Giving Thanks, Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

24 Nov

I’ve decided the most important time to be thankful is when things aren’t going your way. When life feels unfulfilling. When it’s easier to name what’s lacking in your life.

Lucky for me, the holiday of Giving Thanks happens to fall right in the midst of such a time. My twenties have been nothing like what I thought they would be. At 27, I’m still not sure what I want to be when I grow up, I haven’t bought a house, I haven’t gotten married, I haven’t even had a job for the past year. Focusing on all I haven’t accomplished, though, gets me nowhere. And the truth is my priorities have changed. Many of those things I thought I’d achieve in my twenties aren’t even accomplishments I want under my belt these days.

In my family, we used to go around the Thanksgiving dinner table and each say something for which we were thankful. But this year, I feel it necessary to go beyond one thing. I need to remind myself of all that I am thankful for, because even though my twenties haven’t been what I thought they’d be, I still have many blessings to count. So I’ve decided to make a list of all that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Go ahead and make your own list. It’s important to write it down. Not only because writing is therapeutic, but also because you can return to it throughout the year whenever you need a reminder.

I Am Thankful For:

My mom, who is my best friend.

Girl friends. Every woman needs them, and mine are spectacular.

Not being married or having kids at 27.

My family. After witnessing so many dysfunctional families in my life, I am especially thankful for my wonderful, hilarious, loving family.

Peppermint white mochas from Starbucks.

My dog, who keeps me company and cuddles with me whenever I want.

My education. Even though it hasn’t helped me get a job, it made me smart, analytical, and open-minded.

CDs. Because MP3s just aren’t the same.

The man who convinced me I could love again, and became one of my best friends in the process.

Old friends who resurface and remind me of parts of myself I had forgotten.

Sparkly things. They make me feel happy and magical.

My soul mate. He helped me through the most difficult time in my life. One of the most amazing people I’ve had the pleasure to know.


Asheville, for being vegetarian-friendly, which allows me to give vegetarianism another shot.

The man who broke my heart, but taught me the most about love and friendship, for making me stronger and more self-aware.

Strangers who smile at me.


My honorary sisters: Kelly, Meg, and Cam.

My big brothers, for always having my back. And making me tough.

My ability to not identify with any specific religion or country.


Friends, the television show, for cheering me up and making me laugh every single time.

My dad, for believing I am the most amazing daughter in the world, regardless of what I’ve accomplished, where I work, who I date, where I live, or what I decide to do with my life.




3 Responses to “Giving Thanks, Even When You Don’t Feel Like It”

  1. jess rosen November 24, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

    Lauren, you are so wise, I haven’t talked to you in years, but I just wanted to say, being married or having kids or whatever are amazing things, but having confidence and insight into who you are is priceless

  2. meg November 28, 2010 at 9:18 am #

    this is a wonderful exercise for everyone to do, and not just at thanksgiving. give thanks! it’s so easy to get caught up in our struggles and the downward pull of negative emotions. pausing to fill up with gratitude can give you perspective, lightness and inspiration. i appreciate how open you were in writing this list. i especially like being named an honoray sister and the part about your big brothers. we love you lauren. i believe our 20’s are for truly experiencing life with freedom, figuring out what’s important to us and who we want to be. there’s no rush, it will all come to you. namaste.

    • Mom November 28, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

      I am proud to have such a thoughtful and beautiful daughter both inside and out. Our love is forever. May your journey be full of twists and turns….

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