Yes it’s two days after Thanksgiving, but whatever.
Lately I have found it easier and easier to dwell upon my troubles than some of the “yay” moments. I think by nature we are used to dedicating more time to our stresses, and only allowing ourselves to feel content until the next crisis comes around. This might also explain why so many people claim that nightly news channels only report the “bad news” (a notion I disagree with, but that’s for another post).
But I choose to dwell on the things I truly give thanks for – both the good and the not-as-good – at least for this week. Saying what each person is grateful for at the Thanksgiving dinner table prior to eating was never a part of the Trudes’ annual tradition, but I figured this might be as good a time as any to revisit some areas in my life worth giving a shout-out to:
This semester, time has been a form of currency that I always seem to be in endless pursuit of. I’m always on my way somewhere or multitasking various activities at once, sadly leaving little time for extended pleasantries. I have come to the point of no longer adding “We need to hang out soon!” to the end of my sentences not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t want to leave anyone hanging (a practice more people should exercise, methinks). However, I am thankful for the time I have been given, and the moments I’ve gotten to spend philosophizing with my close friends as though no time has passed at all, as well as having those last-minute, pleasantly unexpected moments with friends I don’t get to see as often.
It’s easy to complain about school and course expectations, but regardless, I am thankful for the knowledge I’ve gained from it. It’s been a rough semester, having predominantly writing-intensive classes on top of a writing-intensive job. But without the chaos of it all, I wouldn’t have had the chance to better understand social media as a global political tool and do more research about it on my own. I wouldn’t have been as exposed to Russian literature or ancient Japanese haikus. I wouldn’t have had the chance to think on my feet while having my thesis critiqued by various PhDs and graduate students. And I wouldn’t have come to the conclusion of being 90% sure I don’t want to go to grad school (those last two things *might* be related).
Two eyes, two ears, two legs, one heart
Likewise, it’s not hard to criticize ourselves for our physical flaws and the things that probably no one will care about at your funeral. I once read this quote (paraphrased), “I’m thankful for the fullness of my stomach, for it means I am fortunate enough to know the feeling of being full.” Rather than solely focusing on being thankful for sustenance, I am grateful for every basic physical part of myself. I have good enough vision to take in the world around me (and in HD, if I wear my glasses), the ability to hear and listen to the amazing stories of other people, two functioning legs that enable me to walk, run, and wander, knowing full well this comes as a luxury to others. I have two hands with which to serve, and a pumping heart whose beats keep in time with my fellow humans’.
Trial and Error
And lastly, as odd it sounds, I am thankful for every moment where I’ve felt hopelessly lost, rejected, or just generally confused. Had I not been confronted by some harsh realities or my own life questions, I would not be forced to think about the tough stuff. Being lost enabled me to find my way to what I most value, and experiencing rejection from one outlet or another allowed for other incredible opportunities to come my direction.