Guys. Thanksgiving is only eleven days away. ELEVEN. As my roommates all know, I am very anti-Christmas-decorations-and-music-before-Thanksgiving; I just feel like sometimes the holiday as a whole gets drowned out by Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I adore Christmas, but there’s a time and a place for everything and Christmas comes after Thanksgiving. In all honesty, I believe that there’s a lot to learn from Thanksgiving. It’s a whole season dedicated to being grateful. How awesome is that? It’s a month to look at your life and just be happy. It’s a time to celebrate taking what you have, seeing it in a different light, and making it better.
A few weeks ago, I was pretty frustrated with school and work and life and was having a pity party for myself. Why did I have to commute almost half an hour to my job? Why had I signed up for such a hard school schedule? Why did I never have time to do something frivolous without feeling guilty? As the saying goes, the grass is always greener on the other side. Let me tell you, everybody else’s grass was looking pretty stinking green. Everybody else was making more at their job or didn’t have to work at all, everybody else only had 2 hours of homework a day, everybody else got to binge watch Gilmore Girls. Guess what? LIES. That very same day I was talking with my dear friend Anna and asked how she was doing. You wouldn’t believe it, but she was just as burnt out as I was. She had a job where she had to work nights, she was taking stats from a professor that couldn’t speak English, and she barely had time to go out to dinner with a friend that had come all the way from Illinois. The day after, my long time friend Mary Beth told me the same thing and suddenly everybody else’s grass wasn’t looking so much greener than mine.
But you know what? No one’s grass was looking brown. Everyone, and I repeat, EVERYONE, has something to be happy about. The grass is never brown, it is always a lovely shade of green that cannot be beat out by anyone else’s green. As Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “comparison is the thief of joy”. Yes, there will be weeds in life, some bigger than others. Sometimes life is just really hard and you almost can’t see that green grass underneath all the weeds that seem to be consuming you, but I promise you that it’s there. If we shift our focus and decide to see the grass, we will begin to notice how truly gorgeous life really is. I remember when I was in Argentina, I hadn’t seen soft grass for months. The grass there is tougher and just can’t really be compared to the lawns I had grown up with. One day, we were walking along in the city and happened upon this patch of fresh grass sprouts that was about twelve inches by twelve inches. Obviously, we stopped dead in our tracks and just stroked the grass for a few minutes, completely mesmerized by it. Guess what? Life is that grass, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. We can take it for granted and continue on or we can stand in awe of its beauty.
So this month, let’s be more grateful. Let’s find the joys and stop focusing on our trials, large or small. I know that my trials are extremely minuscule, but I know that everyone, even those with massive challenges, can benefit from a perspective change and a more grateful heart. As Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “We can choose to be grateful, no matter what.” Find that soft green grass, my friends. I can’t promise that your life will change, but I can promise that you will. Happiness and gratitude are a choice. Let’s make the right one.