4 Non-Traditional People In Your Life You Should Be Thankful For

by Mary Rebecca Harakas

We always remember those we are thankful for at Thanksgiving, like our friends, families and even our health. But, we should expand from this one day of the year designated to giving thanks; we should actually be thankful for these people and ideas throughout the entire year.

Thankfulness shouldn't be bound to just one day. Throughout the year, I feel blessed to have a loving, caring family and great friends.

But, I also periodically find myself thinking about the people in my life who actually had a big impact on me, regardless of whether I considered them part of my family member or friends.

Think about the additional people in your life who you should be thankful for in addition to your family and friends. They’ve made a greater impact than you think.

Your ex-boyfriend.

I’ve had a few ex-boyfriends, just as many girls in their 20s do. There were good and bad endings to each relationship and each ended for different reasons. Our personalities clashed, we had different goals and dreams and sometimes, we were simply not a good fit.

Regardless who broke up with whom, you should be thankful for your exes. I know it’s hard to realize especially if it's a fresh split, but he also showed you what you want and don’t want in a relationship.

When you finally settle down, you’ll have a better understanding of what you cherish most.

Ending relationships is hard, but we all learn from them. The most valuable lesson you can learn from your ex is how to compromise in a relationship.

Consider the other person before yourself and ultimately, the qualities you value most in a relationship.

Your college roommates.

I had my fair share of kooky roommates in college. I had the body-image obsessed sorority girl, the anti-social recluse, the hardcore study fiend, the lazy slob, the wannabe pageant queen, the needy moocher and the ditz with boyfriend who stayed over Every. Single. Weekend.

This probably shines some light on why I don’t have a roommate now and why I absolutely love my one-bedroom apartment that is decorated how I want.

But, rather than bashing on my old roommates, I'm thankful for the lot they taught me. They taught me how to live with people and deal with different types of personalities.

I had a year with each roommate — some in a dorm freshman year, the sorority house sophomore and junior years and others in an off-campus house senior year.

In that time, I had to learn how to coexist with different living styles and habits. And, guess what? You’ll have to do the same with your spouse one day, too.

In case you hadn't figured it out by now, you cannot change a person and you certainly can’t change how your roommates live. All you can do is accept each other's differences to make for the best living situation possible.

The kids you babysat.

I grew up with three brothers, and I was the second oldest child. While growing up, I gained a lot of babysitting experience just being with my siblings. They unknowingly taught me how to be a responsible parent-like figure.

While babysitting in college, I was exposed to whole new world. How so? The children I babysat didn’t grow up how I was raised. Their parents didn’t discipline them how my parents would and so many other things were different, too.

I saw parents deal with their kids differently than how my parents raised me, and often, I thought about how blessed I am that my parents raised my brothers and I as they did. So many kids today are unappreciative, rude, disrespectful and down right pain in the asses.

Babysitting teaches you different parenting styles, how to relate to those who are younger than you, patience and also provides some patience for whether or not you're ready to have kids.

I’ve babysat kids who are perfect angels and others who make me want to overdose on birth control. But, all things considered, it's an awesome learning experience.

Your first boss.

Very few people stay in their first jobs for the duration of their careers. If you’re afraid of change, prefer the same environment each day or simply love your job so much that you’d happily stay in it for 50 years, then good for you.

But, if you don’t get out and explore other options — even if you love your career field, but want a different environment or to do something different in the field —, go for it.

Your first boss, similar to your ex-boyfriend, can show you what you want and don’t want in your career path. Let’s face it: You’ll spend the majority of your time at work, so you may as well enjoy what you do each day.

Your first boss will show you what a job in that industry is like, how it can change and ways to take a different spin within the same industry. For example, you may start off as a pharmaceutical technician only to soon realize that you’re very interested in chemistry and you want to pursue pharmacy school.

The options are endless when it comes to your career and your first boss will be the first to guide you.