“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
On Thanksgiving it is all too easy to come up with the "easy" answers to "What are you thankful for?" Friends. Family. Food. Clothing on my back. A roof over my head. A job. An income. The chance to live in a free country. All of those things are incredible, phenomenal even, and I was thankful for those same things this past Thursday as I gathered with friends and family at my parents' home and ate delicious food.
I have been thinking a lot lately about the journey that life has taken me on. The truth of the matter is that it has not always been easy. Just like everyone else in this world, I've had my ups and downs. The challenge that I have been giving myself the past few days is to write down a seemly negative experience that I have had that I am thankful for. Wait a second, you may be thinking, why would you be thankful for bad things that happen in your life?! I never said it was an easy challenge, in fact, sometimes it takes me a while to truly see a negative as something that I can be thankful for. What I've found is that the bad often overshadows the good things that may have come about as a result.
I am thankful for living in New York City and being forced to learn what it is like to have no money. It challenged me to figure out how to survive when I only had $2 in my bank account and not enough money to buy food to eat. Thank goodness for the bucket of candy that we had at my office.
I am thankful for struggling to find a job that truly makes me happy. I have had jobs that I couldn't stand. Ones that I felt would be the end of me. Ones where I felt degraded, under-worked, and unappreciated. Through these jobs, I fought to find what makes me happy, what I am passionate about, and what it means to truly work through things that you may not ever feel like doing.
At times I feel as though I am forcing this time of self-reflection during the holiday season. Thanksgiving forces you to be thankful. Christmas reminds me not of Santa and presents, but of family and faith. New Year's is a swift kick to the butt, one that reminds me I am terrible at consistently working out. So it goes. The question is are you going to go through this self-reflection and fall back into your old habits? Or will you challenge yourself each day, stepping out into the uncomfortable, and seek growth and challenge? It's up to you. I know what I plan on doing.
| Thanksgiving Sangria |
Serves 4 to 6
Recipe Courtesy of The Kitchn
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 orange, sliced
1/2 large apple, sliced
1 bottle budget red wine, such as Garnacha, Zinfandel, or Tempranillo
3 cups tonic water, chilled
- Muddle the cranberries in a 64-ounce (or larger) pitcher. Use the back of a spoon to crush and smash them against the sides of the pitcher.
- Add the orange and apple slices and muddle.
- Pour in the wine and stir.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Before serving, stir in tonic water. Serve cold.