Being thankful the other 364 days

Jacob Johnston

s Thanksgiving and the inevitable Black Friday approaches, the question always arises: why is black Friday, the day we are so focused on buying new clothes and electronics and other goods, after Thanksgiving, the day we are supposed to be thankful and content with what we already have?

I’ve participated in Black Friday just once in my life. It was like every November day in Washington: gray, rainy, and windy. Traffic was awful as my parents and I drove to the mall, but I was excited. When I arrived, I realized just how ridiculously big of an event Black Friday was. The parking lot was packed to corners. I waited 20 minutes with my parents in our car just to find a free parking spot. When I finally entered the mall, my excitement wavered, as I was suddenly confronted with a wave of people pressing against me. The excitement and hype continued to decline as I went from store to store. Nothing was as I pictured it, the happy Christmas shoppers swaying gaily to and fro were nowhere to be found. Everything was replaced with a mob of sweaty and slightly crazy shoppers.

As I shopped around, none of the things I bought, none of the new clothes, or electronics really fulfilled me. As I returned home, the “high” of shopping, the joy of spending money vanished in an instant. All I was left with was a bunch of empty bags. When we go spend money on the newest things on Black Friday, we diminish the importance of being thankful that Thanksgiving teaches us.

Why are we thankful only on Thanksgiving? Every day we should wake up thankful that we are alive and well, warm and safe in a house where we can shower and eat and be with our family. We are part of a very privileged society, with many things to be thankful for, yet we rarely even care about the things we own. We need to appreciate things more often; because being thankful for what you have makes that old crappy thing you want to get rid of all the more important. So try it; make it your mission to say one thing you are thankful for every day when you wake up. You might be surprised how many things you are thankful for.