There are many things to love about Thanksgiving and the Holidays in general: quality-time with family and/or friends, great (home-made) food, Football, and maybe even Black Friday. For the exact same reasons, maybe with the exception of Football, people will also tell you that they dread Thanksgiving. It’s understandable after all – time with family and friends can be stressful, meal preparation is definitely stressful and don’t get me started on Black Friday and Holiday shopping.
As a foreigner, Thanksgiving Day wasn’t celebrated in any of the countries that I lived in or visited, at least an entire day wasn’t dedicated to it. This year is my sixth Thanksgiving and I have to say, along with the 4th of July, it has become one of my favorite holidays. More than anything else, I think it provides people with an opportunity to be both celebratory and reflective, and in so doing, give thanks – which is something that most of us do not do nearly as much as we should.
I’ve had a pretty interesting year, a year that has been difficult in many ways; a year that I have grown a lot. I think many of us have. I’ve shared a few on here throughout the year but the devil is in the details so we just won’t go into them right now. Still, as my mother would advise, if you’re alive, there is always something to be thankful for and despite this year, I have many so many things to be thankful for and if you take a minute to reflect, you probably do too.
So, before we get lost in all the things that we think are stressful, let us take a moment to be thankful. And if you’re struggling to find some things, especially things to say at the thanksgiving table, here’s a list you can borrow from:
- You are alive. I know sometimes it may not seem like something to be grateful for, but you’ve made it to now despite all the growing pains of life and you’ve probably made someone’s day at least one time this year.
- You have family and friends. The importance of family cannot be overemphasized, and I know this because my nuclear family is spread in three different countries, not to even mention my extended family, and we don’t spend holidays together every year and I miss them dearly. Still, the friends that I have made since moving here are like family; they are family. Everyone who loves you and wants to be with you today is your family. Yes, this family drives us crazy and we complain about them till we’re blue in the face but when it comes down to it, who’s got your back? That’s what I thought.
- You are healthy. To understand the value of health, just visit a local clinic or hospital during the Holidays and you’ll never undervalue it again. If you can run or bike or walk without any problems, you are winning at life.
- You have things – cell phones, computers, cars, clothes, etc. (You have really nice things!)
- You have a job – some kind of job, any kind of job and the bills are getting paid somehow.
- You have a degree or you’re in school or you’re making plans to go to school.
- You have food on the table. You have a table. You also have a bed. I think you get the point.
The list goes on and on. The things that we take for granted every day; today is the day to be thankful for them. The things that matter the most, today is the day to be thankful for that. And if this list is just too corny or too simplistic for you, let me add another thing you can be thankful for:
You have hope. Whatever this year has brought you, you’ve made it this far and that hope, that fragile yet powerful hope that gives you notions of a better tomorrow, can allow you to be thankful for today.
I hope that helps. Happy Thanksgiving!