I love the fall. The leaves start to change, the temperature starts to drop, and I can feel the change in the air. It’s the season for football, sweatshirts, potlucks, and pumpkin-flavored everything. Cool crisp air, beautiful colors, bonfires with s’smores and hot drinks. It is, by far, my favorite time of year.
Fall can get a bad reputation – either it is too warm or too cold, it doesn’t last long enough, it’s a precursor to winter or it’s the end of summer. But when I think of fall on its own – everything about it is wonderful. It is also called the “start of the holiday season” which, I think, is a bit absurd because quite frankly there’s a whole month from the time fall starts to the first fall holiday (hello Halloween).
Tensions start to run high when the temperatures drop low, because so many things happen with the holidays. Vacations and family visits and kids out of school, teammates taking time off at work, cooking, cleaning, driving a million places. Shopping. It can all feel a bit overwhelming. When everything seems so daunting, it might be difficult to think of anything to be thankful for. I have a few ideas. I try to write a gratitude list a few times a week – it reminds me that I have a lot in my life that is wonderful. They don’t have to be big things. Just small things can help change a perspective.
So, here’s a list of a few small things that might help you be grateful around Thanksgiving.
Smartphones. I know, there are articles all over the place that say they’re the downfall of society. Which I almost always read on my smartphone. Really though, I am connected to every person in my life who loves me, novels to read, games to play, maps to get me places and recipes to share with family, memes to make me laugh, the list goes on. This is something I take for granted on the regular.
Showers. Seriously – who doesn’t love a hot shower, especially at the end of a long day or week? Lately it has been my sanctuary, my one place in my house where no living being, man or beast (read: cat) can bother me. Ahh…alone time.
Headphones. Music, podcasts, tv shows and movies, audiobooks, conversations with loved ones, a distraction for people around you to think you’re listing to something when you’re really not but you don’t want to talk, headphones are a true companion. Never leave home without them.
Free speech. I know, our country is in turmoil right now, and it feels scary. It’s scary to me because I have a legitimate fear of the unknown, like so many of us do, and I just have no idea what’s going to happen next. I am still thankful that I live in America. Where I can voice my concerns and my fears. Where I can say that I disagree with you and that’s ok.
Warm blankets and hot drinks. I’m not an alcohol drinker (anymore) so I stick to kid-friendly beverages, but nothing makes it feel like fall to me more than hot apple cider and cozy blankets. I also love reading, so I’ll throw books in this bullet simply because they all go together to me.
Relationships. I’ve found that in my life the things I’m most grateful for are actually the people I get to share my life with, and who let me share in theirs. Whether it is family or friends, big groups or small, celebrate the people in your life today who bring dimension to the world.
Nature. I never feel more connected spiritually than when I am connected with nature. It doesn’t matter if it’s the beach or a brook, a rolling green prairie or the grass in my backyard; I try to take a minute each day to appreciate something about this planet I’m living on. Often times it’s the view of the moon. Or the sound of the leaves in the trees.
Having enough. I have a car with gas in it, a house with all the utilities paid on time, food in my fridge, clothes to wear, and a bed to sleep in. At the end of the day, it is important for me to remember these very basic things. There was a time in my not too distant past where I didn’t have all of these things, and I don’t want to forget where I came from before I decided to make a change in my life.
The holidays don’t have to be a time of trudging, or resentment, or tension and stress. Don’t get me wrong, there will still be all of those things. However, those little moments of gratitude help take the edge off in those times when screaming at the cashier to go a little faster or cutting off the guy who cut me off first seems like the right choice. A deep breath, a look around and a reminder of gratitude might be enough to change our perception.
Becky is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click here.