What We’re Grateful For (2021 Edition)
What a year, eh?
I can honestly say that when I led last year’s gratitude post with that sentiment, I didn’t expect it would be relevant again in 2021. But here we are.
Despite everything going on – because of it? – we have much to be grateful for this year. Here are some highlights.
I’m grateful for the new dog my partner and I adopted this year, Echo. He was found roaming the streets of Detroit, and when I saw his picture on Facebook I knew we had to take him home.
Despite having some behavioral issues that we’re still working on, he’s the sweetest little guy you’ll ever meet. We’ve discovered that he has some weird little quirks, too (he LOVES drinking water and rolling in mud), but can tell that he’s going to be a great little brother and lifelong friend to our other dog Cooper.
Echo on the left and Cooper on the right
I’m grateful for my dog, Kylo, and partner, Mat. The pandemic has been and continues to be extremely challenging. But we really enjoy each other’s company and are making some great strides in our professional and personal lives. And plus, we have a really fun – and cute – dog to come home to!
This year I’m grateful for my family. I’m always grateful for them, but this year especially. Between graduating from college, moving to a new city, and starting my career, my parents and brother are always cheering me on.
I am also incredibly thankful for my family’s good health, especially my 91-year-old grandpa and 87-year-old grandma. Thanks to the vaccine, my 60-person family will be able to safely gather to celebrate Thanksgiving.
I'm grateful to have joined the Propllr team. Last year I underwent a major career change, leaving behind all that was familiar to me. Amidst a job loss, two moves, and a few health challenges, I'm grateful to have finally landed somewhere great. Propllr has provided me with an unmatched level of support and community and I couldn't have asked for a better fresh start!
(Most of) The Propllr team this fall
There has been so much this year that I have been grateful for. To a list a few, I’d say:
- Graduating from college
- Joining the Propllr team
- 50-degree weather still happening in November
- My friendships of 10+ years
- My family, always
Things I’m grateful for on a daily (or hourly) basis:
That Crocs are acceptable footwear (considering adding these to my Christmas list).
That my family is healthy and that I get to live three blocks away from my parents.
That I’ve found such a supportive, creative, and kind community in Propllr.
And that my pandemic puppy is now, officially, a pandemic dog.
Libby’s dog, Ezra: one year ago (L) and now (R)
I couldn’t commit to being sincere or being playful (I’m a Gemini) so here’s a little of both!
The sentimental things:
- The Propllr team! So attentive and intelligent and funny. Really grateful for them.
- My friends, for providing comfort in this year of emotional highs and lows.
- My mother, Julie Bradshaw. She’s an icon, what can I say?
The silly things:
- My couch. Easily the best sleeping destination in my apartment (yes, I do have a bed).
- My friends’ pets, for providing comfort in this year of emotional highs and lows.
- My (adult) scooter… okay fine, it’s just a regular Razor scooter but I’m an adult and it is mine. Hence, adult scooter!
It would be wrong of me to not mention how grateful I am for my partner in life and best friend, Sean Butterfield.
When the pandemic started, we were both working remotely from a shoebox-sized studio apartment. And somehow we were able to find comfort and humor in it all. And when we finally moved into a new, slightly bigger shoebox in the city, mid-pandemic, we were grateful to just be able to say we did it and get back to work.
Now, after many many months of working in close quarters with each other, I am more grateful than ever for him. I can confidently say I have a true partner I can lean on. Someone who is willing to bear the weight of the world with me.
Is this a predictable answer? Yes! So, just in case that’s too boring for you, there’s another thing (or group of people, rather) I am eternally grateful for – the unsung digital creation and graphic design heroes who put time into making ambiance videos on YouTube.
Working from home is way cooler when you get to be in the Great Hall at Hogwarts. But if that’s not your speed, just browse the endless categories, chances are you’ll find something you like.
Screenshot of Hogwarts Great Hall ambiance video
This year I’m thankful for my family, friends, health, boyfriend, and the Propllr team. This year has been challenging, for both myself and so many people around me. I’m beyond lucky to be surrounded by incredible, thoughtful and kind people both in my personal and work life and I feel inspired every day. I’m also very thankful for Andy Cohen / The Real Housewives Franchise for giving me constant entertainment, Costco for jumbo sized Rao’s marinara sauce, Orange Theory, and Cousin Greg from Succession.
This year, I’m more thankful than ever for two things: the COVID-19 vaccine and FaceTime.
The speed of this vaccine development has got to be one of the greatest feats in the history of modern medicine. And we all just witnessed that in real time. It’s mind-blowing.
The vaccine allowed my mom, dad, sister, and 75-year-old grandma to safely see me graduate from college in June. A few months later, being vaccinated also made it safe for me to see my sister start her own college journey in Boston.
And FaceTime? I’m glad I’ve been able to get the college deets from Kennedy face to face. But I mostly love how a surprise FaceTime call from me can make my dad’s face light up like a Christmas tree. (Still working on my mom and grandma – they’ve got Androids.)
I'm grateful to have a job I love that I can do safely in a remote setting as the pandemic continues.
On a lighter note, thanks to the Covid-19 vaccine, I got to celebrate the 100th birthday of my partner's grandmother in person over the summer! I'm grateful every day for the health of our families and our access to healthcare.
I’m grateful for my husband Kevin, who makes me laugh every day, usually by mixing up words (today he referred to cheese steak subs as “electric cheese babies”). I’m grateful for my son Malcolm, who is healthy (and perfect).
I’m beyond grateful for my parents and my in-laws (who watch Malcolm when Kevin and I are both working).
And while I would 100 percent not recommend having your first child during a global pandemic, I’m grateful that doing everything from home has given me a lot more time to hang out with Malcolm.
It’s been a hard year, but I’m grateful to still be here.
Brenna's perfect son being perfect
I’m thankful for Dante’s Pizza. I recently moved dangerously close to their Armitage Ave. location, and I have a feeling a steady diet of their slices, garlic bread, and chicken parms will keep me warm this winter.
I’m thankful for crisp fall days, colorful leaves, and scenic walks on the 606 trail with my girlfriend, Cecilia.
I’m thankful for the CTA and its employees. Even though I’ve stopped taking the train to work on a regular basis (absence makes the heart grow fonder), I’ve been taking the bus more frequently and really enjoy the rides. We’re lucky to have great people powering a great public transit system here in Chicago.
I’m thankful for Dark Matter’s Chocolate City, Damn Fine’s Americanos, and Starbucks’ iced shaken espressos (and the talented, friendly baristas who help deliver my caffeine fix). And I’m thankful it's never too cold for iced coffee.
Most of all, I’m thankful for family members, friends, and coworkers who lift me up on my bad days and force smiles or laughing emojis at even my most desperate attempts at humor. Thanks, everyone!
I’m grateful that…
… as the boss, I could procrastinate on my gratitude note without getting in trouble.
… even though we recently lost two talented Propllrheads, they each left for remarkable jobs at amazing places.
… even with all of the year’s difficulties, Propllr will have another great year.
… I have a big family reunion in Tahoe next summer (30ish?), and I am looking forward to seeing every single one of them – not a single clunker of a relative.
… I’m finally testing the empty nest waters with my wife, Jen (though our aging and flakey dog is keeping us from being able to spontaneously hit the road).
… my mom is as happy as she’s been in years, in large part due to her 80-year old boyfriend, with whom she just did a three-week road trip.
.... the Bears have a franchise quarterback, and he came from my hometown college team.