Today is Thanksgiving. Today is a day meant for spending with those you love and for giving thanks for all your blessings.
I struggle a bit with this and most other ‘Hallmark Holidays’. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Negative Nancy, I enjoy the awesome food and togetherness as much as the next person.
Where I struggle is with the seeming need for a marked day on the calendar to express our gratitude. I struggle with watching all the work, stress and the lengths many go to in order to meet expectations for that perfect holiday dinner or event, often solely out of obligation. I struggle with the always resulting waste after the big feast while someone right next door is struggling. I struggle with the materialistic nature of any holiday event these days and the money spent that many can’t afford.
The more I grow and mature (my friends can stop laughing here), the more I find these red letter days less appealing.
As my life has changed and evolved over the last couple of years, one of my mottos has become “Big Life, Big Work, Big Love”. I want EVERY day to be amazing. I want to explore and grow. I want to be open-minded and have an open heart to all of the interesting people in this world. I want to be grateful for the simple, daily pleasures that make life so rich, full and incredible. I want my eyes to be wide open. I want to make a difference. I don’t need a day on the calendar for that.
This ‘Big Life’ mission can be achieved in small, measurable ways every day. You can make a difference in a life with every interaction you have.
So today, rather than list all of the ‘things’ I am thankful for, I am going to share some of the ways that I hope my meager little existence on this planet has or will make a difference.
- I hope, someday, my niece takes a chance on something she really wants because her Auntie Booger encouraged her to never let anything stand in the way of her dreams.
- I am happy my oldest son has found his soulmate and hope my youngest son will do the same someday because their Mom taught them how to love and respect a woman as an equal.
- I hope that even one friend has survived a difficult time because I was there to hold their hand and offer support.
- I hope that at least one person has achieved a goal because I took the time to mentor.
- I hope at least one young person chose a different path because my door was always open to them when things got tough.
- I hope my children are more enriched and enlightened human beings because I taught them to see past race, religion, gender or any other boxes that are so conveniently put around people.
- I hope that at least one person smiles today (and every day) because I slowed down long enough to listen and make them feel important.
- I hope that someday I will rock someone’s world with the love in my heart.
- I hope my grandkids look for people who are really aliens for the rest of their lives because their grandma taught them how and, even though it’s not true (we think), it is still funnier than hell and saves a spot inside for their inner child.
- I hope that my little random acts of kindness will affect somebody and they will pass it on.
These opportunities to make a difference are why I am thankful because, in the end, it is all about the people.
What is Thanksgiving for me? Mainly, It is just another day on the calendar but one that reminds me to be a better person and work to make a difference in the world and the lives around me the other 364 days of the year. I hope it is that for you as well.