By Jennifer Thompson
I’ve decided that in speaking to the readers of U.S. Legacies this month about Thanksgiving, I’ll say a little more about being thankful and grateful than what may be expected. Perspective is important in the world we live in today, and our perspective of our lives sometimes becomes very unrealistic. Being over optimistic, true, may cause more harm than good, but in today’s American society, the goals we set for ourselves are often so high and we expect so much that it becomes all consuming. We miss noticing the things that we have to be happy about.
I don’t exclude myself in making this point; in fact, I consider myself a good example. As a not-so-wealthy student, I spend a little too much time punishing myself for starting college so late, while at the same time struggling to begin my career as a freelance writer and holding a full time job. Sometimes I have to remind myself that instead, I should feel fortunate that I have a job in a time when too many are unemployed, and the opportunity to receive my education and to spend time doing what I love. As for wealth, statistics show that if you own a computer, you are among the worlds wealthiest one percent.
Take this month to slow down and reflect, if just for a moment. In light of current world events, it should be especially easy to recognize those things for which we can be grateful. In comparison to most of the world, we are lucky to live in America and to have an abundance of food, homes, choices and freedoms. The majority of the worlds citizens don’t even have the conveniences that we view as necessities. Enjoy the holiday with your family; be happy to see them and appreciate these people that are part of you, and cherish the heritage that you each share. Concentrate on that, instead of the inconvenience of the trip to get together. If it gets on your nerves that old Uncle Ernie tells the same story over and over, focus instead on the value that you have in a family to celebrate with that shares the same memories, and be glad that Uncle Ernie is still here to tell it.
Jennifer Thompson,Column Editor
Published in U S Legacies Magazine in November 2003