I’m thankful it’s over. Thanksgiving. I’m so bored with people who are thankful for the stuff that’s easy. It’s easy to sit around and dreamily think up universal, corny sounding things to be thankful for, like nature’s bounty or family. Even worse: giving someone else the credit for what you have (I’m thankful to [insert favorite deity here], for bringing [insert name of special person] into my life.) Those drive me crazy. Are those same people thanking their favorite deity for the first spouse he or she brought into their life? The one they divorced for blowing the rent money every month on strippers? This guy God gets the credit for the winning moments, but not the crushing defeats? Sorry, but I’m taking the credit for the wins andthe losses, thank you very much. I’m thankful that I finally got myself together enough to attract the greatest husband in history. I did that. Thanks, Me.
But I digress.
I’m sure all of the “I’m thankful-for…” posts that people throw up (no pun intended) on Facebook are heartfelt, but are they honest and revealing? Are they representative of how we’re feeling on any given day when we’re in the weeds of life, amid the confusion, frustration, anger and resentment that knocks on our mental door when we’re out of beer? Sure, these feelings are fleeting, with a shelf-life of about two seconds, but that doesn’t make them any less exhausting, which makes them being lifted from our shoulders something we truly should feel gratitude for—right there in the moment, when it counts the most.
I had one of these real thankful moments just the other day, when the kids were all off from school for the holiday. I certainly was not thankful about that, but I was thankful for open floor plans, so that I could boss everyone around while working in my home office. As I was pointing out that I had gone shopping the day before and that there was plenty of soup in the cupboard and leftover breadsticks, and that they didn’t have to have the soup, because there was also ham in the fridge and pizza in the garage freezer and…my husband cut me off! At that moment, I checked myself and acknowledged my gratitude for having a husband who knows where the kitchen is and isn’t afraid to use it. Later, when I found out they had crackers and butter for lunch, I was thankful for duct tape, so I could finish reciting the entire contents of the cupboards and the fridge to him, without interruption, just like my mom taught me to do. Thanks, Mom.
Just a little while later, I was thankful that my husband cracked a beer because his brother told him via text that it’s ok to do so the day before a major holiday, thereby justifying the Irish I’d snuck into my coffee earlier that morning. Thanks, interfamilial co-dependency.
I’m thankful for the death penalty, because I’d have to spend the rest of my life in prison if I acted on impulse and offed one of my kids. Like, just yesterday, when my 16-year old son grumpily sat down to write thank-you notes for his birthday presents. Among the hard-hitting questions he asked me were, “How do you do this?” and “What’s Grandpa’s last name?” So thanks, penal system.
I am always thankful for solitude. On any given day, especially when I’m cooking dinner, I am thankful for long sports practices. No complaining here. Go ahead and keep them through dinner; just make sure practice starts before I start reading a recipe. Thanks, coaches.
I’m constantly thanking the unknown force in the universe that makes working from home a reality. In my pajamas recently, I was thankful that I could hit the sack during a conference call with my boss and not have any explaining to do. And that very same day, I was thankful that the co-worker I was instant messaging couldn’t see me rolling my eyes at her dumb idea. And almost every day I’m thankful for the ‘microphone mute’ button that allows me to pee during a company meeting. Thanks, Internet.
No doubt, being thankful is easy when you want to impress people with mindless gratitude platitudes. But it takes active participation to notice the truly deserving things you should be thankful for.
Try it today, even though the turkey carcass, not to be confused with the houseguests, are finally gone: Acknowledge your gratitude for the little moments of clarity that keep you in the moment and out of prison for another day.