Thanksgiving: Grateful for the Little Things
Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a lot of friends posting things on social media that they’re grateful for. While I appreciate that people are using this platform as a way to express gratitude (as opposed to so much other garbage that’s out there), it’s hard for it not to come off as a little….”look at me, I’m so blessed”. But that’s (usually) a fault of social media, not the efforts of the people using it.
Nevertheless, seeing all of these posts has gotten me thinking about what I’m grateful for. That, plus the gentle reminder from a couple of people that I haven’t actually written anything on my blog lately because I’ve been so wrapped up in my podcast, got me thinking that maybe I should write my own gratitude list today in the spirit of Thanksgiving.
To find inspiration for this list, I pulled some of my old journals to see what I had written on previous Thanksgivings. Apparently the only time I ever wrote an entry on Thanksgiving was when I was a full-time missionary in Virginia. When I opened the page, I was excited to see what deep spiritual wisdom I had imparted to my future self about the importance of gratitude, but alas, the entire entry was just about the food I ate that day. Not a single spiritual word made it onto those pages. It seems that the only things that mattered that day were that I somehow managed to make it through three full Thanksgiving meals and a dessert appointment. It was also important to me that I mark that day as the first day I tried collard greens (in the entry I said they weren’t too bad, but in my memory I don’t remember liking them at all…). I also noted that someone at one of those dinners mentioned I looked exactly like a girl named Bridgette from some soap opera. Clearly that was important, but the larger message of Christlike giving and thankfulness was not. Maybe I was in such a food coma by the time I wrote it that food was all I could think about. Let’s go with that.
My journals being of no further use, I started thinking about the little things I’m thankful for that help me through my every day life. As a single person living far, far away from her family, life (and holidays) can be a little rough. I don’t have an amazing husband and partner who acts as a built-in social outlet and helps me navigate the ins and outs of everyday life. All of the responsibility for every area of my life rests squarely on my shoulders. No one else is there to help pick up the slack. I also don’t have an Instagram-worthy family or kids to brag about. In fact my Instagram feed is about as mediocre as every other white single girl who travels. Yet, in spite of all of this, I am still profoundly grateful for where my life has taken me. I don’t think I ever really had any vision of what my life would look like beyond college, but I certainly never imagined I would be where I am today, and I am grateful for that. There are lessons I’ve learned, people I’ve met, and experiences I’ve had that I would never have had otherwise, and I would not trade them if I could back and do it all over again.
So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is my #thanksgivingcountdown list, in no particular order:
Trader Joe’s, for always having free samples and single person-sized portions of their ready made meals.
Wegman’s, because who isn’t thankful for Wegman’s?
My plants, for keeping me company and giving me something to take care of (even though Boston winters make it so very hard to keep them alive)
Pre-Black Friday online sales, so I don’t have to fight people on Black Friday
Friendsgiving, which is one of the best ways to celebrate Thanksgiving, in my opinion
Single person-sized Christmas trees that I can carry up to my apartment on my own (here’s looking at you, weekend plans)
Books and tv and movies, to tell me stories and give me new perspectives
Good writing, which completely inspires and enthralls me
Used bookstores, which fill me with unbridled joy and excitement
A quiet apartment where I can stay up until 3:00 am working on a puzzle and no one cares
Being able to wake up in that quiet apartment whenever I want
Dating conversations with friends
Any other conversation with another human being
Christmas music that I can start listening to whenever I want
Christmas holiday build-up. I don’t care what you say, I have no problem with having three full months of holidays that overlap and blend together.
Telephones and FaceTime so I can chat with my family and my grandparents on the other side of the country
Warm coats, hats and scarves designed with the latest technology to keep me as warm as possible against these unbearably cold and windy New England winters
Artificial light to counteract the oppressive blackness that consumes New England at 4:00 pm each day
A job, which provides me with enough income to live comfortably, even though it’s one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had
Sundays, a true day of rest and the only day when my job doesn’t have any control over my life
Church, which makes me feel happy
Food in general
Creative outlets, like this blog and my podcast, which allow me to experiment and try new things
My family, for always supporting me
My friends, for accepting me and all my craziness, and for introducing me to so many cool things I would never find on my own
Blankets, for keeping me warm and giving me something to snuggle
Finally, I’m grateful to those of you who are still reading this. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, however you choose to spend it, and that you are able to take a little time to reflect on the things that you’re grateful for. If you ever want to chat about your love of blankets or books (or both at the same time), you know how to find me.