It's that time of year again when social media is flooded with "30 Days of Thanks Challenges" and suddenly everyone is thankful for someone or something in a post, preferably in a hundred characters or less. This season is a time to spend with family, repeating the traditions that were ingrained into our internal structure before we could walk.
We eat all the Thanksgiving food our hearts desire, not thinking twice about where it came from, how much work was put in to prepare it, or even how much it cost. Every time we're asked to name something we're thankful for, we automatically jump to family and friends. (rightfully so). These two things are so important, some could even argue crucial for happiness. Although having these things (at the same time) could make someone happy, there are so many small things to be thankful for that we overlook every day.
Our world is so fast-paced that we don't have time to stop and think about things that truly matter to us.
I'm not saying we shouldn't be thankful for our family or friends, because we should. But if we can't think of anything else to be thankful for besides family and friends, maybe we should spend a little more time thinking.
We get so caught up in thinking about all the things that haven't worked out in our favor. We can't seem to shake the one time we embarrassed ourselves in front of our peers. We hold grudges against people who betrayed us years ago.
Why do we focus on things that only bring negativity to our thoughts? Why stress over things that are in the past? Why stress over things we have no control over? Even though it may seem like everyone is against us, there are still things to be thankful for. Even when we have six assignments due in four days on top of an exam and meetings that seem to be scheduled at the worst times, I promise there is still something to be thankful for.
It's so easy for us to stress over deadlines because we think of everything we would rather be doing than trying to meet that deadline. If we're overwhelmed with the stress of school and turning in assignments, we can be grateful that we were given the opportunity to further our education. We can be grateful for the gift of learning. We can read, we can write, we can speak, and we can freely express how we feel. Some are not even so fortunate to be able to do any of those things but still make the most of every moment.
When did we stop feeling lucky to be alive?
When did we stop counting our blessings, even the smallest ones? Why do we post on Facebook what we are thankful for with little red hearts and kissy-face emojis instead of telling our parents, siblings, and significant others how much they mean to us in person? "30 Days of Thanks Challenges" are great and all, but why do we wait until November to express our gratitude?
Some of us struggle to get out of bed every morning because of depression or anxiety. Some of us are spending the holidays alone. Some of us feel the pressure of going to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners on two different sides of the family because there's unsettled tension. Some of us are spending our first holiday season without someone we loved.
Even through all these hardships and bumps in the road, there are things to appreciate. You are still alive. It will get better. You are loved. You matter. You are not alone. Someone is thankful for YOU.
Today, I'm thankful for the ability to write this article. I'm able to write anything I want on a platform that supports my ideas, and I'm grateful for the people who will read this article and give me feedback, both positive and negative. If we count our blessings every single day, it will be an ongoing reminder of how much we have to be grateful for. One thing to be thankful for is one reason to get out of bed. Just one thing to be thankful for is a reason to live.