In Canada, today is Thanksgiving. Gobble Gobble to you and yours. It is the longest day of the year, in that it started on Saturday and ends tonight. That’s right, we have morphed Thanksgiving into a three-day, potpourri (there’s the word of the day) of food, relaxation, family time, and being thankful for everything we have. Tomorrow, we get back to regularly scheduled selfishness. But, why does it have to end today? Because the calendar said so? That’s a poor excuse.
I am not suggesting that we should have a Thanksgiving feast every single day of the year. We would all be obese. Heck, I had enough food today to feed an entire Grade 2 class. I can’t do that every day. Or can I…? NO PAUL, YOU CAN’T. Sorry, that was the food talking.
I guess, what I’m trying to say, is this…
Every year, Thanksgiving weekend rolls around and everyone starts showing how thankful they are for what they have in their life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It is a shame, however, that it takes a specific date on a calendar for us to show our appreciation. Why can’t we act like this every day?
Just the other day, people couldn’t use their cell phone because the network was down. And you know what I saw? People complaining. Come on. I didn’t realize that a few hours without contacting people via mobile device had turned into a natural disaster. This is the reason why people who did not grow up with cell phones, shake their fist, raise an eyebrow, and give an unsatisfied smirk at my generation while saying, “kids these days”. They have a point. Be thankful we live in an era where we don’t have to write letters or find the nearest pay phone in order to contact someone. And if you can’t be thankful for that, then keep it to yourself.
Back to calendars.
Calendars control us. Since when, you ask? Well, I guess it’s been that way for a while now. Think about it. A calendar controls when we are to celebrate a specific moment and for how long.
Our birthday only comes once a year, unless you’re birthday is February 29th. We celebrate our birthday. We have cake. We get the “Happy Birthday” wall posts on Facebook. We get the texts at midnight from the people who want to be “the first”. We get all of it to commemorate our first day in this world. And it makes sense. We can’t celebrate our birthday twice – unless you’re at a restaurant and you tell the waitress that it is your birthday, just so you can get a free dessert (I’ve witnessed this first-hand). It is a one day event. Apparently I’m wrong, though. I see terms like “Birthday Weekend” and “Birthday Month” getting thrown around like they mean something. They don’t. Your birth certificate has one date on it. Don’t be greedy. Or maybe, these people are onto something by extending their birthday…
Then there’s Christmas. Christmas seems to kick in on November 1st. As soon as Halloween is over, the skeleton on your front door comes down and the wreath goes up. The Christmas music starts playing. The “I love Christmas music” Facebook statuses start appearing on your news feed. Followed by the “I hate snow” and “I hate the cold” statuses, which are right before the “YAY SNOW DAY” statuses. (I gotta blog about Facebook sometime. I already know it’ll be fun). The Home Alone movies play on TV. The weather outside becomes “frightful”. And the “warm and fuzzy” feelings start to kick in. Christmas is also a one day event, but it has been stretched into a two-month period of happiness and cheer – so the song goes.
In my opinion, my birthday and Christmas are two of the best days of the year. And it seems like people yearn to make both occasions longer than they actually are. Eventually, the feeling we receive during Christmas time, and on our birthday, goes away. It does not last 365 days of the year. It’s sad, really. Everyone seems to be in a good mood during these two moments, especially Christmas. Maybe it’s all the sugar.
If we can extend our birthday celebrations to an entire month, and Christmas to two months, Thanksgiving for 12 months can’t be that difficult. Can it?
So, if a calendar controls when we celebrate certain events, and the event dictates how we are supposed to feel, what do we do the rest of the time? Do we take life, holiday-to-holiday, changing our emotions for each one? That sounds wrong. Why is it that it takes a calendar to say “Thanksgiving” for us to tell people that we are thankful to have them in our life, or to spend time with family. Or is everyone afraid to say how they really feel and don’t want to be seen as sappy? I get it. Actually, no I don’t.
It’s like we flip a switch and we’re all in “Thanksgiving Mode”, but as soon as it’s over, we go back to an alternate life – one without a huge turkey on the table. As if three days of giving thanks was enough. We abandon how we felt while we were in “Thanksgiving Mode”. We also attempt to abandon the five pounds we gained.
If any holiday can be extended throughout the entire year, it’s Thanksgiving. And I don’t mean that when you look at the calendar, every day will have “Thanksgiving” written on it. Let’s save some ink.
It’s in the way we think, in the way we act, and in the way we treat those around us, that Thanksgiving can be every day. (In school, that last sentence would be called a thesis statement.) Is it so hard to wake up every day and be thankful for what you have? To be happy that you always have that one person you can talk to about anything. To be thankful for a roof over your head and food on the table? To say “thank you”? I don’t think it’s that hard and I don’t think it’s something that should only be done because a calendar told us to act that way on a specific day.
I know that there are many people who are thankful every day. Some show it. Some don’t. Either way, they are thankful for what they have. Then there are others who are not thankful. I guess the world needs balance.
Why wait an entire year, when you can behave a certain way, every day? It’s like the fascination with New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve never understood them. First of all, they don’t last more than a few weeks. Don’t tell me they do, because as soon as February 1st hits, I don’t hear the phrase again for another 11 months. And second, you mean to tell me that just because the calendar reads January 1st, that you are ready to change something about yourself? Again, why let a calendar dictate when you should do something? It doesn’t make sense to me.
If you want to lose weight, start today. If you want to quit smoking, start today. If you want to be a better person, start today. Don’t wait until January 1st, just so you can get on your high horse, stick your chest out, and proclaim: “My New Year’s Resolution is…” because you want to impress people and hear them provide you with a false sense of accomplishment when they say, “that’s great!” or “good for you!”
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. I think it brings out the best in people. But the truth is, for all of us, tomorrow is never a guarantee. And although we never want to believe that death is that close, it could be. That’s reality. We don’t come with an expiration date on our wrist.
Every day is a gift. Showing how thankful we are, for only 3 days of the year, is an injustice to the other 362 days.
So, as this Thanksgiving weekend ends, the countdown to Halloween will officially begin. Then the countdown to Christmas. Then the countdown to kickoff. (Sorry, the NFL has brainwashed me). Then the countdown to New Year’s. Then the next holiday. And the next one. And the next one after that. Until we reach Thanksgiving, once again, and go through the motions of a society deadlocked in a tradition that only lasts for three days.
Or, we can ask for a take-out container on this Thanksgiving holiday. And instead of filling it with turkey leftovers – which will be gone in a week – we fill it with how we currently feel and keep this feeling for the next 365 days.
I think, if people did that, life would be gravy.