I don’t know who started the “30 Days of Things We’re Thankful For” on Facebook, but it’s gone on for the last 28 days and I’m sick of it. There’s nothing wrong with being thankful. Thanksgiving is the day we are supposed to set aside to be thankful. The Pilgrims did not bore each other with what they were thankful for every day for a month. The Native Americans sure as hell didn’t have much to be thankful for since the arrival of the white man meant we’d be throwing them off their land, and centuries later, opening stores on this holiday that was allegedly important to us.
I don’t think we need to sit at our keyboards and mobile devices thinking of things to be thankful for every day for a month. I think we need to sit, somewhere, somehow, and be thankful for just one thing. People who are thankful for many things on many days just make people who aren’t feeling really thankful in general right now feel like shit about ourselves.
No, I’m not thankful that my dog had a “good experience” at the groomer today, because are you kidding me? I’m not thankful my fitness workout was “both fun and challenging” because whothefuckcares. I’m not thankful for how “cheerful” some salesperson was to me at Target because I can’t think of anything else to be thankful for and I need to write something I’m thankful for every day for 30 straight goddamn days on Facebook because we are all just doing that.
Maybe I’m a hypocrite because I’m about to tell you what I’m thankful for. Hell, at least you didn’t have to read 30 things, so you’re welcome and let’s face it, I do overshare for a living so perhaps I’m a bit jaded when I see people oversharing day after day on social media.
It’s just that when I read cheerful things on Facebook, it makes me think of the people who have to read that cheerful shit who aren’t feeling so cheerful. Maybe they’re feeling lonely, especially at the holidays. Maybe, like me, they’ve had poisonous words introduced into their vocabularies this year—words like foreclosure and repossession and default. But maybe, just maybe, it takes horrible words entering into your vocabulary to teach you about what being thankful really means.
Stuff can come and go—even the big items like houses and cars. Although we attach a lot of meaning to possessions, especially our houses and what’s inside our houses, those things aren’t really what’s important. It’s people we should be thankful for—people who touch our lives in some way. People whose emails make us laugh, whose photos make us smile, who share fun moments over coffee with us, whose lives make ours happier. I will not bore you with a laundry list of people for whom I am very thankful, but I am thankful there’s a list, even if it’s not very long.
This year wasn’t an easy one in many areas of my life, but it’s almost over and I’m going to get through those things and maybe next year will be better. I hope that wherever you are, reading this, that we can agree together to be thankful for just one thing on Thanksgiving.
I realized earlier this week that tomorrow will be the first time in two decades that my family of six—my husband and four children and me—will sit down together around a table by ourselves and share Thanksgiving dinner. Every year until now we’ve traveled or had family over and although all of those times were nice, I’m thankful that tomorrow my own family and I will share a moment in time.
Photo by Mary McCarthy.