On Being Thankful

It is officially Thanksgiving in the United States of America, and I am not particularly thankful. Perhaps that’s because of a warped idea of thankfulness, perhaps it’s because I’m “never satisfied” with the way things are.

To say, I am thankful for my health, would admit that I have nothing to do with it. It is not in my hands and is instead in someone else’s control. Furthermore, it implies I am satisfied with things that I have been “given” by this hypothetical other.

To say, I am thankful for my family, assumes that it was never my family to begin with. Just a wonderful gift I’ve been given, when in truth it is complete randomness I was born to these wonderful and loving people.

To say, I am thankful for the myriad of opportunities I have taken advantage of to get to where I am today, would mean that everything’s been nothing but good luck and good planning on my part. It hasn’t. I am far from where I thought I would be by now–aged 30 years old–and seemingly a continent away from where I want to be.

So no. I am not thankful and I am not giving thanks today. I will gather with my family and share a moment of peace and love and acceptance. I will toss aside growing concerns about future health problems, now that “youth” is beginning to slow departure. I will strive all the harder to achieve something worthwhile, narrowing the gap between my ambition and my reality.

I will do all these things, but I will not pretend they have been given to me… Or that I should feel anything about it other than acknowledging the fact it’s there. If I slip and give thanks then, surely, I should be able to make excuses and pray for a break somewhere.

But I can’t and I shouldn’t. My life is neither a string of random happenstance nor the grand opus of my Will. My life just is, and I am living it.

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