As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, so many people are busy preparing food, watching a parade, starting their holiday shopping, or cheering on their favorite football team. But this year, I’d like to plant a different seed in your mind: things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving; things that you might have taken for granted in years’ past.

Face it: most of us blow through the holiday season at warp speed. But when you wake up this Thanksgiving morning, I want you to pay special attention to the following events throughout the day. And without further ado….

Five Things to Be Thankful For

1. Freedom to travel. If you are traveling to a Thanksgiving Day destination, stop and think for a moment about how fortunate we are to have the luxury of freedom of movement — be it across town or across the country — via our method of choice. Also, consider the fact that there are no restrictions placed on where we can spend our holiday or with who(m) we choose to congregate, both foreign concepts in some countries.

2. Freedom of expression. Sitting around the Thanksgiving table, most families become engaged in conversations ranging from the Thanksgiving Day parade and NFL games on TV, to … ahem … current events (and, no, I’m not talking about the weather). Regardless of the subject matter, we have the freedom to express our thoughts, ideas, and philosophies of life with one another (hopefully in a civil manner) without fear of incrimination.

3. Friends and family. As you sit down for your Thanksgiving meal, take note of the family members and friends around the table. This moment, for many, can be a time of both joy and sadness, as we reflect on family members and close friends no longer with us. Now, I’m by no means trying to bum you out. What I hope is that you recognize and acknowledge how much you appreciate those special individuals gathered with you on this Thanksgiving 2019.

4. Freedom of beliefs. Before the Thanksgiving meal, families may choose to offer a blessing for those gathered, former family members, and the food itself. We have the opportunity to express our beliefs and gratitude (or not) in the manner of our choosing without restriction. And the Thanksgiving meal can be whatever we and those with us want it to be. This again is a privilege we should recognize and appreciate.

5. The positive changes you’ve made this year. Lastly, I want you to think about how your life has changed in 2019. Have you initiated these changes — personal, professional, health etc. — or have they been forced upon you? Which changes are you most proud of? And how can you experience more joy and happiness in your life and with loved ones in the New Year?

There you have it. Five things to be thankful for this year that you may not have thought of otherwise. Wishing all a safe and Happy Thanksgiving 2019!

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