The most frequent combination of words that I speak on a daily basis might be ‘Thank You’ and its variations. I often take pause to reflect on moments that I am thankful for on a daily basis. For example: when my wife is nervous about what’s taking so long at the supermarket, when my kids are tickling the holy hell out of each other and belly laughing, or when I’m driving throughout all five boroughs of New York City in an eight-hour period, I will soak those moments in. The fact that I have a cellphone, a happy family, and a car are all things that amaze me.
I wonder if being reflective and appreciative is enough? Certainly it is a start, but the daily practice of writing down ten things every day that I am thankful for – that means with a pen and paper, not just thinking about it – is said to be quite fruitful. I’ve done it once, though I’ve never committed to the exercise. The one time I did try it, it gave the rest of the day a new perspective.
For me, the story of Thanksgiving that I learned in Social Studies classes is a joke. I would like to read a good book or two about what really happened. The notion of a festive dinner between a bunch of English explorers and Native Americans happily exchanging gifts feels like a fairy tale. Show me the disease-spreading, murder, and forceful possession of lands that really took place. Reading recommendations are welcome.
My story of Thanksgiving is one that I hope most of you share, one that takes place each year around family and friends. Even if we do convene for reasons partially based on myth, it is the gathering that is important now. Sitting together is something we all need to do once in a while.
I know that’s not the case for everyone. I wish that anyone who wants a seat at a table would also have a table to be invited to. I’m sure we all have a neighbor we could ask.
I will not be shopping anywhere on Thanksgiving. I noticed that my local Starbucks will be open tomorrow. I am upset by this. Every non-essential business should be closed. Employees have families.
I will brew my own coffee beans tomorrow. Starbucks won’t give a damn about me not buying my coffee there tomorrow. But I don’t have to shop there five days every week either.
If we’re going to have a holiday made for giving special thanks, let’s make it about actually stopping to give thanks – not profits or fables.