11.25.2021 — Thanksgiving Journal

A reflection of gratuity. Also known as, thankfulness.


Today was an amazing day. Today I had the opportunity to sit with my family, and enjoy a nice home cooked meal. It shocked me that the last home cooked meal I had wasn’t even from my mom, but my aunt in September.

Today happened to be one of the best thanksgiving experiences. I had the opportunity to humble myself today, and honestly over the course of this week, and this journal is dedicated to that.

A letter to my brother

Today I had the opportunity to think about my brother, and how much this guy has grown this past year. I thought about all the things my brother is doing, and how deeper his thinking has evolved. I am grateful that I was the first brother. I love that you’re taking parts of my life, and working on ways to be better. I think you can do anything you set your mind to. You really do humble me in a lot more ways than I give you credit for. I believe that.

A letter to my ma

Today I had the opportunity to talk to my parents and wish them a happy holiday. My family (extended) are eating lunch, and my grandma had humbled me, in the kindest way. We’d talked about my mom not being able to visit. My grandma had mentioned how hard working my mother was, that was coming from one of the strongest ladies I know (taking her family from a genocide to two different countries is a pretty tough task). I think my grandma had always empathized my mom for working two jobs and managing to take care of a family.

My heart hurts to see you work so much. It always has. I may never be the smartest guy, and that is okay. I may never change the whole world, and that is okay. Though, I know I have the power to change one thing in this life. I know that if I work hard enough, I can change the one thing that I have wanted to change for a long time. I have the opportunity to change my mom’s retirement age.

Left: My Dad
My dad (left), my aunt (middle), and my uncle (right) probably somewhere in the 1990s.

A letter to my babbo

Today I had the opportunity to look at pictures of my father from when he was younger. I had not known he was forced in the army when he turned 18. I thought about my father’s story today. My father came to Chicago, went to college, learned another language, worked a full time job, and even managed a family when he could. I had never understood why you chose to be a janitor even though you were a fully qualified electrical engineer.

Today, I realize you chose the one thing that mattered, the only thing that mattered; You chose family. You chose to support my future over your own. You were the one who inspired me to think deeper. For that, I owe you everything.

A letter to my uncle

I had the opportunity to look at pictures of my uncle when he was younger today. Each time my uncle and I share memories, I always learn one more thing about him that I had not known before. To think about my uncle’s story, one that I do not even fully understand myself. A man as thoughtful as my uncle being forced into the army, and somehow finding a way to enter the only university in his country, and eventually a masters. To think him and my father had migrated to Italy for years before moving to Chicago. I have always wondered what that had been like. You took me in when I needed you. I will always be indebted to you for that.

Conclusion — A letter to my family & friends

Today I had the opportunity to realize that the list of memories I am grateful for is too long to count. When I first started writing today’s journal, I was worried I wouldn’t think of anything. Now, I realize I had too much to be grateful for. That is a truly humbling feeling. I am grateful for all the relationships I’ve come to develop over this past year. Each person really is unique in so many ways. I am grateful for each relationship I’ve come to experience in this life.

Of the things I think about.


Emin Okić



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