Because seriously, reading about what people are thankful for gets boring pretty quickly. Of course we are all thankful for our healthy families, secure homes, stable finances, loving spouses, jobs, smart phones, heated houses, running water, pets, electricity, food, computers….. the list could go on and on! Sometimes I think that it can be pretty trite for people to talk about what they are thankful for only during the month of November and especially on Thanksgiving Day. Shouldn’t we be thankful all the time? I’m a firm believer that it’s not enough to simply talk about what you are thankful for. It is your responsibility to make life full, robust, and completely worth living, not only for yourself, but for your family, your friends, and the community around you.
I liken this to the “campsite rule,”: Leave it better than you found it. This is a good rule to live by. Since we were all born on the same planet we all have the same responsibility to contribute to the greater good of this planet. We all have the responsibility to not just complain about all the problems in this world, but to actively look for and contribute to solutions. It is not enough to just stand by and let others take the lead while you blindly follow. It is your responsibility to make sure that not only your voice is heard, but to also speak for those who can’t. To advocate for those who are unable to stand up for themselves. You have to keep the campsite clean not only for yourself and for the society of today, but for the many generations to come.
This all sounds a little lofty and idealistic, no? I am an idealist at heart. But while we can all daydream about a better tomorrow, a tomorrow we could be much more thankful for, we can do a lot of concrete things today. Start with yourself. The day isn’t over yet; what have you done for someone else? For yourself? If you have been doing a lot of things for other people today (and I know this is the case if you are mom like myself) do something to take care of yourself. Whether its reading, taking a nap, taking a shower, working out, or eating some leftover pumpkin pie (with whip cream!!) you will give yourself that boost you need. And that boost will help you take care of others even better! Have you been really focused on yourself lately? Occupied with your finances, job, cleaning, getting ahead, etc.? Try doing something for someone else. Get together with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, do something nice for your neighbor across the street, volunteer, donate to a charity, or just call your mom (She wants to talk to you. Trust me.) The point is that we are all capable of many things and it is our responsibility to make sure that we are conducting our lives in a way that fulfills our full potential. When you are working the hardest and smartest you can, parenting the best you can, being a friend the best way you know how, supporting and lifting others up, giving of your time, talent and energy in every way possible, doing the best you can to create a balanced, full and whole life, you are helping to create a world that is worth being thankful for.
It’s not enough to just BE thankful. You have to WORK to make life worth being thankful for. None of the things and people we are thankful for just drop down from the sky. Relationships are there to be worked on. All the things we have around us are the products of our labor. Our society exists because we all contribute to it in one way or another. It is our responsibility to make a life and a society that we can all be thankful for. The times we are living in right now make many people nervous and anxious (myself included). But I am thankful that I have the ability to get up every day and do something to make this world a little better than I found it. You have the ability to make the world better, no matter who you are, where you come from, or your what your strengths and weakness are.
I challenge you to do something today, and everyday, to make the world a better place. Start small. Think local. Or think big and go global! Do something. Anything! You won’t regret your efforts to change the world.
Don’t just be thankful. Work to make the world worth being thankful for.
Happy Belated Thanksgiving Everyone!