Today is Thanksgiving in America. “Yanksgiving” as we’ve taken to calling it in order to differentiate from regular (Canadian) Thanksgiving that happened back in October. I am volunteering at SAM tonight and tomorrow we are going up to Whistler to join some friends for a ski weekend. So we have no real dinner plans and no bird in the oven. It feels strange, but then it also feels strange to have Thanksgiving while it’s snowing out. We’ll adjust. But while I’m alright with passing on turkey, I can’t let the occasion slip by without thanks.
I listened to the first episode of the Good Life Project podcast yesterday, during which they asked Brené Brown what it takes to live a good life. Her response, without hesitation, was gratitude. It’s important. She then went on to say, “I think for me, a good life happens when you stop and are grateful for the ordinary moments that so many of us just steamroll over to try to find those extraordinary moments. So my good life is soccer practice and carpool line and tuck-ins and date night…and knowing that it’s good.”
I haven’t been very good at that lately. I’ve been trying to grow and change things in literally every aspect of my life and it’s so hard. I am struggling and getting frustrated with my lack of progress. The gap between where I am and where I want to be seems so huge and while I do make a daily note on things I am grateful for, they are usually small or specific; coffee, someone backing up in a crosswalk to let me walk through, a good book to pass the time…the kinds of stuff that is so easy to miss when you’re bogged down in other things.
Even today, a day of thanks, I’ve been stressed out trying to write a good sample for my grad school application and not being very grateful that Matt made me a nice breakfast and took the dog for a walk (nevermind that he helped me with the sample as well), so taking time to notice and appreciate makes a big difference.
Some of the things to be grateful for though have been enormous and can’t go unmentioned – people I have just met offering up their entire contact list to help with my job search, people that I don’t know at all befriending us and making us feel welcome, coworkers and clients I haven’t talked to in ages giving me recommendations, friends coming to visit and making sure we’re settled in ok. The enormity of the gifts and the impossibility of never being able to give it all back feels a bit overwhelming but the simple grace of being grateful and expressing gratitude helps lighten the load.
And all of the foundational pieces supporting quietly in the background; health, wealth, family, friends, clean water. I’ve had so many of the extraordinary experiences that Brené Brown talks about and I am so grateful for them…for this life. But I like the reminder and the opportunity – the grace – to bring that thanks front and centre and try to live it in every moment.