Posted: 11/23/2009 in Happiness, Social, Spiritual, Thankfulness

With the holidays coming up, I have been thinking a lot about Thanksgiving. We all know the history behind it, of course, but do we really know what “Thanksgiving” means? Over the years, holidays have become so convoluted, polluted, and commercialized. The stores start selling decorations and themed food for the following holiday before the present holiday is even over just to get a jump on the sales, and it has turned into a means to industrialize what is supposed to be a time to spend with friends, family, and significant others. To business, then end justifies the means.

But when it comes right down to it, what is the true definition of “holiday spirit?” Rarely does a family just get together to celebrate thankfulness, really appreciating what we have, which is the true reason we should be celebrating “Thanksgiving.” Instead we think about what we don’t have. It has turned into a stressful occasion: Getting up at 3am to put the turkey in the oven and worrying that it won’t come out right, fighting with the family over stupid, petty disagreements, getting to the stores by 4am for Black Friday to be the first to get the newest hot toy of the season that your kid just has to have, etc.

On a personal note, the holidays this year are especially hard for me to endure. For the last seven years, I have been fortunate to enjoy spending the holidays with not only my family, but also my wife’s family. There are certain traditions devoid of the commercialization of the holidays and it’s just the family spending time together, being happy, no stress. With the separation of my wife and I, that will not be happening, and honestly, I’m trying my damnedest to stay positive and really examine thankfulness and what it means. But it’s tough. It hurts that I won’t be able to be with a significant other, sharing love together for the rest of the family, like I’ve been able to do for the last seven years. There is a huge void in my heart, and I have felt very alone, and the holidays make that loneliness so much more apparent. I feel at times I don’t have anything to be thankful for, due to losing my wife and my job at almost the same time.

I have to keep in mind that I do have a lot to be thankful for:

1. I have my family. They aren’t going anywhere, and I have their support 100% in these trying times in my life. Without them, I would be homeless at the end of this year, and no, I’m not being dramatic. That is a cold, hard FACT.

2. I have my son. He loves me unconditionally, and brings so much joy into my life. He has been following in my footsteps by playing guitar non-stop and is wanting me to teach him new things every day. There is a sense of pride there, that makes me feel wanted.

3. I’m alive. I woke up this morning. My health isn’t the greatest, and have a lot of medical problems, but I am thankful for today because I woke up once again.

4. My wife. Even though we are separated, on our way to a divorce, we are still great friends. We talk every day, and rarely fight. I am thankful for that, because I see so many nasty divorces, and I don’t want to go through that. So yes, I am still thankful for my wife, even though this is a very sad time in my life to endure.

On this journey, I have learned that there are changes I needed to make to attain the happiness I deserve. Being thankful, even in the midst of hardships, suffering and potential emotional breakdowns, is one key to attaining that happiness that has eluded me for so long. So this Thanksgiving, even though I am going to miss my mother-in-law’s legendary stuffing, and will be unable to spend the holiday with someone I’m in love with, I will still appreciate being with my son, my mom and step-dad and my sister and brother-in-law and his family, because now they’re all I’ve got, and I’m thankful for all of them.

We need to take the focus off of what we DON’T have, and keep our thoughts focused on being thankful for what we DO have. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

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