And I don’t mean that ironically, or insincerely. I genuinely mean that: I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving (unless you live in another country, in which case…uh, happy Thursday?). And yes, I’m aware of how historically inaccurate, to the point of being almost laughable, the origins of that holiday are. And I still mean it.
It’s become a little fashionable of late to poke holes in the established traditions and practices of our society and our culture. Not without merit, either. Human history, and definitely American history, has a long tradition of glossing over inaccuracies, fallacies, and straight-up lies, all in the name of maintaining a good front. The Thanksgiving holiday is a great example. The Pilgrims weren’t the first colonists on the American continent from Europe, nor did they so much as settle a single field (they took over lands that were largely left unpopulated due to a rampant plague that had wiped out large swaths of the native population just years prior). No, the origins of Thanksgiving as a holiday and an observance are mostly rooted in racism, jingoism, and consumerism. As is most of modern life. And just like most of life, how it came to be here isn’t quite as important as it being here now.
Thanksgiving as it is today exists as a holiday in which we observe and are mindful of all we have to be thankful for. That or Black Friday Eve, but that’s starting to get push-back from consumers, so never mind. The point is, however the fourth Thursday of November came to be Thanksgiving, it is and that isn’t all together a bad thing.
Negativity and Pessimism are kind of popular things right now. As said at the start of this post, it’s fashionable to poke holes in beliefs, in observances, even movies and TV shows. Nitpicking fiction is practically a profession for some people. So it’s with all the more fervor that I believe we could use the chance to take a day to be grateful.
And be grateful. Everyone has something to be grateful for. If you’re reading this, you obviously have access to the internet, which right there says a whole lot about what you have to be grateful for. A computer or smart phone, wi-fi or internet. Hell, we can get even more basic and talk about having electricity. Or how about literacy?
I disdain lowering the bar to feel better about life, because life can suck. And I hate the palliative ‘at least you have both your arms’ sort of dismissal of life’s hardships. Saying ‘don’t be sad because someone else has it worse’ is equal to saying ‘don’t be happy because someone else has it better’. Everyone’s got problems. Some might be more substantial than others but even down that route lies madness. Nothing good will come from trying to quantify and compare pain like there’s some kind of praise for enduring more or worse hardship.
No, I say embrace the holiday. However we came to be celebrating Thanksgiving, celebrate it. Eat well, or at least as well as you can. Be around those you love and who love you. And if you can’t be with them, think of them. Have a great day and enjoy yourself.
At the end of the day, life is good and we have a lot to be thankful for, big and small.