He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ~Epictetus
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. ~Cicero
No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks. ~Unknown
Seeing as this week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving and considering that I happen to enjoy a little senimentality around the holidays, I thought it would be appropriate to propose that we all take a moment out of our hectic lives to stop and reflect about the world around us, and find something that we can be grateful for.
For some, this is just another day off from the markets or an excuse to come in late to work and relish the quiet work day for those stuck behind the cube. For others, it is a time to spend with close friends and family. I know I am traveling tonight in order to be with family and am looking forward to spendind a few days away from work. Some of you are doing what I'm doing today, others tomorrow and some of us are stuck in the trenches despite it being Thanksgiving.
I can't help but think about something my father said to me the first Thanksgiving out of college. I was stuck behind a desk, waiting for the market to close Wednesday afternoon, dreading the fact that I expected my boss to call 5 minutes before the close and give me an asinine, time wasting task that had no redeeming value to anything that needed to be completed for Friday morning despite being out of the office and “on vacation” until Monday (and yes, he did email me at 8 AM Friday asking me to email him with the completed task before spending a dull and dead Black Friday in the office), in a dead office, twiddling my thumbs with little to do. My dad gave me a call to find out what my plans and time table were for the evening, and as I sepnt a few minutes just bitching about the uselessness of the day before Thanksgiving, he reminded me that despite all the bullshit around me and regardless of whether I liked dealing with it or not, there was always something to be thankful for, no matter what was going on. After I hung up the phone, I took a look around and found something to be thankful for staring me right in the face. I was in the company of people I liked to work with in an empty office and all we did was essentially hang out and bullshit all day, a rare treat given the hectic nature of life. The same held true when I left the office and drove to my parents home, being thankful for a commute that took me less than 40 minutes (from Manhattan into suburban Jersey no less) to go door to door from the office until I walked through the door at my Parents house. Ultimately, I realized that I was thankful for the fact that I had a quiet night to enjoy to myself and precious time to spend enjoying a family dinner with good food, good wine and most importantly good company.
I look back at the last two years and can think about everything I am thankful for, but that list would go on for a while. Instead, I look at this year and realize that a bit of simplicity is better in realzing what I am thankful for. This year, I'm thankful for having a few days to spend with my family and the time to enjoy hanging out with my kid sister, who I don't see often enough. I'm thankful for having kickass people to work with and an awesome manager. I am thankful that this year has been a year of deep thought and reflection for me, something that I had forgotten how to do since I started working. I am thankful for the newfound focus, the renewed drive and desire and perspective that reflection brings with it.
Most importantly, this year, I am thankful for rediscovering how to step back, stop and smell the roses, if even only for a fleeting moment, despite the world keeping on turning. To that effect, despite the fact that I despise my former roommate, that's a long story for another day, nor do I have any desire to see or hear from him ever again, I am truely grateful to him for reminding me how to find a bit of Zen and reflect on the world around me even though the madness and chaos (or in his case, drug and steroid abuse, yes he was a meathead juicer, coupled with the destruction he caused, his massive ego, a complete and utter lack of any respect for anyone but himself and his bouts of anger and rage if something dind't go his way) still continues on whether we like it or not.
It doesn't matter where you are on Wednesday night or Thursday, be it New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, Paris, London, Singapore, Hong Kong or some podunk redneck town in the middle of Colorado, take a little time to find something seemingly small and insignificant, or maybe just something so wrote that you do it mindlessly without much thought, and stop to appreciate it.
Find something small and appreciate it. Find something to be grateful for and enjoy it. Find someone that you don't normally think of who does something in to help you and tell them thank you.
With that, I leave you with two more pearls of wisdom on giving thanks and gratitude and want to know what you are all giving thanks for this year.
Best Wishes to everyone for a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~Unknown
Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~John Milton