On Thursday this week, the U.S. will be celebrating their Thanksgiving holiday. The traditional theme for this holiday is a giving of thanks or a showing of appreciation or gratitude. If you think about all of the misfortunes that could befall any person or family, I’m sure most everyone has something to be thankful for.
Not surprisingly, Canada also has a Thanksgiving holiday which they just celebrated back in October – who knew? And many other countries around the world share a similar event. So, maybe it is a part of human nature to pause every now and then to reflect and show a little gratitude for what you have. And why not?
If nothing else, there are health benefits to sharing your gratitude and thankfulness. According to Forbes, there are seven scientifically proven benefits of gratitude.
Here they are, in no particular order:
- Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
- Gratitude improves physical health.
- Gratitude improves psychological health.
- Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
- Grateful people sleep better.
- Gratitude improves self-esteem.
- Gratitude increases mental strength.
So, showing gratitude and being thankful seems like a good idea. But not everyone is feeling very grateful these days, especially after a particularly nasty election cycle. Let’s think about it.
Life Events to be Thankful For
If you’re not feeling very grateful, take a step back and think about the big picture. Maybe you will be inspired. Here are a few big-picture things that I’m thankful for that were completely out of my control. They got me to where I am today.
I’m thankful that:
- My parents prospered in the U.S. after escaping from tyranny in their country of origin in 1962. They left with a six-month-old baby (my oldest brother), a bag full of cloth diapers and only $7 U.S. dollars to their name. They did not know it at the time, but they would never return home.
- Years ago, somewhere between Louisville, Kentucky and Zanesville, Ohio, I survived flying off of the highway in the middle of the night. I was traveling at 70 mph in cruise control in a rented Crown Victoria in the middle of a nasty ice storm. (Now, you might argue that this WAS in my control, but I had never driven in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit before, so I’m going to say that I didn’t know any better.)
- I escaped my youthful indiscretions without any life altering consequences. (And kids, if you’re reading this, I’m just joking around – you know, trying to be funny for the readers! Ha, ha! Now, quit reading this and go finish your homework.)
Current Things to be Thankful For
Did I spark any ideas about things to be grateful for? Well, in addition to the big things in life that got me into adulthood, there are some more immediate things that I’m thankful for:
- My wife of almost twenty years and two great kids. In a few years, the kids will be gone and we’ll be like newly-weds again – WaHoo! (And kids, if you’re still reading this, don’t worry, we’re going to be very, very sad once you leave – very sad. Dad’s just trying to be funny again, you understand. Humor is a coping mechanism – you’ll learn about that in Psych 101. Now, do like I said and go finish your homework!)
- My health, which I work at almost every day. I’m almost one year into my journey towards a blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do.
- My job, which although uncertain lately, still keeps me in the top 5% or so of earners each year!
I think I covered a lot of ground on the gratitude front: I had parents, I survived my youth, I have a family, I have my health and I have a job/career. Can you find any similar reasons to be grateful in any of those categories? If not, then you really did get a raw deal. If nothing else, I can offer you this.
Blogs to be Thankful For
A little entertainment and education over the Thanksgiving break. Here are some of my favorite blog posts from some of my favorite bloggers over the past few weeks:
- From my favorite Physician blogger, I think you’ll really enjoy the banter in PoF’s, Christopher Guest Post: Early Retirement Now! He’s always witty and insightful and in this interview you’ll get two writers for the price of one.
- From my favorite recently retired former executive, ESI lays out The Ten Worst Money Mistakes Anyone Can Make in a classic post. Who better to provide advice, than someone who has been there, done that, and retired early?
- From my favorite avian-themed blogger, The Green Swan indulges his Urge to Purge. Having saved over $1 million dollars in 10 years, The Green Swan takes up the challenge to clean out and minimize!
- From my favorite Iowa-based blogger, Amanda shares her deepest and darkest Confessions of a Personal Finance Blogger. In addition to a passion for personal finance, we both share an affinity for the native Korean sport of Tae Kwon Do!
- And, although I was warned as a child not to associate with people living in trailers, from my favorite Airstream-based blogger, Steve ponders, Is Life More Difficult for Those That Are Frugal?
I hope that you all have time this holiday to relax, unplug and enjoy some time with your friends and family. Remember that we all have something to be grateful for if you think about it hard enough.
And, if you have some down time between Uncle Frank’s drunken Donald Trump rantings or Aunt Sally going on and on about how tall everyone has gotten, then check out the blog posts above. I think you’ll enjoy them, I know I did!
Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!
If you had to pick one thing to be thankful for, what would it be? Aside from catching-up on your blog reading, what fun things will you be doing this Thanksgiving?