Thanks, But No Thanksgiving

Maybe I missed the memo on this, but has November become the black sheep of the calendar family? It seems we’ve gone from wearing scary costumes to Santa costumes in the span of, oh, minutes after Halloween ended. It’s almost as though we’ve forgotten the major holiday that occurs in November: Black Friday.

Seriously, though, we’re more interested in running up credit card debts we’ll be paying off right around next Christmas than we are about being thankful for what we have right now. Granted, COVID-19 and 2020 in general make it harder to be thankful than usual, but I’ve noticed this trend well before this year. It seems like the one time of the year set aside to appreciate what God (or whatever entity you worship or don’t worship) has given us has been replaced by a new god. No matter how cool the PlayStation 5 is, that should give us pause for concern.

It’s natural to want to have what others want and to get it first so you can be the envy of your friends. This feeling has grown to Godzilla-sized proportions with society getting more narcissistic and tech-addicted because they have allowed us to shrink our universe where we are the center of it and can document it all from the exhilarating to the mundane. Technology has also allowed us to reshape our reality for the online world. Don’t like your face? There are any number of filters and cartoonish features that you can add! Think you look fat in your pictures? A little Photoshop work and you’re thinner than the plot of a romance novel. You can be the perfect you in your own little world.

But the problems really start when you prefer your little world to the real world. Ego is a double-edged Sword of Damocles. A healthy ego allows you to be proud of who you are while admitting you’re imperfect. An unhealthy ego doesn’t split the difference; you either love yourself excessively or hate yourself excessively. And right now, there are a lot of people comfortable with loving themselves.

I know this seems like an odd tangent when we were just talking about Thanksgiving, but here’s the payoff. When your ego is inflated like the Goodyear blimp, you start thinking everything good comes from you, thus you have nothing to be thankful for than you. I’m sure that saves time when it comes to thinking what to be thankful for this year, but it alienates a lot of people in the process.

I have a saying: “Success is never singular.” What I mean by that is you never achieve a personal goal without some help along the way. Think back to some of your greatest achievements in life and look at who was there for you as you achieved them. A teacher, a loved one, an author, the list is potentially endless, but they’re all united by the fact they gave you the tools to be the best you can be. When you look at life in that way, you learn to appreciate more and be grandiose less.

In other words, you learn to be more…what’s the word…oh, yeah, thankful.

Even with COVID-19 taking a big chunk of the heart of Thanksgiving, we can still take a moment to be thankful. After all, the Pilgrims had a rough go of it, and they didn’t even care about what Black Friday deals the local trappers had. Even when they had little, they were thankful for what they had. In today’s world of instant gratification, ego stroking, and trying to keep up with the Joneses, it shouldn’t take less time to appreciate who and what you have in your lives than it does to place an Amazon order or post a heavily-filtered selfie on Instagram.

Yet, somehow, I think the majority of people will do just that. That doesn’t give you an out, though. Take a moment or several to open your heart and mind to the possibility/probability there are people you should be thankful for and then thank them, publicly or privately. You’d be surprised at just how awesome you feel afterwards. The turkey tastes juicier, the mashed potatoes and gravy taste better, the cranberry sauce tastes…well, I don’t know because I don’t touch the stuff, but the point is your perspective changes when you are thankful for what you have. Money can buy you a new iPhone, but it can’t buy you a moment of personal reflection and gratitude.

Author: Thomas

I'm a writer and a ranger and a young boy bearing arms. And two out of the three don't count.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *