November 21, 2016

Here’s What You Should Actually be Thankful for This Year

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Chris Lawton
Chris Lawton

Your mouth is watering as you lay your eyes on the beautiful feast that awaits you. You have been daydreaming about your mother’s stuffing and your grandma’s green bean casserole since Halloween, and the blissful moment has finally arrived. Alas, just as you are about to dive into the deliciousness, you are abruptly interrupted.

Uncle Joe yells, “Hold up, everyone! Before we eat, I think we should all go around the table and say what we’re thankful for. Who wants to start?”

When we are typically faced with this type of question, many of us end up mumbling some half-assed answer like “Family and friends” or “My health.” These are clearly valid aspects of life to be appreciative for, but come on – I think it’s safe to say that we can do a little better than that.

Still stuck? Or too hangry to think of a coherent response? Don’t worry – I’m here to help. Here are 4 legitimate things to be grateful for this year:

1. Obama and Biden memes.

Regardless of whom you voted for, the current state of politics in this country is an outright disaster. Luckily, these Obama and Biden memes serve as a form of comic relief. Seriously – every time a depressing news article is released, so is a new meme. It’s science.

I don’t know who’s responsible for starting this amazing trend, but I want to give you a hug. You are an inspiration. You are what this country needs. Keep finding humor in the downfall of America as we know it, and I’ll be writing in your name next time around. Better than Harambe, right? (Kidding.)

2. The setbacks you’ve experienced that made you that much stronger.

I know – I really flip flopped in subject matter here. Also, the above might sound cheesy as hell (and strangely like a Kelly Clarkson song), but hear me out. The truth is, we often place so much emphasis on how much farther we have to go, and forget to recognize what we’ve accomplished thus far. Furthermore, we fail to attribute said accomplishments to our own failures.

None of us like to admit that we failed at something – we would rather just bury it under the hatchet. However, it’s these brief impediments that ultimately lead us to become something greater.

It’s common for us to thank our support system, our own determination and willpower, and our mentors that helped us along the way. It’s not so common for us to thank our little screw-ups – but it absolutely should be.

3. Laughter.

A simple concept, albeit important. My friend Sean pointed out the other day that sometimes people are so afraid to just let loose and laugh hysterically. It’s true – we’re either so caught up in how we are perceived by others, or all tightly wound by how “serious” life is, that we don’t allow ourselves to relish the humor in every day situations.

We claim we are thankful for family and friends – and genuinely enjoying their company is a factor in that. Laughter and enjoyment go hand in hand. Those moments where you laugh so hard you can’t breathe with your best friend? THAT is what you’re truly thankful for.

4. That others are thankful for you – and aren’t afraid to express it.

We all like knowing that we are appreciated – and that goes beyond a generic roundtable discussion at Thanksgiving dinner. Among the fast pace of life and inevitable stress that it brings, it’s easy for us to neglect telling the people that matter to us just how much they really do.

So be thankful for those that recognize this – and take the time to explicitly remind you. It could be a significant other randomly telling you how happy you make them, or it could be a stranger telling you that your artwork inspires them. Whatever it is, it makes a difference – be grateful for these people, and learn from them.

Next time you’re being called on to announce your “thankful” list, dig deeper. And always remember that Thanksgiving shouldn’t be the only day that we shine light on the concept of gratitude. TC mark

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