The holiday season is filled with opportunities to realize and express gratitude. Before it sneaks by, we should be sure to give our proper thanks for all the deserving people and blessings we have in our lives.
I recently had an opportunity to speak at Toastmasters, and used it for this purpose. Unfortunately, I quickly realized I couldn’t mention everything I was thankful for in 6-8 minutes (who would’ve thought!). This was beneficial, however, because it forced me to focus on what was most important. In life, there will never be enough time to do all that we want to do or say all that we want to say. We will need to focus on the things that mean the most to us if we want to end up happy. Accordingly, after much deliberation, I realized that there are three things I am most thankful for: my house, my family, and football.
When I visited my home recently, I took a shower and realized that I was excessively grateful for the hot water. Confused at my elation, I thought more about it, and realized why I was so happy. My apartment at college doesn’t always have hot water (what a luxury it is!). I don’t even swim in the summer because of my aversion to cold water! But sadly, having hot water was a feature of my house that I took for granted. In fact, gratefulness for my house wasn’t always a given. It pains me to admit that I used to be embarrassed about where I live. Growing up, many of my friends came from affluent families and I would never invite them over; I feared they’d judge me for living in a mobile home. But I came to my senses as I grew up and now realize two important things. First, our ‘mobile home’ is nice, very nice, and not small at all. It has all the basic living essentials and enough room for comfort. Second, I’m lucky to have a house at all! I was embarrassed because my frame of reference was only focused on people who had more than me. Compared to my friends’ families, it seemed my family wasn’t doing that well. When I compared us to the world, however, everything changed. Half the world lives on $2 or less a day, how is that for a change in perspective? I’m lucky to even have a house, and I’m proud of my parents for providing any sort of shelter.
For my house and everything in it, my parents have my eternal gratitude. I’m fortunate for them and my entire family. Things may not have always been perfect, but imperfections are what help define us. We’ve had big fights and little fights. We’ve went without talking to each other. We’ve said hurtful things, and at times we’ve hated each other. But I have a family. Sadly, many people don’t, and my heart goes out to those people. I’m lucky enough to have parents who love and support me. My sister and I grew up together and we continue to confide in each other. I’m thankful for that. I also have a little brother who is quickly turning into a man. We’ve had dozens of fights, but every day we become better friends and are closer than we’ve ever been. Lastly, my girlfriend (not a member of the family – I know) has been my friend for three years and is incredibly loving and supporting. I’m thankful for her, and the family I have in my life.
Football has been a huge part of me since I was a kid. I became a Packers when when I was about seven years old because I thought the “G” on their helmet stood for my name, George. Once I started watching them on TV I was hooked. I even joined a tackle football league in third grade and played until eighth grade. The best part was, though, that my buddies from the neighborhood played as well. It was all I could ask for. They were my best friends, my neighbors, and now my teammates. Football cemented our bond and was a core element of our friendships. Just watching it and playing were not enough though, we all collected cards and memorabilia, and now my closet is pretty much a display case of over 10,000 cards, autographed jerseys, hats, balls, and even figurines. Clearly, football is a part of me. I wouldn’t trade my memories or love of the game for anything in the world. I’m thankful for it, and with the playoffs coming up, I’m teeming with excitement and anticipation.
In conclusion, I know there are many things to be thankful for. I’m thankful for my shoes, laptop, college education, friends, warm bed, toothbrush, books, cat, and so on. But the three things I am most thankful for are my house, my family, and football. And although I’m glad you learned a little about me from reading this, what I really hope you’ll take away is some encouragement to think about what you are thankful for, even if it is as simple as hot water. Think about it, really think about it. That way, when an opportunity presents itself this holiday season, you can be ready to give your proper thanks.
~Enjoy the holidays