It’s Thanksgiving today, but every day of the year should be a day of thanks.

I am so blessed for the life I have.. an amazing, loving, beyond supportive family… warm bed to snuggle into each night… more than enough food to fill my heart’s content.

I am thankful for the beautiful people who brighten my life with love, joy, laughter and richness. As each day passes, I realize more and more that what matters more than achieving outward success is achieving CHARACTER success. That is, being a good person with a kind heart. I’m grateful for breaking free of my former illusion that hindered me from nurturing my relationships. A life without love is a life not worth living… a lonely, cold, narrow road leading to inevitable emptiness. Having strong meaningful relationships– even just a few– is where true beauty and happiness lie.

I am grateful for having the opportunity to attend UCLA, where, in the next four years, I will undoubtedly expand my mind, challenge myself beyond my comfort,  question former belief systems, build connections,  discover new passions, learn independence and grow in spirit.

I am beyond lucky to be able to pursue my passions for dance, writing and music.

I am grateful for simply being healthy, alive, breathing, and having the opportunity to learn more about myself and grow each day.

I’m grateful for the adversities I’ve endured, as they have done nothing but strengthen and enlighten my character.

I’m grateful for these past two months at UCLA, as I’ve grown immensely in many ways during this rocky transition to adulthood. I’ve learned that no single human being is perfect, and to strive for perfection is to imprison yourself. There is value in imperfection and much to be gained through failure and mistakes. While I am by no means completely liberated from the illusion of perfectionism, I am grateful for being in a place where I’m willing to shift my mindset. To be more accepting of myself when I get anything less than 100% on an exam or paper…when I stumble through an awkward conversation or stutter through my oral presentation… when I forget my jive routine at a dance competition and have to improvise. I’m grateful for being in a place where failure is not seen as an end, but as a stepping stone on the long path to personal growth and achievement. No more will I allow fear of failure or embarrassment hinder me from becoming the person I aspire to be.

And the people I’ve met these past 2 months… I can’t stress enough how amazing it is to be at a university where I’m surrounded by individuals of such talent, character, passion and drive. Each conversation opens the door to a new perspective and story. I am more invigorated than I have been in my life; more motivated to strive for greatness and make each day my masterpiece.

There is evil in this world, and 2016 has seen much. Let us not forget, however, that in this mad world, there is also so much to be happy about and so much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving from me to you ❤