It’s time to take a break from politics as far as it is possible. Plus, I really want to take a moment to share something I hold special.
Four years ago, my Thanksgiving was spent in Kyrgyzstan at the base of the Himalayan mountains. I had never actually seen snowfall in real life until that trip. It was a nose hair freezing -13° outside while my friends and I ate our makeshift cafeteria feast together. We were thousands of miles away from our families and friends in an environment where our flimsy jackets didn’t stand a chance against the onslaught of frigid temperatures outside, but we were thankful.
You see we were in Manas, which is a transit hub for our military to and from Afghanistan, and we were on the return trip back to the US. Our tour was finished.
Why I Was Thankful
We had gone through a difficult year as a light attack helicopter squadron and we had performed exceptionally on the battlefield. In fact, we were bringing every one of our Marines back home alive to their families. It didn’t matter what was happening in the world. It didn’t matter what the circumstances were outside. Nothing mattered.
We were alive. We had each other. We were coming home. Anyone looking at our faces could see it, we were thankful.
This month has been one of turmoil in the public arena. The election taking place didn’t soothe the intense and bitter feelings left over from the presidential campaign. Whatever your worldview is, there has been something lately that pushed your buttons and it hasn’t relented one bit.
The mood of the country has shifted to one of tension and anxiety. And memes circulating online set the stage for dreadful thanksgiving showdowns with relatives you don’t agree with. In all this, we seem to be losing something that has been special to all of us. The ability to forget the outside world for a minute, focus on what and who you have in your life, and be thankful.
This Thanksgiving, I have had the good fortune of spending the week with family and friends from both my hometown and my times in the military. Almost none of us agree with each other when it comes to the controversial and foundational viewpoints we may hold. None of that has mattered, we have all had that genuine look of warmth and satisfaction since the week started.
We have seen how ugly the world can get. But it’s time to sit back and rediscover the benefits of slowing down and enjoying some warm coffee in the sun (PS… we are in Stockton right now. There’s plenty of sun here). And just having a conversation about the family dog’s chew toy preferences can have on your peace of mind. We have put aside the weight we all are carrying, and have decided to simply be thankful for what we have.
Why I Am Grateful
This election cycle has been deeply troubling to me personally. Not because of any particular policy stances or any particular politician, but because of the way we have lost our connections to one another. I know most of us see it, and feel equally uneasy about the way things have been going. If that is you, make a decision today that you will take some time out to be thankful.
Be thankful for the friends or family members who have been there for you all these years, and move past the tension that this ugly abnormal time in our history has brought on. Grab some overcooked turkey, some gravy-soaked mashed potatoes, and remember what it feels like to connect once again. Today I have the privilege of being alive in what I believe is the best country in the world, surrounded by my friends and family who have helped me become someone I am proud to be. Today I am thankful.
Today I am thankful.