Every week I will write a post to reflect on the previous week. Sometimes the post will focus on a specific topic that was of great consequence that week. Other times it’ll be a more free-form reflection on life.
Yesterday I woke up and was instantly happy. Why? Well cause it was Thanksgiving, and with one exception1, all of my favorite holidays center around a giant feast. I mean who doesn’t love an excuse to be a glutton2. But Thanksgiving is special for me. It’s not a holiday that I’ve celebrated my whole life. It doesn’t have deeply rooted traditions that evoke3 strong memories and feelings of home for me. But rather, it allows me a yearly reminder to celebrate something that has become near and dear to my heart and that is an attitude of gratitude.
I remember when I went to high school, I was often miserable. Now I know a lot of people might have felt this way in high school. I know I wasn’t alone. But my mom, the sage giver of advice that she always was, always told me that how I choose to face the day will greatly impact how my day goes. I scoffed at her and went on my days with a grumpy mask on my face.
Then, after college, when I was deep into my research of ways to find happiness in my life, I came upon several sources that pointed to gratitude as being a big component for people who consider themselves happy. For a whole year (2013), I made sure to write a note every day of something I was grateful for that happened that day. Sometimes I wrote more than one note. Those were wonderful days. I put all these notes in a jar with a great little quote on it. I don’t want to say I was happy every single day. In fact, I can guarantee right now that I wasn’t. But the act of trying to think of something, no matter how small, that I was grateful for every day, forced me to always find a source of joy.
The best part, honestly, was looking through all my notes at the end of the year. It opened my eyes to what my true sources of joy were, and they usually weren’t the things I had expected. Today, I don’t write notes every day any more4 but I am still practiced in thinking about that one thing as I lay in bed every day. It makes it easier to get through the harder days.
So I hope all of you carry your attitude of gratitude beyond this holiday. I hope you take this holiday as an opportunity to practice some daily gratitude, especially if you find your life is devoid of joy. I don’t think anyone of us ever sent or received a message of gratitude and felt bad about it!
So what am I thankful for? This year I am thankful that I was able to be home for the holidays without the stress of traveling. I am thankful that I was able to spend my holiday with a wonderful family and (for the first time) a wonderful man. I am thankful that my mother and brother are crazy enough to jump on board with the idea of deboning a turkey. I am thankful that I could spend the holiday with my youngest nephew and wonderful niece who is in my favorite language development stage of repeating everything that is said to her. I am thankful that I took a huge risk this year in my search for a more fulfilling life. And finally I am thankful for all the wonderful people who supported me in this decision. I have much more than one day’s worth to be thankful for, and I bet all of you do too!
And that, with the exception of footnotes, of course, brings an end to my cheesiest post ever. Cheers!
- It’s St. Patty’s Day by the way!
- I am very proud to say that I didn’t eat to the point of bursting yesterday though!
- Thanks google, once again, I almost wrote invoke. Initially I had written envoke and word was like, uh uh girl that ain’t a word so then I googled both invoke and evoke. Phew! Various computing companies to the rescue once again!
- Though I honestly might start that again, because just remembering going through those notes puts a smile on my face.