As Thanksgiving approaches, I think it's important to take a gratitude inventory. A number of things in life can make us uncomfortable or even a little miffed. But sometimes they are gifts in disguise. With that in mind, here are my top ten things to be thankful for.
1. Be thankful for growing older. Not everyone gets this opportunity. Aging with health and grace is a rare and beautiful gift.
2. Be thankful that you can read these words. It is a very sad thing that many people do not have the ability to read.
3. If you have to wait in line at the supermarket for your Thanksgiving dinner, be thankful that you can afford what you want to eat and have a convenient place to buy it. We are all aware of the many people waiting in line to have a meal at the local homeless shelter.
4. Be thankful for the ability to pay your bills, even if it means that you have to give up some things that you want. Remember that having basic needs met is a luxury for many people.
5. If you have to get up before dawn to get to work, be thankful that you get to see another sunrise and have a job to go to. Think about what it would be like if you slept everyday until noon and spent the rest of your waking hours wondering what to do with your life.
6. When you're stuck in traffic, be thankful you have a car to get where you need to go and money to buy gas. Standing in the rain while waiting for a bus is, at the very least, uncomfortable.
7. When the kids are screaming at each other, be thankful that you have children to love and who love you, and remember that at least some of the time, they do get along. There will always be bumps in the road, but they are usually followed by easier times.
8. When your mate is acting grumpy or giving you a hard time, be thankful for having love in your life and someone to grow old with. A life partner is something that less than half the population has. Having your partner is a blessing that needs to be counted several times.
9. When your parents are telling you how to run your life, be thankful that you still have them around. If they are no longer with you, take a moment to be thankful for the time you had with them.
10. When you sit down with your loved ones for your Thanksgiving dinner, be thankful for everyone and everything that makes it possible. Look your family and friends in the eye and express to them your gratitude for sharing this wonderful time together.
Thanksgiving is a very special holiday. Embrace those around you and your ability to give thanks to those you love.
by Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D.