Monday, November 26, 2012

Feeling Thankful

For those of us in the United States, the Thanksgiving holiday was last Thursday. Every family does something slightly different to celebrate the holiday, and many have traditions of something they do every year. Growing up, we lived across the country from our extended family (all my aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents), so the Thanksgiving holiday was a pretty calm event for our family of four. As I've gotten older, the four of us from my immediate family have each done our own thing for the holiday, and I've developed some traditions of my own. The best part about my tradition is that I can keep it up no matter who I'm celebrating the holiday with. This is important because every year is different. Sometimes (like this year) I spend Thanksgiving with my dad, some years I spend it with my mom, and other times I spend it off on a vacation.

My dad with the turkey.
By now your probably wondering what is this tradition? It's pretty simple really, and it's something many people do already. My tradition is to use the Thanksgiving holiday as my reminder to be thankful. To be mindful and consider all I have in my life to be grateful for. I used to think that the "What are you grateful for?" question asked at every Cafe Gratitude restaurant was cheesy, but now I think it's a wonderful way to begin a meal.

Seafood soup, before the dashi broth was added. So pretty!
The people I'm sharing the Thanksgiving feast with may or may not take a moment before the meal to verbally share what they're thankful for, but I can do it in my head regardless. I realize that Thanksgiving was a few days ago now, but the spirit of gratitude can continue to live on through the December holidays and into the new year. I've recently read that keeping a gratitude journal and every day recording one thing you're grateful for can significantly improve mood, interpersonal relationships, and lift depressive symptoms. Whether you're a journal-keeper or not, taking a moment to recognize what you are grateful for can have a wonderful positive effect on your well-being.

And so, in the spirit of feeling grateful, here is my list of what I'm grateful for this season:
- My health
- My relationships with each of my parents, my sister, and my friends
- Two years (and counting) with my amazing boyfriend
- My fabulous apartment with lots of natural light
- The abundance of delicious, affordable, healthy food in my area
- The farmers that grow the food, and the delivery people that bring it to my area
- My clients and all that they teach me
- The beauty of nature
- My Christmas tree, the first I've put up in years
- Vacations

Grilled wild duck with chanterelle mushrooms.

It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie!

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving to you all! I'm also grateful for each of you who have read this post!


  1. Such a great list of things! I know I can relate to many of them. We are so blessed in this country (and in many others); it relieves so much anxiety and stress for me when I step back, look at a bigger picture, and realize just how blessed I am and how much I have to be thankful for!

  2. Thanks for your comment PilotingPaperAirplanes. We really are blessed, aren't we?