Thanksgiving is Nearly Here

This year, people can share their homes for the holidays after that year we would like to all forget. But with this annual holiday, I’d just like to remind people of a few things.

Be grateful for what you have, even if you don’t think it’s that much. You have more than others and that’s something to be grateful for. I’m grateful because I have an amazing family system, both my biological family and the one I married into. I’m grateful because I have the best friends on the planet and you can’t change my mind. I have a roof over my head, that may not seem like much, but it’s ours. We worked hard for it and I don’t care whether or not you’re impressed by it. It’s mine and I’m grateful every day for it. I’m grateful for my writing jobs and my current job. I’m grateful to have my husband and the boys. It’s easy to forget about the things that you should be grateful for when you’re busy trying to keep up with the Joneses. But once you start listing them, you realize there’s a lot to be grateful for.

You don’t have to agree with someone to be kind to them. These days, there’s this hard line drawn between conservatism and liberalism. It still boggles my mind how crazy people are about this. Instead of tossing childish insults and ignoring the other side, maybe try finding some common ground. Can’t find anything to agree on? Who said you had to? One person’s beliefs should not dictate whether or not you should be kind to them. Kill ’em with kindness anyways. Sometimes taking the higher ground is the best choice, because then you can walk away with the moral satisfaction that you didn’t stoop to someone else’s level. Just be kind. And here’s a little hint: it doesn’t even need to be a holiday for you to be kind. Think about it.

And finally, take the time to give back. I’m of the belief, and this is something I’ve worked so hard to instill in my kids, is that you should do something that can make a difference in someone’s life. I think you should do this every day that you can, but this is especially important at the holidays. Some people have difficult relationships with their families. Some people don’t have families. Some people don’t have homes or money for their own holiday meal. You shouldn’t need to advertise your good deed to get social media karma points. You should just want to help your fellow person. Even the smallest act can have some significant impact, whether you realize it or not. Make your impact today.

That’s my annual reminder for the holidays. Enjoy your time with your family or friends or anyone else that you choose to spend your day with. Life’s too short, so appreciate it more.

The People’s Curiosity 

Every time there is a tragedy, whether it is one personal to you or one where the masses are affected, we cannot help but to ask why it happened. “Why did my friend beat cancer to only die of a stroke?” “Why did that person shoot down all of those people?” We are curious by nature. That is why religion exists. Because people are curious and want answers and sometimes religion is needed to give those answers.

But what happens when there are no answers? It’s hard to believe that any God would wish that type of slaughter of the masses, so is there really an answer to be found in your belief? What happens if there are never answers? Will it be something that we will obsess over? The unfortunate reality is that sometimes there are no answers and we have to be okay with that. We have to accept that sometimes people just snap and kill people without any reason or without any one definitive answer.

Right now, we are obsessed with Las Vegas. But soon we’ll forget about it as we have with every other tragedy. Nothing will change. People won’t change. People need to change. Everything needs to change.

This isn’t about gun control. Another unfortunate reality is that there is nothing that we can do, and I say that as a person who thinks the idea that anyone can buy a gun without anyone looking into them is a crazy idea. People are still going to find guns illegally. People are going to find ways to cause whatever mayhem and destruction that they want to. It’s a terrible reality that we cover up by thinking reforming gun laws is going to help. We like to lie to ourselves to make ourselves feel a little bit better about things.

I’m afraid to send my kids to school, even my youngest at elementary school. I don’t admit it to them. I worry when my oldest walks to Burger King. I worry when he takes his scooter out or goes to a place where there are a lot of people. I worry whenever I go to a convention, looking around for the closest exits wherever I am. When I’m at home, I have something hidden in every room that I could potentially use as a weapon just in case. I worry but I suck it up and just hope that today is not going to be the day. We think that because we live in the greatest country in the world that nothing is going to happen and that we are safe. We’re not. The worst part is that it is not the terrorists from other countries that we have to worry about; it’s ourselves.

Now that I’ve already said that sometimes there’s never going to be an answer, that gun control laws are not going to help matters, and that I live in fear, you may be thinking “but what can we do then?” I don’t know. I’m a writer. I write thoughts and feelings with the hope that someone gets inspired about my words or sit back and go “I know exactly what you mean”. Maybe if we taught our kids to wake up and make someone smile every day. When my youngest goes to school, he hugs anyone that will let him to say “hello”. He smiles at other kids and they seem to be infected by the smile, and a chain reactions of hugs and smiles happens. We could learn a lot from kids. At jury duty yesterday, as miserable as I was to be there (massive sinus headache and general illness in addition to the “ugh, why do I have to be here every 3 years”) I smiled at everyone I saw and politely conversed with them despite my better nature to ignore everyone and just stay to myself. I wanted to see what happened. As it turns out, everyone smiled back and engaged me. They seemed better and it started a chain of kindness.

The whole point here is that maybe we can change. I keep emphasizing that our children are a blank canvas that we can mold into better people than their previous generations, but we can be better. Start off by doing one kind thing every day. It could be a simple smile at another person or it could be a larger act like donating those clothes that you’re never going to wear again or donating time at a soup kitchen. We have more power than we think we do. That is how I think we can change the world.