By Corinne Wnek
One of the first things good parents teach their children is the importance of saying please and thank you for something we want or have received. What’s cuter than a three-year-old echoing the “thank you” his parents said for the cookie you just gave him? But as we get older, we can lose sight of our indebtedness to one another and “thank you” might not roll off our lips as quickly as it once did. We might need a gratitude adjustment.
Maybe that’s because adults get caught up in trying to balance the demands of everyday life and then lament about the things that they think are missing from their life. Thanksgiving Day reminds us to look closely at all that we have both personally and as citizens of this country. As Americans, this holiday is important to us and not just because it ushers in Santa for the holiday season.
As an adult, my list of things to be thankful for is different from the things of my youth. That’s the nice thing about aging. We are enriched by our experiences and newfound perspective. The phrase ‘keep it simple’ is now music to my ears, while, as a ‘thirty something’, it was ‘more is better’.
But upon reflection, I’m thankful for so much these days that it is hard to know just where to start. I’m grateful, for instance, to have a job, and to have a job that I love. Yet, I’m mindful of how many people are still without work as we head into the most commercialized time of the year.
I’m thankful for all the freedoms we enjoy in this country and maybe even take for granted. All it takes is a peek at the news on TV to remind us that other people on this planet are still fighting oppression, poverty and the worse disease of all, despair.
I’m thankful that I am in excellent health and that cancer has not returned. Yet, I am saddened for those I know who are declining physically and how they desperately yearn for the days when they were pain free.
I’m thankful for my family and assorted relatives, some of whom are more relative than others. But they are a part of family history and so, they are, well, relative. I promise myself to make a stronger effort to reach out to people who are alone, not just at this time of the year, but even long after the Christmas ornaments are put away.
I have learned over the years to not wish for the moon, but to be thankful for the star or two that comes my way, maybe in the form of a compassionate doctor, thoughtful neighbor, good friend or loving family member. I’m thankful for the wisdom of age that says, ultimately, it’s the ‘who’s’ that really count in our lives, not the ‘what’s’.
Excluding the turkey, of course.
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