Monday, October 8th is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. While it’s a holiday for those working, to me it feels like another day of unemployment. I’ll admit, in a conversation with my mother, I initially did not feel I had much to be thankful for. I felt like the proverbial mouse on a wheel, running and running with all my might but not really getting anywhere. As with all mothers innately blessed with the gift of clarity and the ability to say the right words at the right time, my mother gently reminded me, “you still have your health”.
Mom’s right. A pessimistic attitude makes things a lot worse than they appear. You feel like everyone and the planet they reside on is out to get you. It’s soul-draining, self-defeating, and confidence-killing.
This morning (Sunday October 7th), while sitting at a table at my local Tim Horton’s with a large coffee, I wrote a list of things I should be thankful for on a 8.5 x 11 inch notepad. It didn’t take long to fill out two pages, single spaced. I could repeat what I wrote down on that notepad into this blog post, but I’m not going to. Generating a list of things to be thankful for wasn’t the point of the exercise.
The list I jotted down established a benchmark of where I truly was in the “O.S.” Scale —- and when I say “O.S.”, I don’t mean “Operating System”. While things could be better in terms of finding work, my situation is not the train wreck I sometimes think it is. I have my health, a support system of friends and family, and the time, resources and means to still aggressively look for work. When compared to the mentally challenged fellow who came to my table at Tim Horton’s to try to sell me nail clippers so he can have something to eat, a friend of mine who still has a smile on his face even though he needs a scooter to get around, and a neighbour who still has her amazing sense of humour despite her battle with a chronic illness, I’m not doing that badly. These people don’t allow their personal challenges to get in the way of what they want to do in life. Neither should I.
It’s people like these, and not what I wrote down on the notepad, that help me remember the meaning of Thanksgiving I sometimes forget in a down moment.
On that note, Happy Thanksgiving, even if you do not celebrate it today where you are, if at all.