Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but with final exams nearing and project due dates looming ahead, reflecting on what we’re thankful for might not be the first thing on our minds. Many people pause on Oct. 31 to have fun on Halloween, some even planning their costumes weeks in advance. The minute Halloween is over, everyone is suddenly singing Christmas carols and stores begin putting out little plush Santa Clauses and Christmas tree ornaments. This year, let’s give Thanksgiving the attention it deserves by remembering what we have to be thankful for. If we’re being honest, the holidays can get overwhelming and even a little depressing at times. What we should be most thankful for are the things we take for granted. So let’s take a minute to remember our surroundings and see if it doesn’t change your perspective on the life you live.
Number one: This university
We can all agree that no school is perfect. Parking can be nearly impossible, sure, and at this point in the semester we might be sick of the caf food. Maybe you don’t like that chapel is mandatory or don’t agree with the religious beliefs upheld by the university. But there are people in other parts of the world who would do anything for an opportunity to go to school at all, not to mention a university like this one. Have you looked around lately? Have you seen the way the ocean looks when the sun is setting? Or noticed the way professors here actually seem to care about you as a person? If not, maybe it’s time to look a little closer. For junior applied health science major Nicholas Tarrant, he is thankful that “we can assemble as a whole in chapel to discuss issues and regardless of our view on them, accept each other for how we feel about certain things and not let it get between us.
Number two: San Diego weather
Yes, this is a small thing to be thankful for, but having weather that does not generally require a parka or an absurd air conditioning bill to live comfortably is a huge plus to living on the coast. If you’re wondering how you can stop yourself from taking sunny San Diego’s weather for granted, just take a road trip to the Central Valley for some triple-digit forecasts, or up to Oregon to experience what a real winter feels like. Perspective is everything.
Number three: The presidential election
Before everyone starts shouting, let me clarify: This is not about which presidential candidate won and who lost and why we should or should not be happy about it. The point is that regardless of whether your preferred candidate was Donald Trump, you had a say in the election. Having the opportunity to exercise your right as an American citizen and voting for who you think can best lead the U.S. is a privilege that many people died to make a right. “Even though it [the election] didn’t necessarily turn out how I thought it would or how I wanted it to, I was still able to put my opinion through,” said senior and bio chemistry major Sarah Pyle.
You can support or fight President Trump’s policies all you want, but remember this point: You have the freedom to do so, and that is something that we can all be grateful for.
Number four: Free music
Seriously, people, this has to be one of the best aspects to living in this century. Any song you could ever hope to listen to is just a few clicks away on your laptop or smartphone. If you want that Taylor Swift music blaring, go for it. If you’re feeling more mellow and you’re in desperate need of Ben Howard songs, you can access those too. Thanks, YouTube.
Number five: Our parents
I know that parents can be difficult sometimes, and we may butt heads with them more as we grow older. Whether our issues with our parents are as small as embarrassing dad jokes, or something more serious, our parents have played some role, even if just a small one, in where we are today. “You can come from a broken family, and the most amazing people still happen to come out of them,” said Tarrant.
Despite your current feeling towards your family, this Thanksgiving is a good time to show them some love first. Shed light on the fact that they raised you to the best of their abilities and loved you unconditionally. They may need that affirmation more than you realize.
Number six: Google
No, Google is not as heavy of a topic as presidential campaigns or parents. So why is it mentioned here? Because not a single person would have made it through high school if Google didn’t exist. Okay, maybe some of us, but at least half of us owe our high school diplomas, and possibly our college degrees, to this search engine.
Number seven: Safety
If you live on campus or anywhere in the Point Loma area, you know that it’s a safe place. Crime is minimal and people are generally caring for each other. PLNU specifically is the kind of place where you don’t need to constantly be paranoid that you or your belongings aren’t safe. In this day and age, safety is a rare commodity on a college campus and qualifies as something to be thankful for.
Number eight: Your life
Everyone could use a reminder that their life is of value. You are a living person who gets to make your own choices, for the most part, and direct your life the way you want it to go. Most of us get out of bed every morning relatively healthy. In college, you are progressing toward a career, even if you have no idea what that career is. “I have a strong faith that God still isn’t done with my life,” said Jesse Picar, a senior and business marketing major. “I believe that in every walk in life that God will always show His love through the people.”
Your life is a wonderful thing. If you’re in a hard place right now, and not seeing your life as something to be thankful for, just remember: There is someone out there who will think of you as they consider what they’re thankful for this Thanksgiving.