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I Am Thankful For My Friends Essay

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. The other ones are weird religious inventions or consumerized hijackings of religious inventions. And sure, the origins of thanksgiving are a bit murky, but it's hard to argue with such a simple holiday: spend some time with your family and/or friends, and be thankful.

I especially like that it's about appreciating what we already have, taking a break from the distraction of every day life, and thinking about all of the good things that make it up.

Today, as I spend time with some of them, I've been thinking about how thankful I am for my family. I've always gotten along really well with my family, but since most of them were around by the time I was born, I'm sure I have a tendency to take them for granted. As a kid I always just assumed that everyone had a great family and that their family was behind them supporting them all the time. Then, as I grew up, I saw situations where that wasn't the case, and I realized how good I have it.

I have three fantastic siblings, any or all of whom I enjoy spending unlimited time with. We each live in different cities now, but when we're together it's like we're best friends. Besides a scuffle over a plastic ninja sword as a kid, I can't think of a single fight I've had with any of them.

As my siblings have grown up to become three extremely capable and independent individuals, each completely different, I've become increasingly awed by my parents. I have no idea how they did such an amazing job as parents, supporting everyone and pushing them in a positive direction, yet leaving room for individuality to sprout. It's intimidating, actually, because I'll be a parent some day, and they've set the bar high.

My parents divorced a couple years back, and both remarried. That process often ends in disaster, but both of them picked great new spouses, so the family I was already so grateful to have expanded to be even better. I go on a lot of trips every year, but some of my favorites are low-key ones where I visit my parents and step parents.

And really, my immediate family is just the tip of the iceberg. I'm close with cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents as well, each of whom I'm immeasurably thankful to have in my life.

I was having breakfast a couple months ago with a good friend, who isn't as close with her family. She told me that she felt like she had made her own family out of her friends. And at that moment, I realized that, including her, I was doubly lucky to have a family of amazing friends. The purpose of a family is to have a group of people who are unconditionally rooting for you, love you, and are always on your team. That's how I feel about my friends, too.

Anyway, what I'm most thankful for today is my family, from my parents and siblings all the way to my friends. It's easy to take full credit for all of the great things that happen in my life, but I know that all of those things were primarily made possible because I've always had the support and love of my family.

So, happy thanksgiving, and here's hoping you have a lot to be thankful for as well, and that you got a chance to stop and reflect on those things.

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Photo is an amazing banner my step-niece made. You might be surprised to learn that she didn't need any help on the spelling.

Very thankful to have you as a reader, as well!

For the longest time, I was only able to get the supporting role in life. And though you may be thinking, “I didn’t know Safa was an actress," well, I’m not. I literally mean that I always focused on helping others and making them happy for the first 13 years of my life. As the years passed, nothing of significance appeared to stand out in my memories, only glimpses of amusement parks and birthday parties.

Perhaps it was because my long-term memory is weak, or maybe those years were blurry because I didn't focus on myself. When I looked at others, I even saw them as bystanders in their own stories. Other friends tell me that they remember most of their childhood adventures clearly, but I can't say the same because my brain didn't mark my childhood as something that I played a significant role in.

Thankfully, I can tell you that every moment of the last three years is crystal clear because of the precious friends I've made in high school, especially my five best friends. These girls have given me the motivation to become a better person for myself and for others. I used to want to live a "normal" life and only engage in necessary activities but nowadays, I find myself wanting to do more, to do things that I'm interested in and wanting to invest myself in.

When I was younger, I loved writing about anything, and I even won second place in the Reflections Contest in middle school. This year, I joined Odyssey because I wanted to revive the girl who always passionately transferred her words to paper, regardless of the topic. I've started reading books for my enjoyment again, rather than simply for school assignments. A few days ago, I picked up "Coma" by Robin Cooke because I hadn't picked up a medical thriller (my favorite genre) since seventh grade.

There are so many more little things that I've begun to do that bring me joy in the midst of my overwhelming exams and assignments, all thanks to my supportive friends who inspire me and remind me that it's okay to indulge in myself.

Neha writes beautiful stories for her growing fan-base on Tumblr (I'm her #1 fan).

Divya is a devoted gamer and watches true crime shows.

Michelle uses her marvelous looks and brain to ace math competitions (she isn't a nerd, so get that stereotypical image out of your head).

Tiffany creates amazing digital art and equally amazing paintings (I take pictures of every one of her exhibitions in school).

And Emily does covers on YouTube with her lovely honey voice (I'm also her #1 fan).

Seeing them find time for the things that make them happy motivates me to do the same.

The friend who played the largest part in encouraging me to find myself was the one I made on the first day of ninth grade: Neha Satish. I will always remember those awkward but heartwarming five minutes for the rest of my life. Neha and I were both from different middle schools that didn't feed into our high school, so we didn't know anyone. We had noticed each other in first period, and we had seen each other again during lunch. My dad had come to the front lobby to pick me up at the end of the day, and Neha happened to be passing by to go to her car, too. She suddenly stopped in front of me.

“Do you want to eat lunch together tomorrow?” she asked.

I was startled to say the least, yet I was also elated. And so began our beautiful friendship. Neha knows me more than I know myself. I tell her my secrets and worries, and in return, she provides me with encouragement and comfort. Sometimes, we're the exact same person, and sometimes, we're polar opposites.

I used to be very cautious about my opinions around other people because I didn't want to hurt their feelings or cause disagreements. However, Neha and I have so many different views that we share without triggering each other. She taught me to think that my thoughts and opinions were valuable.

When anyone asks me who my role model is, I would tell them it's Neha Satish (so are you, Mom; don't freak out). Neha is a strong, loyal and reliable friend. She isn't afraid to pursue what she wants, and she knows how to make herself happy. This girl never runs out of motivational quips that always have me drowning in tears and gratitude. Without her, I would still be focused on making others happy and supporting them instead of myself.

When I told her that I wanted to start living a better life for myself, she promised me that she would help me through every step of the way and that she would make sure her shoulder was nearby when I needed someone to lean on. And finally, that she would support my every decision.

To this day, she has never broken that promise.

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