As we all know, it's that time of the year again when Halloween has passed and now Christmas is here. But, oh wait, there's another holiday around there! Thanksgiving! Widely overlooked and ignored until the day comes, but this holiday should be near the top of our holiday list. Even though, many times when Thanksgiving arrives we look forward to the football games, the parade, the dog show, black Friday shopping, and (duh!) the FOOD! And simply just being thankful can get overlooked in the holiday hullabaloo.
While all those other activities make the holiday that much better, it's important to remember that it's a time to be thankful and reflect on everything you're grateful for. Especially to the people and small things in life you take for granted most of the year, it is a great time to excessively express and recognize their importance to you - something we all could do more of.
People have an intense, individualistic perspective on life and are constantly thinking of the world, the people, and smaller things in it revolving around them, but everyone is going through something and is thinking from a similar mindset. People easily get frustrated with others without taking into account the conflicts and hardships they may be dealing with. It's easy to start living your life from an open perspective and recognizing that other people may be having a rough day. You could be that one person that smiles at them and makes their whole day. Or be the one person that lifts the spirits of a waitress or cashier that's been having a stressful day and has been receiving the rude attitudes of previous customers. We're all people, and it's a nice feeling to have a positive interaction with a stranger you may only smile at for an instance before never seeing again knowing that you could have made their day or that they have made yours.
It shouldn't be hard for us to appreciate everything we have or everyone we know, but we often forget to express our gratitude for them, most times until it's too late. Too often we get caught up about reaching for and working toward something in the future and we look past the present and all we should be glad to have or be experiencing now.
There never has to be a reason to tell someone how much they mean to you. It could come at just the right time for them, something they really needed to hear that day. We often say "I love you" too off-handedly, but at the same time we don't say it enough or don't make sure the people we are saying it to understand the true weight behind it. To everyone I don't say it to enough or at all or need to hear it one more time: I love you and appreciate you being in my life!
It's an easy transition. Each day, week, or even month set aside time to reflect on yourself, your life, the people in your life, the small things and be grateful for them. Each day there is something for us to be thankful for, even if it appears like the most insignificant part of your day. Every day for the past three years I have taken time to journal each day and list things I am thankful for that day. It's a simple act anyone could do. It helps you find the positive in each day even though you could have had the worst day or week.
You could be thankful for...a jacket on a windy day, a smile from a stranger you pass in the hallway, a nice conversation with the cashier in the dining hall, talking to friends or family you haven't spoken to or since in months, listening to a song that really fits your mood, finding time to workout, being healthy, watching a new movie, looking through old photos or videos, finding a new favorite book, getting to travel, snuggling with a pet, seeing the leaves change colors...the list goes on and on. There is always something to be thankful for, you just have to look for it and recognize it and appreciate it.
It is especially humbling as well because it constantly has me re-evaluating what and who is important in my daily life and the small things that make my day. Specifically while being in college, thinking of and working toward the future can easily become overwhelming and thought-consuming. And can quickly turn a mindset pessimistic and disheartened. The world is filled with people trying to gain personal wealth and are consumed by gaining material wealth or status while failing to recognize the "wealth" the people and things in their life give them already. By journaling each day of what I'm thankful for it helps me to remind myself that the present is just as important, if not more than, the future and that I should appreciate and enjoy even the smallest things each day and not once they've passed. Also that there are more important things to strive for in life than material wealth or a better status that society commonly pushes.
There are multitudes upon multitudes of things and people we should be thankful for each day. Although the world is filled with hateful and destructive actions and mindsets, expressing daily gratitude and finding the good in each day to be thankful for helps shine the light on the world that is incessantly and easily brought to darkness. Start adding more light to your own life and it'll end up giving more light to the world too.