I love Thanksgiving. I love it for so many reasons. It's a holiday where families and friends carry on generational traditions and create new ones. Whether it's a tradition of serving cranberry sauce that retains its shape of the can (shout out to my brother Tony), participating in a Turkey Trot no matter the weather or your physical state, volunteering at the local shelter, watching football games on tv or in the backyard, shopping at midnight, gathering a big group or simply a quiet night, this holiday has meaning. It's a time to reflect on all the things we are grateful for.
In keeping with our Butler Street tradition, I have the honor of sharing our Thanksgiving message. In the past, I've shared what I was grateful for each year that didn’t feel so great at the time. This year, I'd like to share a few things that every single one of us can be grateful for.
Yes, no matter how this past year was for you, no matter the struggles, the disappointments, or the successes, you have a lot of things you own that you can be grateful for:
We are given the privilege to make choices daily. Good or bad, they are ours alone. We are lucky enough to live in a country and an era where options are plentiful, and information is accessible. We are not only allowed to make choices for our lives, but we can also make informed choices.
It's 100% in your control. We can choose to look for the good or focus on the negative. We can be suspicious, or we can be trusting; we can be vulnerable or defensive. Our attitude is ours and perhaps the most powerful and constant thing we own.
Teachers, coaches, bosses, and mentors have encouraged us, disciplined us, pushed us, shaped us, and helped us be who we are today. While some "feedback" may not have been appreciated at the moment, more often than not, it was necessary and coming from a place of truth and caring, and we now own it.
The caveat here is that we learn from them. That way, they are no longer failures; they are successful failures. Growth comes from change, and failures – big and small - usually spur change. Each “failure” serves to help us learn and improve – whether it was a remark we made that was better left unsaid or a life choice that didn't go as planned, they are all teaching moments, and we grow as a result.
Basket-weaving, basketball, or basketcases, we all have something we are passionate about. It could be a hobby, a side hustle, or merely a mental escape from the daily grind. Be grateful for the time you make to fuel your passions.
Laughing is a proven healer. In the short term, it reduces stress, decreases your heart rate and blood pressure, and through the intake of increased oxygen-rich air, it stimulates all those important organs: your heart, lung, brain, and muscles. In the long term, it improves your immune system, your relationships, and your health. So be grateful for your ability to laugh and vow to laugh even more in the coming year – for your health and the health of those around you!
In the words of Lisa Heckman:
In a society that has you counting money, pounds, calories, and steps, be a rebel and count your blessings instead.
This Thanksgiving, we hope your blessings are piled high and your old and new traditions bring you pure joy!
We know this list could go on and on, and we’d love to hear what you’d add to this list.