By Roberto Blanco, M.D.
I love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday of the year. Each year my family gets together to catch up, share quality time and make plans for the future. Leading up to the holiday season this year, however, I had been feeling less than excited about the holidays. Having become accustomed to my daily routine, I found myself searching for a way to escape that monotonous, empty feeling.
So, this year, in celebration of Thanksgiving, I began a list of gratitude: 100 things for which I am thankful. This is not a list of wants or obligations that we create for ourselves - a Christmas wish list, a list of New Year’s Resolutions, or a ‘Bucket List’ (a list of things to do or see before you die). It is a celebration of that with which you have already been blessed. On my list included things like having my health, living in a country with tremendous opportunity, and being able to spend time with family.
Nobody’s family, financial, or personal situations are perfect. For evidence of this, just look at the personal lives of celebrities. And so it’s not surprising that many people can get down during the holiday season because it often reminds us of what we don’t have or didn’t accomplish. This often leads to feelings of emptiness or longing that set the stage for self-destructive situations.
Many individuals take what they have been blessed with for granted and don’t truly appreciate what they have until it’s gone. If you have ever lost something dear to you, you understand this adage all too well. This year, let’s try not to make the same mistake. This year, let’s focus on what we have rather than what we don’t.