Updated: May 28
At some point in our lives, we have probably all been asked by friends or family members about what we are thankful for, especially around the holidays. I don’t know about you, but my current answers have changed drastically from those I gave when I was a small child. As we grow up and experience the realities of the world, thankfulness transitions from shallow thoughts like, “I’m thankful for [insert current favorite toy]!” to a much fuller realization of and appreciation for the high value of both the non-materialistic as well as everyday occurrences.
Thankfulness is a popular subject this time of year, with its peak being on Thanksgiving Day itself, and even the media ironically references the quality of thankfulness in the midst of its attempts to lure viewers into acquiring more possessions that they didn’t previously know they needed. And if you think about it, no television show is truly complete without a scene around a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner table in which every character says heartwarming words to their friends and family, proclaiming their thankfulness for the sweet relationships they share.
However, the national attention given to thankfulness is reserved for the month of November only, and is whisked away to be replaced by another holiday centered around flurries of gifts. For example, just this morning I was watching a video online and the advertisement that popped up showed a roomful of people shouting out how thankful and joyful they are, when the scene abruptly switched to an announcement of a big sale the company is putting on, and the previously content people race to gather as much as they can.
We are reminded of the quality of thankfulness during the month of November, but how many times throughout the rest of the year do we really consider the benefits we have? It can be so terribly easy to take basic things for granted! How often do we grumble when we have to do a load of laundry, drive to the store, clean the bathroom, or wash the dishes?
Or, particularly to student life, how many times have we complained about the necessity of studying for that test and balancing higher education around our already busy lives? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. How easy it can be to forget that it is not our right to have these things, but they are possessions and opportunities have been given to us.
And what about the non-material aspects of our lives, such as health, family, and friends? Throughout my own life, various events have more clearly demonstrated to me the value of all of these things and how quickly they can be stripped away, but again, how many times do we truly think about that and act accordingly? We are not guaranteed these things in our lives, but what we do have, we can treasure in the present and remember thankfulness whether there is a turkey in the oven or fireworks in the park.
So friends, hold your loved ones a little tighter today, and when the canned goods don’t quite fit in the pantry, there’s a pile of laundry on the bed, or you have an errand to run, see it with eyes of thankfulness for the mundane as well as for the extraordinary.
Written by Alexandria Garcia