by SARAH ATWOOD
First-year MM Violin
Being thankful can be a very relative thing. Cookie-cutter definitions of thankfulness might make the Thanksgiving holiday easier to advertise, but I believe that true thankfulness comes in many forms. It can be determined by where you live, what you do, and your family situation. It can be based on your perception of life and what is important. It can just be little things that make you smile. But above all else, it’s personal.
Your perception of thankfulness can also change. For example, I broke my foot during my freshman year, and for the whole following year I was simply grateful to be able to walk to class. That experience has worn off though, and now I’m thankful for the few minutes a day when I can sit down and get OFF my feet!
So try this thankfulness exercise: think carefully about your life and what you cannot live without (people, activities, places). Be brutally honest and realistic – I assure you that you really could live without your smartphone!
Next, think about the smaller things in life that make you truly happy, be it hot chocolate from Oakleaf or sleeping in on a cold morning (or yes, your smartphone!). All of these things–big and small, serious and silly–are valid things to acknowledge and be thankful for. Taking this moment to slow down is the most important step: it’s hard to be thankful if you never actually give yourself time to think!
Thanksgiving barely arrives soon enough, when the semester is at that tipping point of tiredness and busy schedules. But feeling thankful doesn’t have to relegated to this holiday. Every so often, remember to breathe and recognize all that is good in your life. All the dreary November days full of sniffly colds and 8am rehearsals are balanced out with good things. Promise!