I am going to be completely honest: I am a huge Christmas person. Christmas songs, Christmas decorations, Christmas cookies, you name it, I am a huge fan. In the back of my head, I know Thanksgiving comes before Christmas. However, Thanksgiving often feels like an obligatory holiday to celebrate so people stop judging people like me for turning on Christmas music. (Side note: I already started listening to Christmas music, so judge away). Thanksgiving just feels like a second-rate holiday. I love spending time with my family, but I am really just waiting for Christmas. However, in this season of business, I have been challenged to re-evaluate Thanksgiving for what it is: a chance to give thanks.
I do not think of myself as a particularly ungrateful or unthankful person, but when I stopped to think about it, I realized just how pessimistic I can be. I began to catch myself being upset about little things that would influence my mood for the rest of the day. My schedule was my consuming thought, and I never really stopped to be grateful for where I am. My remedy was to begin a gratefulness/thankfulness challenge. I would write down at least one thing I was thankful for once a day for seventy-five days (the days until Thanksgiving when I began).
I will not claim that my gratefulness/thankfulness challenge has changed my life, but it has improved it in many ways. Taking the time to think what was good about my day, what I had to look forward to, and what I had experienced made me realize how blessed I really am. No, I did not get the parking spot I wanted, but at least I have working transportation. No, I did not get everything done on my to-do list, but I had a really fun time with my siblings watching Pride and Prejudice. No, I did not have a fantastic day, but I got to practice my new favorite piano piece. When I began to notice little things that made me happy--a cup of coffee, a beautiful sunrise, the neighbor who always smiles as I pass, the fun socks that I can wear because they are now clean--I began to feel so overwhelmed by all the beautiful things in my life. It is not that they did not exist before, but now I began to notice them. That has caused me to be more grateful for the amazing life I have. That has caused me to give thanks.