A Thanksgiving Tradition

One of my closest friends has a family tradition that I quite like, and I’ve been slowly trying to implement in my own family. Basically, each year after Thanksgiving dinner, all of the people sit around in the living room and each person takes a few minutes and talks about the thing they are most thankful about over the last year. Everyone in the family takes the question seriously and answers it honestly, giving thanks for what really matters and adds value to their life.

This is something I’ve actually thought about a lot in the last year, and I really came up with two things, one obvious and one not so much.

The first one, obviously, is the conception and birth and healthiness of my daughter. She’s a healthy, happy two month old baby who smiles a lot and very much enjoys sitting on her dad’s lap. She will sit there, facing outwards and looking around, and bouncing gently some of the time, literally for hours. She’s as healthy as can be, too, and her weight and height are in good proportion and she has no illnesses or genetic diseases. I am so thankful for having this wonderful baby in my life, and thankful that she has the gift of good health.

The second one isn’t my financial turnaround (as some of you might have expected – that was what I was most thankful for last year). Instead, I am thankful for the discovery of the value of writing in my life. A year ago, The Simple Dollar was only a few weeks old and was far from popular yet – according to my data, on Thanksgiving Day last year I had about 60 subscribers. The process of writing was bringing me enjoyment (writing for The Simple Dollar tends to be idea-heavy and editing-light, which I really enjoy), but I hadn’t yet realized that I could be successful at it and attract many readers. This past year showed me otherwise, and I am deeply thankful for it.

After thinking about it for a while, I began to realize that it is a very powerful and wonderfully positive exercise. You spend time reflecting deeply on the positives in your life, and you often realize that even when things are bad, you do have a lot to be thankful for because there is a lot of good in your life, and it can shine a bright light even in a dark spot in your life. I hope to repeat this this each year on Thanksgiving, because doing this exercise brought forth a pretty strong joy in my life today.

What are you most thankful for over the last year? Please share it in the comments.