Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. Although it started with religion, it's become a secular holiday that's pretty pure. Everyone who celebrates it does so with people they're close to, and they think about what they're thankful for. There's a bit of gluttony mixed in, but even that includes a lot of healthy food.
Today will be the first time I celebrate Thanksgiving with friends instead of family. I'm grateful to have the option, and it makes me think of how lucky I am to have such great friends and family. I love my friends as though they're family, and I consider my family members to be some of my closest friends as well.
The emotion I feel the most throughout my day is gratitude. I'm always thinking about the various people in my life and how lucky I am to have them there. I think about the people who were in my life but aren't anymore, and I'm grateful for how they affected me. I think about how lucky I am to have a roof over my head, Chipotle and sardines in my belly, and the ability to constantly travel around the world. I think about how glad I am that this world exists and that I get to be here. That one fluke alone is enough to flood my brain with gratitude.
And, of course, I'm grateful to have you and people like you reading my blog and my books. I was having dinner with my friend Ramit the other night and we were talking about blogging. I told him that I may not have as many readers as some other blogs, but that I thought my readers were the best group of readers out there. I'd take that trade any day. Whenever I meet you guys I'm totally humbled to have such smart and interesting people care about what I write.
I always mean to write something on the anniversary of my blog (a couple weeks ago), but I forget. I've been writing for eleven years now and it's been one of the most positive things in my life. And, of course, 95% of that is because of the great people who read my blog and the serendipity that results in having some form of contact with 15,000+ people.
Gratitude is unique for a couple reasons. First, it's one of the most powerful emotions. If I take a couple minutes to think about things I'm thankful for, I become almost overwhelmed with positivity.
Second, sources of gratitude are free and universal. I can think simply of the fact that the world exists and that I get to experience it — that one thing that we all share is a never-ending source of joy.
With one simple habit, taking a few moments to think about the miracle of life and this universe, anyone can flood their brain with those positive emotion chemicals. That's pretty cool.
Thank you for taking the time to read what I write. If I know you in real life, thank you for being part of my life. Let's all remember to be grateful every day. And when bad things happen, let's be grateful for the lessons we'll learn and the fact we're alive and able to face those challenges.
Photo is some mice in a zoo. I lost my sd card from my phone so I don't have a lot of photos handy anymore. They're backed up, though.
I am also a long time reader. You inspired me to become a minimalist and you give me food for thought with struggles in life. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
I've been a reader for almost 10 of those years. When I started reading your blog I was stuck in a job I hated in Houston, TX doing accounting. Your blog really inspired me to look for opportunities and take risks. Not the exact same path as you perhaps, but now I'm in the Bay Area working for a major tech company on the engineering ladder. Thank you for giving me up hope all those years ago and continuing to write entertaining content.
Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. The other ones are weird religious inventions or consumerized hijackings of religious inventions. And sure, the origins of thanksgiving are a bit murky, but it's hard to argue with such a simple holiday: spend some time with your family and/or friends, and be thankful.
I especially like that it's about appreciating what we already have, taking a break from the distraction of every day life, and thinking about all of the good things that make it up.
Today, as I spend time with some of them, I've been thinking about how thankful I am for my family. I've always gotten along really well with my family, but since most of them were around by the time I was born, I'm sure I have a tendency to take them for granted. As a kid I always just assumed that everyone had a great family and that their family was behind them supporting them all the time. Then, as I grew up, I saw situations where that wasn't the case, and I realized how good I have it.
I have three fantastic siblings, any or all of whom I enjoy spending unlimited time with. We each live in different cities now, but when we're together it's like we're best friends. Besides a scuffle over a plastic ninja sword as a kid, I can't think of a single fight I've had with any of them.
Back when I was a kid, Thanksgiving was my most unfavorite of holidays. I mean….boring. Aside from getting time off school, it was a bunch of adults sitting around eating turkey, no presents, no costumes, no real fun of any kind. Yawn. Fast forward to adulthood and I gotta say…Thanksgiving has now become one of my very favorite days. It’s a time to gather together with family and friends, eat fabulous food and just be thankful for all the wonderful things in our lives without all the stress and pressure that sometimes accompanies Christmas. Dear Thanksgiving, I am sorry I maligned you for so long and to make up for it, here are the things I am happy about, or grateful for, when it comes to Thanksgiving:
1.Gratitude – At its core, Thanksgiving is a gratitude ritual. We gather together to reflect back on the year, count our blessings and give thanks for the good stuff in our lives. What a marvelous, life-affirming tradition.
2.Family – Thanksgiving is a pretty low-key, relaxed kinda deal that focuses on getting the family together and I really dig that. And when I say family, I am including close friends because in my mind…friends are the family you choose for yourself. (Looking forward to seeing mom, dad and the nephews!)
3.Giving – I really like that the energy around Thanksgiving is one of giving and sharing. People have potlucks, bring wine, share what they’re grateful for…it’s not overly commercialized or focused on buying/receiving. This is probably why most retail stores jump straight from Halloween to Christmas with their displays, because there’s not a lot of money to be made off giving and being thankful, but that’s what I love about it.
4.Good Eats – Okay, I admit I am a bit of a foodie, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the awesome food that accompanies Thanksgiving. I especially like how all the traditional family recipes make an appearance on this day, the ones that remind you of grandma or childhood. It’s comfort food at its highest level.