Thanksgiving is officially one week away and I can’t help but allow daydreams about turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie with extra cool whip dance through my brain.
If you couldn’t tell, I am very thankful for a hot meal!!
But, that’s not just because I am a college student on a budget who needs a (free) hot meal to keep my sanity. I’m also thankful that I am privileged enough to have a warm home to return to and a big meal to enjoy surrounded by a loving family.
If you’re similarly privileged, having a home and a hot meal to come home to probably sounds like a microscopic, almost negligible thing to even stop and think about. But we shouldn’t take things like this for granted. My goal for this Thanksgiving (and the rest of this year) is to reflect on all those tiny things that I barely take the time to think about, much less feel grateful for.
Everyone’s life situation is different, so of course not all of these will apply to everyone. But read on for my list of all the little things I often forget to be thankful for, and let these reminders help you live a more grateful Thanksgiving and life:
1. Having a home to actually go home to. If you’re lucky enough to have this, don’t take it for granted! Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families suffering in California.
2. Hot meals and never having to worry when our next one might be. Again, this is something that many people don’t have this time of year.
3. Family who loves you through every moment in your life (even the bad ones). No matter how big or small, if you have a loving family, you’re truly blessed.
4. Being able to see the world through our own eyes. There’s only one you who has experienced what you have. That’s pretty cool to think about.
5. Being able to physically and legally voice our opinions, letting ourselves be heard. (See my post on avoiding post-election apathy to be reminded of the importance of voicing your opinion!)
6. Clean sheets and having a clean place to sleep every night. There’s nothing like the cozy feeling of clean sheets and a full night’s sleep ahead of you.
7. The companionship of our pets (especially if you’ve been missing yours while you’re away at college)
8. Our access to electricity and wireless internet. Although it’s hard to believe, hundreds of millions of people still live without these things.
9. Parents who will help no matter the bind you find yourself in. See #3, family, above.
10. Our health. As young people, most of us are the healthiest we will be in our lives. Don’t take that for granted!
11. Being able to learn from our mistakes. As the famous quote says, “Many times what we perceive as an error or failure is actually a gift.”
12. Books to read. (And if you need a non-school book to read, see our books section!)
13. Fresh air to breathe. Sometimes something as simple as this is worth appreciating — after all, not everyone has this either.
14. Time to live the life you want. As college students, we still have many years ahead of us to spend as we choose. This is a powerful thing!
15. Our ability to hear and listen to the world around us. Spend some time outside over break and take in the sounds of the outdoors.
16. Music that moves us. Enough said.
17. The ability to learn and to teach. There is always something new to discover or master, if we only put our minds to it.
18. Getting up in the morning and being able to put on clothing you want to wear. Expressing yourself through fashion is a privilege; many don’t have nearly as many clothing choices or freedoms as we do.
19. Warm winter coats. Ahhhh
20. The holidays. They’ll be here so soon!
21. Opportunities to help those around us. There is always a way that you can help, whether it’s in your local community or just through the internet. (Here are some ways to keep giving after the holidays are over.)
22. Nature, and how it’s always there when you need it. This goes back to number 15, being able to hear the sounds of nature. There’s nothing like time spent outside to truly ground you and clear your mind.
23. Clean drinking water (and never having to think about whether your water is clean or not).
24. Good memories that can warm your spirit on a difficult day.
25. Long, hot showers and bubble baths in (#23) clean water. (Bonus points if you happen to be stocked up on bath bombs.)
26. Random acts of kindness, and your ability to carry these out for others. Pay for someone’s latte at the coffee shop or give someone an unexpected compliment! It all counts.
27. The changing seasons. Just marvel at them for a minute.
28. Hugging and holding the hands of someone you love.
29. The people around us who make life worth living, whether they’re friends, a significant other, family members, coworkers, or roomies.
30. And finally, the fact that every day we wake up and get to live another day being grateful! This is a gift in itself.
There are so many things in life to be thankful for — I urge you to find something you have never held in such high regard before and hold it close to your heart.
Be thankful for that today, on Thanksgiving day, and every day after!
I want to hear from you in the comments below!
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season? What in your life ends up going unthanked? What is something new you want to be thankful for?