An Oldie But a Goodie

My last post was a column-y piece that I decided to write on a whim. I hadn’t written one in a while, and I forget how much I liked them. So I decided to dig up something I wrote in my editorial writing class in 2008.

We (me and my fellow classmates) were told to write a Thanksgiving themed editorial (in 20 minutes). The best three were run in the Columbia Missourian Thanksgiving day as guest editorials. Mine was selected for publication.

I know it’s past Thanksgiving but take a gander anyway.

Right now the world is a scary place. The economy is horrible, the country is at war and pollution and global warming threaten future generations. Right now it’s easy to be cynical and curse the world you feel like you have no control over. But what does that accomplish? Nothing. If you really take a close look at your life, there is certainly something that you are thankful for. There is certainly something that gets you out of bed in the morning. There is certainly something you couldn’t do without. These are things we as a people need to focus on.

As Thanksgiving approaches it’s time to dig down deep, brush off your inner Grinch or Scrooge and really think about what you’re thankful for. It’s not the same for everyone. It could be friends, family, a significant other, pet, sports team or movie. It’s not really important what it is. What’s important is that even if it’s just for a second that one thing makes you forget about the rest of the world and feel good. That is what’s important. And there’s one day in a year that allows us to do that: Thanksgiving.

I could go on and on about the problems with the war or the economy or the criminal justice system, which I often do. But a funny thing happens on the last Thursday of November: I don’t. When I’m with my family (mom, dad and brother), my neighbors and loads of delicious food, I don’t feel the need to complain. Instead, I’m able to really examine how lucky I am. How lucky I am to have a veritable feast when kids are starving in Africa. How lucky I am to have a nice, heated four-bedroom house when so many call the street home. How lucky I am to have friends and family that support me and are genuinely interested in what I’m doing when many have no one. Maybe those things aren’t what you’re thankful for, but there must be something. Just one thing. But that’s all you need.

Sure, the world isn’t perfect, but it’s never going to be. If you keep dwelling on what’s wrong instead of right and what you don’t have instead of have, you’ll never be happy. But if you can take just one day to think about what you have and what makes your life worth living, you’ll feel a little bit better. If that’s not a reason to celebrate Thanksgiving, I don’t know what is.

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