A couple of days ago, when I was on my way back from dropping my son at pre-school, I found myself beginning to think about the good things in my life. In the fifteen minutes it took me to get back home I had decided that I had to write about that which I am grateful for. In those moments of clarity, I was able to focus on the positive and be thankful that I had those ‘positives’.
This was quite unlike how I had been feeling for the previous four or five days, when I had fallen, as I often do, into a state of depression, anxiety and moping around.
I thought perhaps if I wrote down what was running around in my head in those few and precious moments of optimism, the next time the low moments hit, maybe, just maybe, having this to read would help ease the phase.
Here are the thoughts running through my head and the things that I am grateful for:
1. If you have a roof over your head and food on your table, at least for the foreseeable future, be thankful. You may not be where you thought you’d be by now or the circumstances of your life may have led you to a position you never imagined you’d be in, but your survival is not at stake today.
2. If you have been blessed with good health, be thankful. You have that much more energy and time to pursue your dreams.
3. If you have children, be thankful. There are many who want to, but can’t.
4. If you don’t live in a war zone, be thankful. There are many who don’t have that luxury.
5. If you have a few people (or even one) who will give you their time, who will listen to your troubles or just be there for you, be thankful. There are many who have no one to turn to.
6. If you are empowered enough to stand up for your rights or someone else’s when you see an injustice being committed, be thankful. There are many who aren’t.
7. If you have a hobby or an interest or are gifted in a particular area, be thankful. Hang on to it with all your might and fight to make the time to pursue it, for it will be the channel that gets you through many a tough time.
8. If you have a spouse or partner who supports you, be thankful. Many search a lifetime but don’t find this.
9. If you have been fortunate enough to have good parents, who have instilled in you values that you are proud to have, values that you will always have, no matter what else you may lose, be thankful.
As I began to jot these down, more thoughts about things I was grateful for began to enter my mind. I haven’t written them all down – there were far too many. The point is that if we think about it, we might be surprised to find just how much we have to be thankful for. And that in turn gives us hope and courage to continue.
I realised yesterday (mainly because of all the food ideas that have been popping up on my various recipe apps!) that Americans celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday. Thanksgiving isn’t traditionally celebrated in my part of the world, but somehow my need to write this note has coincided with it. I think the realisation encouraged me to write this today and not tomorrow or next week.
I am glad I did.
Everybody has their own difficulties – their own cross to bear, their own rock and a hard place, their own Waterloo. What might not seem like a problem for you to handle might be the hardest thing another has ever done, while a problem that seems like the end of the world to you might be a breeze for the next person to overcome.
And with this difference comes the way we feel.
To one mother, raising three little children might come naturally, whereas to another looking after just one might seem like the hardest thing she has ever done. And thus we each feel differently about the same task at hand.
Whatever your cross, whatever your rock and a hard place, whatever your Waterloo, I think pausing to give thanks for the good things in your life – the things YOU consider good – is very important.
This, right here, is my Thanksgiving.