Are You Truly Thankful This Year?

by Kevin on November 27, 2008

It’s Thanksgiving. That eventful day full of feasts for all to enjoy. Families in town, kids playing in yards, football on the TV. A busy day that culminates in everyone collapsing on a piece of furniture in a tryptophan-induced sleep.

But Thanksgiving is so stressful, right?

You most likely fall into one of these categories:

  • you are traveling to be with family,
  • your family is traveling to be with you, or
  • you have no one to travel to or to have visit you.

You’re either on the road, on a flight, hosting someone, or sitting at home alone. You are also dealing with other stressed out people who are doing these exact same things. Talk about a stressful time of year!

Throw in the idea that many people can’t afford to travel (and still will), home values are plummeting, the stock market and economy are in the tank, and unemployment is relatively high… what a great time to throw holiday stress on the minds of everyone.

Let’s Get Some Perspective

  • On Monday I highlighted an article about the 10 poorest countries in the world.
  • Last night/this morning the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India are being reported. 80+ people that were going about their normal business, killed.

There are millions if not billions of human beings just like you and I that live on less than $2 per day in income. There are countries that are far less safe, less developed, and less prosperous than the United States. Or Canada for my Canadian readers. Or the UK or any other western European readers.

While we complain….

  • about high gas prices…
  • about our 401k plans being cut in half because of the financial crisis…
  • about our government spending money it doesn’t have…
  • about how our jobs are terrible…
  • about how our stuff isn’t enough to satisfy us…

When our thoughts are full of…

  • coming up with an “attack plan” for Black Friday shopping…
  • what to get our spouse/significant other for Christmas and every other significant holiday in the year…
  • how much we really want that new iPod, digital camera, or HDTV…
  • how to manage your schedule so you can spend time off together with your spouse/significant other…

We miss the point. When was the last time you sat down and simply dedicated an hour to think about how absolutely rich you are. How much you’ve been blessed with the friends, family, and yes even that stuff that surrounds you. We are a ridiculously rich people, even the poorest of us. If you make minimum wage you are lightyears ahead of most of the world.

It sounds ridiculous to say it. We aren’t impacted on a daily basis by those other people out in the world. We may care about them, but they also slip from our mind.

So while you’re out hunting for the best Nintendo Wii deal this year, remember, somewhere in the world there is a large group of people that lack basic necessities for life. They don’t have solid shelter. They don’t have drinking water. They don’t have toilets, resulting in diseases running rampant. Imagine life without toilets!

I don’t write this to chastise anyone in particular. I’m guilty as well. I do hope it makes you truly remember how blessed you are this Thanksgiving.

{ 1 comment }

Russell Fascenda November 27, 2008 at 8:35 am

Kevin, this is a good post that ties in our financial focus with the holiday and everyday events. I share your outlook, just last evening I saw a promotion on local TV for the 11:00 news, they wanted me to stay tuned for a story about “will you be able to find the gadget you want to give as a gift”, with pictures of MP3 players, handheld video games, and cellphones on the screen.

I can’t imagine anyone has this as their prime concern. And the irony struck me that the same newscast that in some cases exaggerates the severity of economic news (not that it needs exaggeration), wants to advise me on how to succeed in spending money on these non-essential items.

The promotional spot merely reminded me why I don’t get my news from television. You made some good points, and it’s not just the richness of gifts and gadgets that you pointed out. Cigarettes, beer, lottery tickets, hamburgers, movie tickets, all are daily non-essentials that are enjoyed by what you legitimately call us ridiculously rich people.

Have a great day! For me it’ll be a non-stressful 80-mile motorcycle ride over the river and through the woods, to dinner with mother and my sister’s family.

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