Thanksgiving has ended, and the turkey leftovers have thinned out to a few scraps left in the plastic containers in the fridge. The house has been straightened up, the Christmas decorating has begun and the ads for the season of gift giving are in full force, but I am trying to hold onto a remnant from the Thanksgiving holiday.
I am trying to not let the feeling of gratitude leave my heart. There have been too many years when I have let gratitude disappear like the Thanksgiving leftovers in my refrigerator. You know the way it goes- you share what you’re thankful for at the Thanksgiving table and make noises with your family and friends that this will be the year you keep the gratitude close to your heart on a daily basis, instead of just once a year, and then….well, life happens. The to do list, the daily irritants, the busyness, the reports of suffering and unkindness that seems pervasive in the news today and before you know it, the gratitude in your heart has been crowded out.
This year I am making a conscious effort to keep Thanksgiving close throughout the year. I have thrown away the turkey carcass and the scraps of stuffing and potatoes that remain. I have washed away the gravy stains on the tablecloth and stored the pumpkin and turkey decorations that dotted the house in November, but I refuse to close away the feeling of thankfulness that the holiday evokes in me.
There is so much that I take for granted in my life. Waking up in a comfortable bed in a warm house (or cool house since we had a heat wave in San Diego for Thanksgiving!) and having food in the refrigerator, not to mention all the conveniences that make my life so much easier than many people live. These blessings always make the top of my gratitude lists along with good health and my family and friends.
This year I want to notice and give thanks for all of the ways I am blessed daily in my life. The financial security I have built up that allows me to make choices in my daily life to add not only to my life, but the lives around me. The gift as a new retiree to not have to live my life according to a full-time job schedule and the freedom that it brings. The time that I have in my life to spend with my husband, my daughter, my mother and my friends. The ability to focus on my needs, my health and my passions after years of caring for everyone around me. The small ways everyday that my life is blessed. These are the Thanksgiving feelings that I want to notice every day.
These feelings may not be written down in a formal gratitude journal, but I hope to save them safely in my heart, so I can pull them out daily to remind myself how lucky I am as I celebrate Thanksgiving every day.