On Gratitude

Lindsay Levine
6 min readDec 17, 2023

I spent the second half of my twenties consumed by a handful of people who don’t care about me. In the spirit of the holidays but really just in general, I want to share the gratitude I have for the far greater number of folks who have shown me so much love and support. I’m relieved to be at a point in my life where I’m capable of letting go of people who are not good for me, which has made space to appreciate all of the friends who have been lights in the dark.

If you’re not on this list, I still appreciate you so much. I did intentionally leave out my closest friendships and family because I hope I show them often enough how important they are to me. Mom, Margo, Ryan, Laura, Alana — you are my rocks and my lifeboats. I could not and literally would not be here without you.

Thank you all for everything.

Akil Grubb

Akil — I’m thankful we found each other on Twitter. There is no price tag you can put on feeling understood by another person and friend. We saw each other’s pain and grief, and you seeing mine was another irreplaceable brick that stood up my foundation of support. I know I can always count on you out of the blue.

Bailey Cavanaugh

Bailey — you have been a friend and ally since the beginning. You knew I was queer before anyone else and allowed me to figure out myself by showing me the way. You are a bright spirit who has only ever shown me the sincerest love and encouragement. I’m glad our friendship still lives on today.

Cassidy Williams-Song

Cassidy — you are effectively responsible for half of my career. Everyone knows you are a sensational human being and leader, but not everyone knows or sees your loyalty and commitment to people behind the scenes. You stood by me through war. So many people would love to be your friend and in your life, and I don’t take my chance to be in your life for granted.

Clem Freeman

Clemothy — I’ve often spoken about how I felt out of place and disconnected in SF. You are one of the few reasons I felt joy and belonging in a city I struggled to call home. I think about you staying in my apartment with Patty while I was in Maui and buying mold spray for the bathroom. You are a special human deserving of the unconditional love you give.

Eli Perkins

Eli — our friendship is one of the few from NYC that I hold in my heart still today. You and Georgia have always had such warmth and kindness. You have never once seen or treated me differently, particularly through times when many others did. You always saw the good in me, and for that you always felt like an older brother figure. Thank you for being you.

Hannah Bjornson & Katie Grozier

Hannah and Katie — from the moment we met, you two embraced me as a friend with no judgment or hesitation. I’m grateful to have met you and gotten to know you through Laura, and I’m equally grateful she has you as friends. Thank you for being there for me at times when we had only just met. I think you’re both exceptional.

Grace Dever

Grace — I would’ve suffered so much more through particular relationships without you and your support and how you understood it all too well yourself (pun intended). You didn’t hold mistakes against me when you easily could have, like so many other people from my past. Thank you for that. I’m so glad to get to watch you and Jackie build such a beautiful relationship.

Gus Price

Gus — I am grateful for the way you’ve held me accountable at times without beating me down; you’ve always given me a chance to grow. You are another person who’s a brother figure to me, which totally justifies us yelling at each other over Valorant. I know I can always reach out to you for support of any kind — even if you don’t necessarily get it, I’ve always gotten the sense that you’ve really deeply cared. Thank you for letting me sleep in your office.

Justin O’Brien

Justin — you are one of a kind. I don’t know if it’s the whole Hawaii-native thing, but I really grew to love you as a human just through those first few months of knowing you. Your cheerful spirit always brought hope and joy to mine. I’m grateful for the deep, spiritual talks we had on drives across Maui. You would never let me speak negatively about myself. You, too, are another brother figure to me.

Lauren Eagan

Lauren — you are an unexpected but not at all unappreciated high school friend who came back into my life in our later twenties. Your way of showing me support after so much time, through my grief and darkest moments, gave me hope when I needed it most. I’m not surprised given our shared love of Brand New; I think back to a vivid memory I have from high school of you writing lyrics on one of my textbook covers. Thank you for always being so present and caring and judgment-free.

Lauren Lee

Lauren — you are one hell of a Virgo who has always kept it real with me, and there’s a reason you attract so many friends and people to you. I could always count on our in-office encounters to brighten my day, and I’m really glad I’ve gotten to see you a few times since leaving SF. I remember feeling a full heart walking back to my hotel from our dinner together in NYC. Thanks for always making some time for me.

Luke Edwards

Luke — the time we talked most was brief, but that doesn’t change the way I felt about our friendship or about you as a person. Even though you were so misjudged by my teammates and we didn’t get to work together, no one can change the fact that you are a truly kind-hearted, giving human being. I won’t forget how much you cared about my career and me as a person.

Marissa Sileo

Marissa — your October Scorpio ways are the yin to my November Scorpio yang. You never really batted an eye when I’d stumble through some less than graceful moments. Your sense of humor brought me so many good times at work, and it made me so happy that you took the train to Coney Island to spend July 4th with me. You are a real sista.

Noah Whitehead & Gabe Szczepanek

Noah & Gabe — despite my departure from Ritten, I will always be grateful for our time working together and the memories I have. I’m so glad you found me when you did. You gave me the opportunity to work on something so meaningful with such phenomenal humans. Thank you for a very special eighteen months together.

Ruri Kitada

Ruri — You have so much heart, and I’m so thankful I got you as my roommate at McGill. I’ve only laughed with a few people in life the way I remember laughing with you. You were always there to let me perch on your bed and sort through all of my internal battles. You would truly listen. I love that you answered my FaceTime recently while you were at work because you thought I was in trouble. Thank you for being a lifelong friend.

Theresa Gursky

Theresa — you were a direct witness to the very worst time in my life. You owed me absolutely nothing and yet gave me absolutely everything in terms of support. You were a fantastic teammate at Venmo and an even more fantastic anchor that helped keep me from reeling through grief and despair. You are an outstanding mother, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to have gotten to know you and your babies so intimately. You are the best.

Zak Bickel

Last but not least, Zak — you were my very first brother figure. The way I bawled on the day we left UArts was a testament to the friendship I knew I’d found in you. You are a brilliantly creative mind who is accepting, loving, and warm to everyone. Thanks for letting me latch onto you almost 14 years ago.

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