American Thanksgiving took place this week. I don’t know much about the day or the holiday being from the UK but I do like the idea of “giving thanks*.” Strangely, it’s not something we practice a lot of in general. Sure, we might say “thanks” when we buy a cup of coffee or someone holds a door open for us but this is a different concept. Giving thanks is more about gratitude for something rather than just being polite.
There’s a big misconception that we have to be grateful for BIG things. We don’t. Sometimes you can be grateful for small minor things – ever been grateful for catching McDonalds breakfast at 10:29 before? Maybe it was that a good song came on the radio on your way to work or you had something nice to eat for lunch (can you tell I love to eat and listen to music?…) Put most people without a TV or a phone for a day and they’d probably turn into Jack Nicholson in The Shining. If you’re from my generation then you’ve probably forgotten that Snake 2 was a hi-tech mobile phone gaming growing up. Put a kid on a plane without an i-pad for 15 minutes in 2017 and the parents are probably not going to have shins left by the end of the flight. Perspective is key. You see our expectations grow and evolve and in doing so, so does our attitude to what we should be happy and grateful for. A few years ago Wi-Fi was nice to have. Recently – I’ve seen people ask to be refunded for a coffee or even a hotel room because the Wi-Fi was too slow. I can still remember that god awful sound dial up internet used to make which sounded like a Super Mario sound effect. Maybe I’m just grateful I don’t have to hear that when I connect to the internet? If you ordered something online a few years ago then you’d probably have to wait a few days – now? Same day delivery on a 48 inch TV is a possibility. What a time to be alive eh?! If it arrives a day late then I can only imagine you’re going to leave a 1 star review – that will “show them.”
Not too keen on your job? – check out the below article which will likely make you appreciate your own job just a little bit more…
I’m not for a second sitting with rose tinted glasses on saying that things are all sunshine, rainbows and ice cream. Life can often be a real bitch. Events and sometimes people, even those we are close to, can sometimes drive us to feeling like we have “nothing” to be grateful for at all. But here’s the thing…There’s a few famous adages relating to “you never know what you have until it’s gone.” Health is probably the most taken for granted thing we have. If you’ve ever been moderately ill it’s amazing how quickly you start to appreciate simple things like being able to function normally – no pain, no restrictions. We don’t wake up on a morning and think “hey I feel fine – brilliant!” we tend to wake up and think “oh God not another Monday.” Similarly, we often take loved ones for granted and when they’re gone we feel nothing but an overwhelming sense of loss. We weren’t paying attention to what we had while we had it.
Perspective. Focus on the fact that you don’t have a Ferrari or be grateful that you woke up alive and have another 24 hours ahead of you – because not everyone did. Every day the odds of this happening shrink – which really means you should be even more grateful as you get older. Instead you’ll probably wonder why your same day delivery is not being delivered until 8pm tonight and heck maybe I should shout at the news and why is there nothing on TV – even though I have 300 channels(?!)
A very wise man and the writer of one of my favourite books said…
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl
You decide what you’re grateful for, but if you look in the right places you’ll probably realize that your life is rather brilliant. Gratitude changes everything.
P.S. I made McDonalds breakfast yesterday.
*I do also like the idea of the President “pardoning” a turkey just because it makes me laugh for some immature reason I can’t quite explain. Many countries have quite quirky historical traditions – I’m kind of grateful for that.