This last year has been tough for a lot of people, and it goes way beyond the pandemic, as we all know. Here are some things you can be grateful for, even in the middle of chaos.
- First, having people gathered around your table under your own roof is something to be hugely happy about. Right now, many would-be buyers are priced out of the housing market. And if you don’t own your home, you can still be grateful for the roof over your head. For all too many people, that’s simply a luxury they can’t afford. Your domain, no matter how humble, is a place to call home. It shelters you from the cold and allows you to feel safe. It’s a place to create and enjoy a meal with others. Acknowledge that feeling of gratitude, and let it run through you.
- Even if you are homeless, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to gather with other people and share a holiday meal. You can join others for dinner at one of many meals that are available at local shelters or houses of worship. And if you have a home, may I suggest that you volunteer your time to serve those who are in need? Isn’t that the essence of Thanksgiving? I have done it many times and always end up having fun and feeling blessed.
- Gas prices are the highest ever seen, and it’s hurting most everyone, but if you have a car and can afford to get to work every day, be grateful. Even if you’re driving an old clunker, you can feel good about it. If you equate your status with what you drive, consider reordering your priorities. Our current vehicle is going on 15 years, and with a few recent tweaks at the mechanics, it’s running fine. It’s getting us through “Carmageddon,” so I’m grateful. You’ve probably gotten through worse times than these, too, and that’s something else to feel good about.
- Are you going to get several days off of work? What an amazing gift! Be grateful not only for the holiday but for the job you have. If you like your work and your colleagues, that’s a real bonus. And now you can enjoy some time off to be with your family. Many people have decided to slow down, to quell their ambition in favor of a softer lifestyle. Nothing wrong with that. If you are not working and want to be, the good news is there are still many gigs available.
- Finally, be grateful if you aren’t sick. If you have had or currently have COVID-19, then take extra good care of yourself. Many people have had COVID more than once, and no one knows about the new variants yet. I am grateful we have medications and a better standard of care than in 2019, when all this started. Recently I got cocky and didn’t follow the protocols for just a few days, and bam! Keep up whatever it is you are doing to stay healthy.
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We can all still find things to complain about, but this holiday is about remembering the good in our lives and expressing our gratitude in the ways that mean the most to each of us.
Dr. Barton Goldsmith is a psychotherapist. Email him at Barton@bartongoldsmith.com.