get to come home to, with an unnecessarily expensive Anthropology duvet.  All of those, without a doubt (except maybe one), are reasons to be grateful. But as l continue to count my blessings for all of my material belongings, I also recognize that there are so many intrinsic ideas that I should be thankful for as well.

      What are some inherent ideas or moments that have shaped who you are today? Can you reflect on what those could be and how they may affect you?

      Health is one of those essential things that I take for granted. Being alive, being able to see and move is so innate, that I often don’t appreciate just how lucky I am to encompass my well- being. Nevertheless, I grew up in a Russian family, where every celebratory toast is rooted in the value of health so with that, and my continuous yoga attendance, I try to simply be thankful for my breath. 

     Still, that is not always so easy to do. When my herniated disks act up, or when my cramps are so bad that I just want to stay home, eat and complain, and eat and complain (I mastered this cycle). It is a struggle to remind myself to recognize the fact that I am MF alive! And if that doesn’t help I remind myself I’m also surrounded by incredible people that are constantly inspiring me with their will to persevere! The love of my life is my grandma, who at the age of 87 acts like she is a young 55. Her will to live galvanizes my every fiber and prompts me to just be present every day and every moment that I have on this earth, especially with her in it!

     I truly believe that self-awareness is imperative to living a happy life. 

     So look around; where are you currently living? Are you far away from your childhood home? Are you in it right now? How has where you grew up and where you are now impacted you? What does your journey look like and what can you be thankful for?

     I came to LA on a whim, like a literal whim, six years ago. I had zero clue what I was doing, but I had an irrational idea of success, and I went with it. I had never been to LA before I moved nor did I have any friends or family in town. If you asked me to make the same move today, I simply wouldn’t. I would attach so much rationality, and worry and common sense that I would inevitably decide against it. Nevertheless, it was the best dumb decision I have ever made. See, some of those really dumb decisions pay off! Rarely, but hey!

      Not only am I so thankful to be exactly where I am right now, I am thankful for the treacherous journey that got me here. Coincidentally, or not, my first year in LA was probably one of the worst years in my adulthood. Yet without those tears I wouldn’t have lost all the weight I gained, exploring all of the fast food chains on the west coast I only saw in commercials before. 

    And more importantly, I wouldn’t be who I am today. And despite all, I like who I am right now. Sure, I make bad decisions here and there, and sure all of my “yes friends” don’t help. But I am so thankful that I have had all these years, and all this room to grow and make mistakes to end up where I am now. Sure, I’m not a millionaire yet, but I’m thoroughly and unapologetically myself and I’m ok with that!

     Can you think of a similar situation in which you were at your worst physically or mentally that maybe turned out to be a learning experience? Or maybe you are in that space now? Maybe you can even be grateful for whatever shitty circumstances you find yourself in. Sure, it’s easy to say that on the other side, but more often than not, negative situations really do make you a better human being at the end.

      Those of us who are on the bright side of that space now know that without being in the dark you cannot appreciate the light. You learn so much about yourself and about the relationships you are in when you find yourself in a negative place. You gain friends, you lose them, and sometimes you grow apart. But growing apart is still growing! We are impacted by our work, by the people we meet, and by the lifestyle we live. The boy you dreamed of marrying in HS is no longer the man that you want, and that is ok! Your life is a cycle and as long as there is movement, there will be a new and exciting journey that follows!

    Nothing is worse than a mundane existence with no experience or growth. So try to be thankful for all that this world has to offer you! 

     I can honestly say I’m so grateful for all of the bumps and bruises. But fuck I bruise and scar easily-for real though. 



1 comment

Todd Banks

Todd Banks


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