The Beginning of the End

Myth 150This week marks the beginning of the end of the year, which just happens to be my favorite time. In just a few short days those of us in the US will be celebrating Thanksgiving, which is the gateway to the Holiday Season. After that, we’ll be putting up our Yuletide decorations, getting trees, thinking about all of the presents we have to make or buy, preparing for the parade of holiday parties. Well, I will — I’m sure we all have different holiday experiences, which is totally fine.

Personally, I think that Thanksgiving is the perfect start to the holiday season; it’s a day meant for being grateful about all of the blessings you have while spending time feasting with your friends and/or family. If you lay the foundation here, you can ride that wave of gratitude all the way through Christmas and New Year’s. You basically get to spend a month high on thankfulness, which is a great way to be!

So I’ve been spending the last few days thinking about the things I’m grateful to have in my life. To be honest, there’s a lot. I’m in a loving, stable relationship with a wonderful and talented man. I live in a great part of the country, where our marriage is recognized and supported by a community of passionate and intelligent people. I have a number of awesome friends, locally and across the country and world, where I’m engaged with a host of different lifestyles, perspectives and beliefs. I have more inspiration than I know what to do with. In fact, the biggest challenges I face right now is learning how not to indulge in the abundance I have too freely.

It is literally an embarrassment of riches. It’s hard to write a list of the things I’m grateful for and share it without feeling like I’m bragging. I know that there are a lot of people who don’t have the things that I do, but I hope there are other things in their lives that I’m grateful for. I feel like I’m in a place where I can help folks who are less fortunate, but I want to be smart about it. What’s the best way to help the largest number of people? What sort of charities are more focused on helping people in need than advancing an agenda or funneling the money into keeping themselves in operation? It’s a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem I consider quite a bit.

And that’s another thing this time of year is good for. It’s a short leap from being grateful to being concerned that the people around you get to share in this season of good friends and good feeling. What could we be doing to spread our own personal joy to those people around us? Are there food drives going on in your neighborhood that might help needy families celebrate with their own feasts? What about clothing drives that help people keep warm this winter?

At least, this is where my thought process goes through the holiday. I think about my life, think about everything I’ve survived to get where I am, and I get tremendously happy. And I want to help other people feel happy too. Maybe it’s just because I never had holidays when I was a kid, but the shine hasn’t fallen off the apple yet. There may come a day in a decade or two where Yuletide is more trouble than it’s worth, but I’m hoping that day is far in the future.

Happy holidays, guys. I sincerely hope that they’re filled with joy and cheer.

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