I'll never forget the day I found out that if I wanted gas money, I was going to have to get a job and work for it myself.
I was freshly 16 and so mad at my parents. How was I supposed to juggle high school and a job? How was I supposed to keep a social life? How the heck was it fair that everyone else's parents were paying for their gas but I had to work for mine? I had so many questions, but I wanted to drive more than anything, so I begrudgingly applied for my first job.
I'm now 21-years-old, working part-time to afford my college education, and I am so thankful that my parents didn't hand me everything I wanted when I was growing up.
I'm thankful because I learned young what it was like to be proud of yourself.
I learned that getting to work for the things you want and giving them to yourself is a far better feeling than receiving them from anybody else. I learned that people respect you when you're young and you're working, which, in turn, makes you respect yourself even more. I'm thankful because I get to wake up look at all of the things I've earned on my own and feel proud because I did that myself.
I'm thankful because I learned to appreciate every little thing that someone does for me.
Small random acts of kindness from friends and family mean so much more when you aren't handed those things every day. Family offering to help with the cost of gas for the week, friends who buy you lunch, and random gifts mean so much more when you don't get them all the time.
I'm thankful because I learned to show up and work.
I learned independence. I learned that sometimes, you're just going to have to show up to class tired because you worked late. I learned that sometimes, you're going to have to go without. I learned that sometimes, people won't understand, but that's OK because you'll also meet people that do understand. I learned that there will always be people with more than you, but that doesn't make their life any more full than yours.
My parents have spoiled me in ways that money can't buy. They've loved me enough to let me see a little bit of struggle but have always been there to pick me up if I ever needed it. They've stressed work ethic and accountability, which is something I've found that my generation lacks. They've shown me that you don't need to rely on people to do things for you because you can always do it yourself.
I'm thankful because my parents have always given me everything I needed, but not everything I wanted.