November rolls around each year and everyone begins to post the mundane parts of their day they are thankful for. “I’m thankful my coffee machine turned on on time this morning,” “I’m thankful for a car that works.” It’s not that I don’t appreciate the sentiment. I truly do. I think we could all do with a little more thanks in this life.
My trouble surrounds me with the idea that 1. I’m not particularly thankful during the holidays. I have an often strained relationship with many people in my life and unfortunately go in and out of getting along with my family. And I find it SO exhausting to be around people anyway, that trying to put on the airs needed to be with my family takes everything I have. They get one holiday visit a year… At best.
But the other issue I have is that I’m thankful the rest of the year. I may not adore the holidays, but the rest of the year, I’m pretty grateful for all that I have. It’s hard not to be when I have seen what can happen to life. Even to the best people I know.
But this year is different. And maybe the timing of this mystery illness is the universe telling me that it’s time to tell people to suck it up.
I’m not saying don’t be thankful, I’m saying, be thankful for real blessings. I’m glad your coffee maker worked this morning, or that you think sunsets are beautiful, but really, have you thought long and hard about the real blessings?
I hate to say it’s diluting the “thankful pool” but it sort of is.
I am guilty of writing thankful posts. I tend to write them when things are tough and I need a reminder of what I have. I become grateful for my favorite soda in the fridge to remind myself that things could be worse.
Sadly, things are worse.
You never really, truly appreciate the things you take for granted until they are gone. That’s the point and nature of taking something for granted. So, I, like many others, have taken some of my most basic blessings for granted. Blessings like walking.
I like to run, I work out, and I complained that I gained weight and was struggling to lose it again. The weight gain was the result of a ban on exercising because of my carpal tunnel syndrome. It was a fair reason to gain and a fair reason to struggle to lose it. But you know what? I may not have been able to run, but I could have walked. I could have walked the calories away, but I didn’t. I chose to say that because I couldn’t run those three miles, I had to suffer the weight.
I was wrong.
So, while I would love to say be thankful, I am, instead, going to ask you to be thoughtful. Be thoughtful of the blessings you have. I can’t tell you not to take things for granted, it’s something we all do. I do it, I will continue to do it, and I will be guilty of it for the rest of my life. It is the nature of being human.
But anyone can give thanks for what they have. I can list you 100 things right now that I am thankful for that have nothing to do with anything all that truly special or important. I am thankful for my dog being a warmer when I’m cold on the couch, for instance. So, instead, I am choosing to be thoughtful in my thanks this year.
I am now painfully aware that I took running, walking, going up and down stairs, and the simple act of getting in and out of bed without help for granted. I am now thoughtfully thankful that I have the chance to have those things back someday. I am aware of all of the little things in my life that I never thought much about, until the morning I woke up and couldn’t walk.
I am thoughtful this Thanksgiving for the first time in a long time. And while not being able to walk hasn’t healed my relationships or created a Christmas miracle worthy of a TV special, it did show me how much we have that we take for granted. Those are the things we should be spending 28 days giving thanks for.
*** If you’d like to follow my journey from illness, through diagnosis and treatment, be sure to following me on Facebook and Instagram, where I share my daily struggles and triumphs.