No doubt there are hundreds of reasons not to celebrate Thanksgiving Day 2020, but isn’t that old news already? People have pretty much had enough of 2020 and almost everyone is looking forward to a much brighter 2021. Whether that’s going to be the case or not, let’s not forget the good and beautiful things 2020 has given us. If we learn to appreciate the good side of what’s happened over the last year, we can get through anything. The wonderful thing about the human soul is its resilience in the face of adversity. We’ve gotten through plagues, wars, natural calamities, manmade disasters, depressions, oppression, racism, religious fanaticism, genocide, the atomic bomb, and just about every type of malevolent event you can think of. And yet, we’ve survived. This is just another event in the life of humanity that we must, can, and will overcome. In the meantime, let’s not lose OUR humanity; let us be grateful that there are still things in the world left to be grateful for. And that’s what this list is all about.
Your life – Let’s be grateful for being alive in the face of this treacherous virus that sees neither station nor race nor financial background. The homeless man on the street is as much of a target of the virus as the President of the United States. So, let’s be thankful for staying safe and alive to appreciate the good things life has given us.
Your health – Nothing in life is good without good health to enjoy it. If you’re in the pink of health, say a prayer of thanks. If you’re not, be grateful for modern medicine and what it can do for you. No matter what the state of your health, there’s always something to be grateful for.
Your friends – At this critical time in our lives, let us be grateful for the true friends we have who wish us well and would do anything for us.
The roof over your head – You may have lost your job and you might be in a financially difficult position, but the fact that you still have a roof over your head must count for something. Think of the millions of people being evicted over not paying rent during the long months of the pandemic and be grateful that you’re not one of them.
The food on your table – The coronavirus has caused starvation in many parts of the world, especially in primarily agricultural countries. But the farmers keep doing their job so we’ll have food enough to eat and store shelves remain stacked through the pandemic. Imagine what it would be like if all the farms in the world had stopped producing food to keep us alive. Let’s pray for the farmers of the world and keep them in our thoughts this Thanksgiving Day 2020.
The clothes you wear – Sure, you might not have the money to buy an expensive suit or a fancy dress, but you still have enough for the essentials, right? Why not be thankful for that? Sadly, those of us who ‘have’ need to be constantly reminded of those who ‘have not’ so we remember to be grateful. Let’s not take that for granted this year or ever again. There’s always someone needier than us.
Family support – Family is everything, they say, but much of it is just lip service. Some of us truly love our families but that’s only because it’s in our nature to do so, or we feel obligated. Do you really feel grateful for having the family that you do? You love them, and that’s fine. But do you like them? That’s the acid test, isn’t it? But if you can pass that test, you can definitely start feeling grateful for their presence and their support.
Your safety and security – You might rightly say that your country is full of civil unrest, racial violence, political turmoil, and crime-ridden cities, but by and large, the United States is a relatively safe country to live in. You still have freedom and democracy, which are the cornerstones of safety and well-being. You still live in a free country despite how 2020 has ravaged it. Be grateful that you’re not in a country with a military regime where you have to fear for your life every second.
The holiday season – Regardless of the fact that the pandemic is still raging across the nation, you have the freedom to celebrate – even if you lack a tangible reason. Judging by how Amazon did during its Prime Day shopping extravaganza this October, it’s clear that people have set aside money for shopping. Be grateful that you have a holiday season to celebrate whatever you can this year.
Travel – Many states have put up restrictions for visitors from high-infection states, but there’s no outright ban on crossing the border from one state into another. Be grateful that you can still visit with your family and friends in a different state. Be aware, also, that it is extremely risky and should only be done if absolutely essential.
Technology – Even if you’re not in a position to travel, be grateful that you can get on FaceTime or Zoom and connect with friends and family members who may be on the other side of the world. Be grateful for cars that take you from Point A to Point B safely and quickly. Be grateful for electricity and running water, and hot baths and iPad, and security systems and microwaves, and Netflix and Alexa. Be grateful that you live in a world where technology is taken for granted.
Memories – Not a lot of people realize that memories make up the bulk of our existence. We are who we are because of the memories we have of our experiences. Be thankful you don’t have a disease that could take that away from you, which brings us to…
Your health – If you’re hale and hearty, be extra thankful for that. Never take good health for granted, especially at a time when the whole world is concerned about health.
A possible vaccine around the corner – Pfizer announced earlier this week that its vaccine for COVID-19 was found to be 90% effective by a panel of external analysts. Be grateful that we’re only months away from having a vaccine that will hopefully free us from the curse of the coronavirus.
Your pet dog, cat, or tarantula – Be grateful for any pets you may have. Pets are the best cure for depression, and who isn’t depressed these days? Of course, you possibly can’t cuddle up to a tarantula (or maybe you can) or a pet porcupine (well, you really shouldn’t), but if you have a fuzzy pet, be grateful that you can bury your face in their fur and forget about your worries, if only for a little while.
Books and eBooks – Whether you like to hear the first crack of the spine when opening a brand new book or just use a Kindle to curl up, you can be thankful for the written word. Books help us escape into a fantasy world filled with magic and the impossible, and open up the possibility of ‘if only’. Be grateful for the books you have, and start reading them again if you haven’t done that in a while.
Children – This is the time to be grateful for our children, no matter how mad they drive us. It’s as if they were programmed to do the exact opposite of what we want, isn’t it? Well, unless you’ve been lucky enough to have an angel disguised as a child – and who really does, huh? – then be grateful that you’re responsible for the future of that living, breathing human being, exasperating as they might be.
Movies – Definitely something to be grateful for as we try to forget the stressful situation all around us this holiday season.
Music – Spotify it is! There are tons of musicians and musical genres to be thankful for. If not for them, life would be dull and colorless. Music has the power to paint color into our lives and brighten our souls with bold splashes of joy, so let us be extra-thankful for it.
Special people – Everyone has someone special to look up to. It may be a teacher, your spouse, a parent, an uncle, a friend, someone at the office, your coach… as long as you have a role model to fashion your own life after, you should thank someone for that.
Your experiences – What makes you unique? When you have to boil it down to the essentials, it’s nothing more than the experiences you’ve had. Be thankful for every single one of the events that life has taken you through – good or bad. The good ones just make you feel good but the bad ones are where the learning comes from. You are special, so realize that and be grateful for it.
Your childhood – If you had a happy childhood and have fond memories to show for it, be grateful for that. If you had a rotten childhood that scarred you for life and toughened you, be grateful for that because that’s your survival kit now. If you remember nothing of your childhood because it was so average, be grateful that nothing bad ever happened to you. The point is, our childhood experiences mold us into the adults we are today, and we should be grateful for the result no matter what the means were. If we can all reconcile ourselves with that, none of us might need to go to therapy!
The weather – If you love winter, this is the time to show it! Weather experts are predicting heavy snowfall in northern parts of the United States – a “cooler, wetter North, and warmer, drier South” is what they’re saying. Whatever the weather in your area, being happy about it will most certainly brighten your day.
Your job – If you still have your job after the economic turmoil the country is still going through, be extra-thankful for it. But if you’re out of a job now, start looking for learning opportunities that could land you a more recession-resilient job. For instance, the government has outlined a list of essential jobs in areas like hospitality, healthcare, and so on. See if you can find an online course or a community college where you can re-educate yourself for greater job safety. Don’t lose the lessons learned this time around because they will serve you well if you take positive action based on them. In any case, be grateful for what you have and/or what you now have the opportunity to do.
The setbacks in your life – Extending that sentiment to other areas of your life, what setbacks have you experienced in your life that actually made things better for you in the long run? Be grateful for those things. What makes celebrities even more special is not the fame and fortune but the obstacles they overcame to be where they are today. Can you use a particular setback as a springboard to leap forward? Find it and be grateful for it.
Your best qualities – People typically tend to focus on their flaws and weaknesses rather than what they’re good at. That’s the difference between a successful person and one who is struggling through life. It’s not that successful people are unaware of their faults, though; far from it. They’re probably well aware of their foibles, but they’ve found ways to counter them and negate them with positive things, as well as keep a stronger focus on the things they’re good at. So, if you’re good at something, be grateful for it, but don’t let it stop there. Do something with it. Can you sing well? You don’t have to become a Taylor Swift or a Kanye West, but can you join a singing group where you can feel good about yourself once or twice a week?
The small things in life – Do you enjoy that 10 minutes every day with your coffee in hand and watching a beautiful sunrise? Does your dog lick you awake every morning so you wake up with a smile? Do you love working from home and not having to wear a tie to the office? Be thankful for the little things because these are what make our days more pleasant and bearable in a difficult world.
Your favorite holiday – Is there a holiday you love more than others? Thanksgiving with the family, a turkey dinner at Christmas, or maybe the annual New Year’s Eve ball? Looking forward to something positive is a very healthy way to live. The more things we can anticipate with child-like enthusiasm, the better our physical, mental, and spiritual health. So let’s be grateful for the wonderful experiences that our special days gift us.
Social media – Say what you will about social media but it is undeniable that these platforms have made it possible for us to reach out to people we may never have been in touch with otherwise. Where else can you connect with a group of high school friends you lost touch with 20 years ago? Where else can you see what another person is doing on the other side of the world – and in live-stream, at that?! We should all be grateful that such an invention came during our time here.
Friendship Lamps – If you’ve never heard of them, they’re a set of interconnected lamps that can be set up anywhere in the world and “talk” to each other using light as their language. For instance, one lamp is set up in New York and one in, say, Tokyo. Both are connected to their respective Wi-Fi networks and each has a specific color assigned to it – blue for the New York one and Red for the Tokyo one. Now, when the person in New York touches the sensor plate on the top of their Friendship Lamp, the one in Tokyo instantly lights up in blue, which is the color identity of the New York lamp! Fantastic, isn’t it? It allows people in a long-distance relationship – friends, family, partners or spouses, siblings, grandparents, etc. – to instantly communicate with each other through a non-verbal medium. Here’s how it works.
The privilege of gifting and the fun of receiving – That’s actually two things to be grateful for but they’re two sides of the same coin. The giver of gifts is blessed with the ability to give, while the receiver receives the love of the giver, not to mention the thrill of getting a present! If there was ever a win-win situation, it is the art of gifting.
Your financial position – This is not something that everyone might be grateful for because we live in a world where ‘little’ and ‘lot’ are both relative and, sadly, ill-defined terms. Be grateful that you have ‘enough’ to get by on, and then some. Struggling with financial difficulties? Who isn’t? Some worry in the billions of dollars, some in the millions, some in thousands, and some in hundreds. If you’re in one of those groups, be thankful you’re not worried about dollars and cents. But even if you are, have faith that better things will come if you take the right action today, and be grateful for the fact that we’re only given the struggles we’re able to handle. No more, no less.
The freedom to worship under any religion – The United States fiercely protects the right to follow whatever religion you want to, and that’s not something you can say for the world at large. There are still many countries around the world where certain religions – or any religion, for that matter – can only be practiced in secrecy. Be thankful that you can worship out in the open no matter what religion you belong to.
Weekends – We’ve all said TGIF at one point or another in our working lives. But do we really mean it? Are we always thankful when Friday rolls around or do we just take it for granted? It’s not just an expression to throw around. The two days off that we get every week is absolutely essential to our well-being. Not only does it help us wind down after a hectic five days of work but it also refreshes our mind and helps set the tone for us to tackle yet another 5-day week. This time, when you say TGIF, mean it!
Your spouse or partner – Are we really grateful for the person we’ve chosen to spend the rest of our lives with? I mean, really grateful? If we answer that question honestly, most of us would say “no.” Then make the change and start being grateful for the love, companionship, and support you’re getting from this other human being you once said was the love of your life. As we get familiar with each other, we start taking each other for granted, often stepping on their dreams in pursuit of our own. We start treating them as permanent fixtures – like that raggedy doormat you haven’t changed in a decade and a half or that stain on the kitchen wall that you tolerated for so long that it’s become second nature to you.
Face masks – We should all be grateful that the experts found early on that face masks afford a great measure of protection. Originally, face masks were thought to help people around an infected person; more recently, they’ve found that masks also aid in “personal protection” by filtering air particles before we inhale them.
A bed to sleep on and a pillow to lay your head on every night – Not counting people around the world who sleep on the floor by choice, there are millions of people who sleep on the floor because they can’t afford a bed. Be thankful you’re not one of them, and that you have a warm bed with sheets to slip into at the end of a tiring day.
Clean water – Does it sound strange to you that you’re being asked to be grateful for clean water? If you knew the situation around the world, or you’re aware of the drought situation prevailing in many parts of America, you’ll understand why it’s important.
Art – In its myriad forms, art has made us happy for several millennia. Whether it’s poetry, architecture, paintings, sculptures, or just something artistic in nature, the beauty of art has us mesmerized every time we’re lucky enough to come across it, and that’s certainly something to be thankful for when we celebrate Thanksgiving Day 2020.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and “Giving Tuesday” – The three hottest shopping days of the year come right after Thanksgiving. For those of us who have some cash saved up or cleared all their credit card bills, it’s a time to take advantage of the best deals of the year. This year, retailers as much as shoppers are more than eager to make the best of it. Since the initial round of lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, retail stores around the world have suffered tremendous losses. It’s time to recover some of that. For shoppers, it’s a time to stock up on gifts, electronics, and other goodies that are more expensive at any other time of the year.
Indoor plumbing – And why not, indeed? We’ve taken indoor plumbing for granted for far too long. It’s time to give thanks to hot and cold running water in the comfort of your home – and the ability to go to the bathroom at night without a torchlight, a gun, and a pot of hot water!
There are literally hundreds of things that we can be grateful for during Thanksgiving Day 2020. But why stop at one day a year? Doesn’t it make sense to be thankful every day of the year for the good things in life, and the bad things that usually turn out better than we’d hoped – or at least not as bad as we’d feared? You can be thankful for practically anything – sunshine, rainbows, rain, hugs, babies, that new car smell… anything. Just remember to be grateful more often than you are regretful.
Regret is a highly destructive emotion; gratitude is an immensely positive one. The more you’re grateful for in life, the more life tends to give you. It’s a well-tested theory and is used in many ‘abundance programs’ today. But you don’t have to spend $97 or $47 or even $17 for such a program. Start your own abundance program today by being more grateful for what life has given you.
As Aesop said: “Gratitude turns what we have into ‘enough'”