Patterico's Pontifications

11/27/2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am



Happy Thanksgiving.

I like to treat Thanksgiving as a time to take to heart the concept of not taking things for granted. Calling it “Don’t Take Things for Granted Day” would be awkward, but it conveys the concept.

In a post I wrote in December 2006, I shared with readers a little trick I taught myself, which truly brings the concept home. I’d like to remind you about it now — or introduce you to the trick, if you weren’t reading me in 2006.

The rest of that evening, I pictured myself as having been sent into my body from the future, to relive the moments I was experiencing. And I saw everything differently. I sat on the couch and watched television with my arm around my wife — all the while imagining myself as an old man, transported back in time to relive that moment. And all of a sudden, what otherwise might have seemed like a mundane moment seemed like a privilege. I felt like the luckiest guy in the world, just sitting there with my wife.

I’ve tried the trick all weekend, and it really changes your outlook. Just sitting around with a sleepy child in your arms is great any way you look at it. But if you picture yourself as someone whose child has grown up — if you imagine yourself as an older man, who would give the world to be back in that chair with that child in his arms — it makes you realize how important the moment is. And you appreciate it more.

As I said in that post: “Some day, you’ll miss almost everything about your life the way it is right now.” My wife said that her dad once expressed the same concept to her by saying (I’m paraphrasing): “Can you be nostalgic for things that are happening right now?”

I think you can, if you take a second to think about it. And then you’ll appreciate even more the fact that you’re in that nostalgic time right now.

I said in that post: “Like any epiphany, I know that this will pass, to be remembered only from time to time.”

But try it today. Picture yourself twenty years in the future, thinking back to today — this very day. Think how fondly you would remember these moments. Then realize that you’re getting to experience them, right now.

And then get the hell off the computer and go appreciate them.

Go. Right now.

I’ll see you tomorrow.

25 Responses to “Happy Thanksgiving”

  1. I’m sure that this works better for people who have families. Not everyone is living the dream, Patterico. But, yes, you should make the most of it.

    M (f652fc)

  2. Have a wonderful dead turkey day, you racists.

    JD (e0ab0e)

  3. I am nostalgic for gall bladders and fatty foods.

    JD (e0ab0e)

  4. This is a melancholy Thanksgiving for me: I recently lost my wife. But my children and I are making the best of the holiday, and despite recent events, we are still finding reasons to be thankful.

    (Sorry to bring everyone down.)

    A Happy Thanksgiving to you all, and all the blessings life offers.

    Steverino (647a08)

  5. I’m very sorry, Steverino.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  6. Yeah, if my wife was still alive I would be busy doing something important. Right now I am waiting for all of the kids to wake up so we can start our day. Dinner is at a friends house tonight and our family Thanksgiving is being held on Monday to work around everyone’s schedule. Hey Steverino, grief is the price we pay for loving. In my case, given the happiness we had together, it is a small price indeed.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    tyree (0a452c)

  7. Yes, all things must pass, someday. I’m very thankful for this gift of life, at this time, in this place.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    To those whose day is clouded by loss or pain, I hope this marks a new beginning for you.

    Patricia (ee5c9d)

  8. Patterico, you have taught me yet another important life lesson. Several years ago, you wrote about the corrosive effects of hate, and I changed my name from TimeHater to honor that. And in 20 years we will all be nostalgic for the LA Times’ leftist activism and selective reporting.

    But today, I’m concentrating on gratitude. Thanks for all your hard work, and hosting a site that I always enjoy and learn from. Happy Thanksgiving!

    TimesDisliker (5c2cdb)

  9. I started the day off in what has now become a holiday tradition for me, with 90-100 men briefly expressing gratitude for various things going on in their lives. A powerful way to start Thanksgiving.

    How’s your program JD?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  10. Yeah!!! Turkey day.

    Good Advice, P! i just was enjoying a similar reverie on the 2 mile walk with hunters on both sides of the road booming away at whatever. A great American holiday and really i think better than Christmas. Not so much greed or money and togetherness abounds. Even if you are single, people will invite you over. We’re thinking of doing the same with our plentiful offerings to a middle-aged couple next door just married but w/o family nearby. We even have my mate’s ex-husband to share our table. Unconventional, but it works.

    Only a few decades left in life i was thinking of what Patterico was saying before he said it while walking the dog under cold overcast skies that give such visibility to the woods with the snow underfoot and i have nothing but the best of food and family and friends at the end of my walk…..These are the best of times (as usual).

    Alas wingnuts, this moonbat bids you happy seasonal beneficence. Even golden showers of gall on JD, survivalist of our medical industrial state.

    and grace and memories of happiness for those who here reading have suffered a recent loss.

    datadave (a50390)

  11. Happy turkey day, moonbat.

    Icy Truth (b7d162)

  12. Well, I could join the pity party & mention how this is the first Thanksgiving since the end of my 15-year marriage — and the first since I moved to Texas, where I literally know only 5 people — but why would I want to do that? People aren’t supposed to get depressed at this time of year.

    [BTW, JD, I’ll be thinking of you as I’m digging into the dark meat.]

    Icy Truth (b7d162)

  13. So sorry to hear about the painful memories of loss – I almost bought it 4 years ago, when a nasty bout of Lymphoma was diagnosed in the latter stages. Just married a little over a year at the time (the first for both of us), my wife then underwent breast cancer about two years after my ordeal – but we both feel quite fortunate that we had to undergo our trials, for without them we wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate that we’re still walking the earth today. There but for the grace of God go us.

    Dmac (e30284)

  14. I was getting all nostalgic about the fact that my 18-year-old daughter got up this morning (too late to help with the turkey, of course) and came in where I was watching football and sat down and put her head on my shoulder.

    Then she got up, got dressed and went out a little later. Just as I was getting ready to type this, she called and asked me to put some more money in her account. She’s out.

    Both fond memories some day. Being 71 next BD, I have lots of them. Including five great kids.

    Now, I have to transfer that money.

    Mike K (394db3)

  15. daley – program is good. Went to a meeting this morning. Gratitude is a good thing.

    Icy – You can have my share. I will be having beef bouillon and French onion soup.

    JD (5f0e11)

  16. Happy Thanksgiving Brothers And Sisters.

    God Bless

    Oiram (2d20d0)

  17. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Adriane (b8ecd8)

  18. Lovely post Pat. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

    Peter (f5ffcb)

  19. Dear Dr. K. ….

    No wonder you object to more “spreading the wealth” around. You already do that!

    Truth is, I am fairly certain that your daughter (and your other children) would not put you out on an ice-flow, Inuit style.

    The important fact is that family and friends are all we have. No one is ever on their death bed, muttering “I wish I had spent more time at work.”

    Or “I wish I had spent more time blogging.”

    Friends and family, electronic or biological. Those are the important things.

    We are all very, very lucky…when we take a moment to look around the world, near and far.

    Happy Thanksgiving Day to all….

    Eric Blair (8f93a0)

  20. Happy Thanksgiving!

    parsnip (1e884c)

  21. To M, Steverino, and Icy: I pray that God blesses you today with some particular reason to give thanks.

    Pat: I’m getting to that old man stage. Kids too big to sit in my lap now. Talked with my son in Panama via Skype today – but didn’t have much to talk about. A person waxes nostalgic for relationships that used to be – or those that you wish you had.

    Then my wife and I walked the dog and a car pulled up. Some old folks we hadn’t seen in years and years stopped to say hi. These are people who belonged to my wife’s home congregation that she has known since she was 12. It made us think of all the people out there who think of us – and of whom we ought to think more often.

    I am savoring the time with family today – but I hope to go out tomorrow (well… Sunday maybe) and make more of those connections, not just enjoy the ones I’ve got. People like M need to make more of those connections – but then people like me need to call up the Ms we know too.

    Gesundheit (025278)

  22. steverino – Our prayers are with you.

    JD (5f0e11)

  23. A happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and prayers for those in pain. We went down to Spice’s family, had great meal & much chatter, and have returned; she’s very tired, and now sleeping. I’m grabbing a book and joining her.

    htom (412a17)

  24. Thank you very much for this one. I’ll use this often.

    MOG (36fd70)

  25. […] “Don’t Take Things for Granted” Day. Here’s a trick to help you […]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Happy Thanksgiving (e4ab32)


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