Thanksgiving– a day designated to scarf down as much turkey and pie possible (guilt-free), a Christmas dress-rehearsal, a tradition well-rooted in family, friends, food and fall festivities; But most importantly, a day to give thanks.
Ya, I know, it tends to be easier to focus on what we don’t have (I didn’t win that $60 M either), rather than what we do, but Turkey Day says it’s absolutely crucial to take time out and reflect on all of the things to be thankful for. It’s actually the perfect time to refocus and start some simple habits towards grateful living.
In my mid 20’s, my best friend (my every day therapist), diagnosed me with ‘the curse of always wanting more.’ The symptoms: never really being satisfied with what I had and always looking to climb that ladder higher and higher and higher; constantly pursuing the next big thing for more happiness, a giant race to get things I assumed would make me a better person. The prognosis, the ladder isn’t always going to go straight up, will eventually run out of steps or even snap, and I’m going to look back and not be able to recall a single one, as I was too focused on getting to the next level as opposed to just enjoying where I was at, and being thankful for what I had.
I hate to admit it, but this best friend was right (Errrg! Isn’t it awful when that happens). I was often forgetting to pause and give thanks, and I was taking for granted some of the things that deserved my gratitude the most. I had a severe case of tunnel vision and had no peripheral view- focused on what was only ahead of me.
I was recently told that to get in touch with what true gratitude feels like, you have to take a trip down memory lane and recall the last time you avoided a really bad situation. Like the time you got an “all clear” on an important medical exam or braked just in time before smashing into that car that cut you off. You feel that instant adrenaline, and an immediate sense of how fortunate you are. All at once, you appreciate being alive and whole… Life is good. Now what if that feeling could be with us all the time, without the almost near death experiences of course.
Later today, you will find yourself gathered around your Thanksgiving meal, taking turns with your family and loved ones saying the things you’re thankful for. So what are we grateful for? What makes our hearts feel all warm and fuzzy. Survey says: family, health, a roof over our heads, and our job. But dig a little deeper then that. Think about even the small things that you are thankful for …No, not that you have to be thankful for my writing, but the fact that you’re reading this means that you have internet access or a smartphone, which means that you have it better than a majority of the world. Imagine that.
Gratitude turns what we have into enough.
I have learned that even on the absolute worst of days, there is always, always, something to be grateful for- from morning cups of joe, to curb side garbage collection, warm socks, to the smell of fresh cut green grass. And hey, there’s solid research supporting the idea that we benefit tremendously from bringing gratitude into our daily lives.
This Thanksgiving, I think we all have a lot to be thankful for. So tonight before you close those Turkey-coma induced sleepy eyes, smile, be happy, and be thankful for what you have, what you have experienced and what you have overcome. Take a glance left and right before looking ahead. Be thankful not just today, but every day. And no, your life isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty damn awesome.
Now go, Bay thankful and of course, awesome!