Photo courtesy of Mark Byrd, taken in Yellowstone last July at that wolf class I attended

Photo courtesy of Mark Byrd, taken in Yellowstone last July at that institute class I attended

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day and enjoying time with family and friends (and good food). As Thursdays are a part of my “weekend” at Amazon this season, I find myself with Thanksgiving off for the first time in many years.

Looking back over past posts, it occurs to me that I haven’t written about Thanksgiving since my very first month of blogging four years ago. In truth, I don’t celebrate this holiday the way many do and the reasons are twofold.

For starters, my family is many miles away and unavailable for Thanksgiving dinner. That doesn’t bother me though, we celebrate when we get together at other times of the year, no matter what calendar day it is. Also, my fellow Amazon workers who’re staying in the same campground often get together for an informal meal of some sort, and this year will be no exception. One of my neighbors already has the turkey going in his giant outside smoker and the rest of us are bringing a dish to pass around – I have four pounds of mashed potatoes in the fridge ready and waiting.

Secondly, I practice being thankful on a regular basis so today isn’t much different than any other day. Like with giving and contribution which are traditionally lauded around the holidays, thankfulness is the most rewarding when you make it part of your daily life.

It isn’t hard to do and doesn’t take much time to get started. Get out a piece of paper or get on your computer and start typing up a list of things you’re grateful for. Some things will come to mind right away like the people you care about, your health, and your home. But there are a lot of other things to be thankful for too, and coming from a first world country we often take them for granted such as having enough food to eat, flush toilets, and a working internet connection. Take it a step beyond that, and it’s not hard to see how everything we have no matter how small is a gift to be cherished, like the taste of your favorite food, a phone call from someone you haven’t heard from in a while, or the feeling of the sun on your face in the morning.

You don’t need to spend hours at the list, but come back to it on a regular basis and update it as more things occur to you. Before long it’ll serve as an impressive reminder of everything you have, and more importantly it can be used as a tool to put things in perspective when you’re having a rough day.

I often get the comment at work, even here at Amazon which is not exactly a thrilling or fulfilling job that I smile a lot and sometimes the person will ask me why I always seem so happy. In truth I get irritated with people, frustrated with work, and mad at the universe when things aren’t going my way just like anybody else. But instead of dwelling on it, I do my best to shrug off annoyances and soldier through disappointments, and a lot of the energy for that comes from reminding myself of everything that I have and being happy for it.

At the core of it, I think it’s a miracle we’re even here and I’m thankful to be alive. With that, everything else is possible.

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