I love Thanksgiving as a holiday. I kind of prefer to to Christmas. As a kid, my Christmases always seemed to be hit or miss. One year we’d have decent gifts or go to South Carolina to celebrate with my grandparents. The next, we’d have really crappy gifts because my parents had to save for things that were more important, or just didn’t have the cash. But Thanksgiving? Food was always there. Family (and occasionally friends) were always around. It was the one holiday I was always happy to come home from Purdue for.
As an adult, I haven’t spent as much time with my family for Thanksgiving as I’d like. Mostly due to geography and the cost of traversing it, I find other ways to enjoy the holiday. Once I started dating Kelsey, I spent most Thanksgivings with her family. Before that, I would spend it with friends (and occasionally at the closest IHOP). Last year, I got the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with my immediate family, my Uncle Carlo and aunt Linda, Kelsey, and my future brother in law at a large lakeside house in South Carolina thanks to AirBnB and the remnants of my grandfathers estate. My grandfather, Charles, passed away early last year and this was to be something of a ‘goodbye’…we used the last of his estate money (he died with a large number of debts so most of the cash went to that) to fund a fun time for the family-something he would have been all about. It was amazing, much like most of my 2017 (Bluepoint was awesome, I saw Metallica in a huge Stadium in Philly, I made a lot of money, etc).
2018 has been a year of give and take, and Thanksgiving is no exception. I have not had a bad year by any means, but it hasn’t been ideal. That is a bit how this Thanksgiving feels to me. It is absolutely not bad! But it’s not what I consider my ideal holiday and it correlates a bit with how 2018 hasn’t been an ideal year.
- I got engaged to Kelsey, and we’re getting married next year. I am very excited!
- I think I fully came into my own as a professor.
- My freelance work was slow most of 2018 until I found a Chinese VR client.
- Unfortunately that VR client and I had…issues (sorry can’t really recount all of that here). I got what I was owed in the end, but it took A LOT of work and some unintended reactions.
- The stress and pain of that situation, in addition to the prospect of taking too much at Drexel pushed me to find full time work.
- Which I DID! I’m an employee now!
- But that job requires a 90 minute commute one way via public transit, and isn’t in my ideal industry.
- But I did find time to do art on the commute on my Laptop!
- Which did cost me another $1200 bucks. Definitely worth it though.
- Kelsey and I got a puppy! Summer is the best.
- But she requires a lot of work since she is smart and high energy. This is both good and bad depending on how tired I am.
2018 is a year of give and take and take and give. Everything good is balanced by something that isn’t ideal. Which brings me Thanksgiving 2018.
I am having it here in Philly by myself, with Summer. This is directly due to needing to save up vacation days to use on my upcoming honeymoon because Dreamline, where I work, isn’t terribly forward thinking with how they deal with vacation. If this wasn’t the case, I’d be in Allentown with Kelsey’s family right now more than likely, or with my dad in Indiana as my mom is working this Thanksgiving. See, more give and take no matter what. Welcome to 2018.
While it might sound like I’m bitching, I’m really not. The way this year and this holiday has worked out is just another step in building character and becoming a better, stronger, version of myself. I have a lot to be thankful for and even more things to be thankful for in the future. Today will be relaxing, filled with food (I wanted to cook today), and a good day of some light self reflection. It’s a bit difficult to reflect like that when you’re surrounded with loved ones.
What I am thankful for t’day.
- Kelsey. She has enriched my life in many ways, and in many ways I never imagined. I never thought the life I have now and the life I have to look forward to would be reality. This isn’t what I saw for myself at 24…but 24 year old Dan didn’t know what he’d be missing out on. Love you babe.
- The Creative Team at Dreamline. I’m not close with a lot of them, but they are entertaining as hell. Add to that my boss (he’s chill most of the time) and they help make what would be a little bit of a more plain job have some character.
- Kelsey again for backing me up on purchasing my laptop. It’s made my commute and thus my life 10x better. I now spend 2(ish) hours a day during the week doing 3D on the train. It’s been one of the best purchases I’ve made.
- The Gametextures team. I’m glad I know y’all.
- All of my game industry buddies. I’ll be back in form or another…
- My co-best men, Tom Sandquist and my brother Andrew. Two sides of similar coins (Tom knows life and responsibility while my brother is a headstrong artist like I once was and still am in some respects), I am more and more glad daily that I picked the two of them to be my best men.
- Honorable, fun mentions: DBZ Abridged, Madden 2017, the amazing games that came out this year I managed to play (Spider-Man and God of War), Rocket League (but also NOT), Sony for making the PSVita all those years ago, anyone who funds indie devs (you may hear from me in the future), Eli Manning, Epic Games (except for that whole Paragon closing thing), and Deschutes Brewery for more or less sponsoring my Thanksgiving Meal by having your beer (mostly) easy to find in Philly.
Sometimes at 4AM, I am frustrated by life. But I have a lot to be thankful for when it’s not 4AM.
Happy Thanksgiving no matter where you are.