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When I was 19, I made up a game while on a road trip with friends. Teenage dramas were infiltrating our happy getaway, and tensions were running high. So, when my brother's Jeep broke down in the middle of the Utah desert, I decided to try something fun. I had a video camera with me, and I decided to tape each person saying one nice thing about one of the others in our group, each in turn. Just one thing that they appreciated about each other. First it was Jerry Appreciation time, where everyone expressed their good feelings for him. Then Tink Appreciation time. Then Eric, Marshall, John, Harley, even me. At the end, the person who was being appreciated had to say one nice thing about themselves. :)

Yeah, it's cheesy, and not everyone I know would probably agree to participate in the first place. But at the time, it seemed to ease some of the harsher moments of what we were going through. And later, whenever things got difficult, I'd watch those videos, listen to how we loved and joked and cared for each other, and it always made the world feel a little warmer. 

It brought me such joy, that I held on to the tradition. I've tried to keep it for special occasions- I'll sometimes try to play on road trips, on holidays, or ask that we play for my birthday in lieu of gifts,  although I have had the odd night where we play just for fun after a glass or two of wine. It's my absolute favorite tradition, and it makes my heart just shine to hear how my loved ones appreciate and care for each other and themselves.

This year, I turned 30. While drinking some delicious wine, and smoking some delicious hookah (flavored tobacco smoked out of a gorgeous water pipe), I asked if we could do Appreciations. And so we spent the evening appreciating the little things- a person's cute mannerism or way of going about life, style, taste in music, books, whatever- to the bigger things- the way a person expressed themselves boldly to the world through their art, their music, the way  they loved, the way they changed our lives. We laughed and cried. It was one of my best birthdays ever.

We saved the Lindsay appreciations for last. Honestly, I felt terribly shy and spent the entire time with my hands clasped together along my jaw, like a cartoon child. One by one, my friends told me what they loved about me, until I was shaking and near tears with gratitude and love. When it finally came time for me to say what I appreciated about myself, all I could say was that I truly have the best taste in friends. I firmly believe that I know some of the most brilliant, beautiful, talented, loving people that exist in the whole world. And I want to express my appreciation for them.

To my loved ones near and far- you have touched my life in ways you can't even imagine. You have altered and affected me so deeply in such beautiful ways. Everything I love about myself, I owe it to those who inspired me, encouraged me, believed in me, and helped me to see it in myself in the first place. You are incredible people with so much to offer the world, and I feel so blessed to have had you play roles in my story. It's better because of you. Please never forget that.

With all the love in my heart,

Lindsay

 


Comments

09/06/2012 3:22pm

What an inspiring game! I will definitely have to share this with my friends and family. Honest, positive comments can last a lifetime.

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Tanika
09/06/2012 3:41pm

I remember this game all to well. I remember thinking how brilliant it was, even to a 15 yr old. I've had very few women in my life that I have grown to admire and look up to over the years, but I strive to be more and more like my big sister everyday, even still 10 years later, when I don't hardly get to talk to her or see her as much as I'd like.
What I appreciate about Lindsay- I appreciate that she has ALWAYS been a true friend and a true person to herself as long as I've known her. Love you and this blog. Your truly a beautiful person outside and in and I strive to have your genuineness one day.

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