Today is the last day of the 30 Days of Thanks. I’ve never participated in this and I don’t know anything about its origin, but my experience of it was to post something I was thankful for every day in November. I got involved because I just happened to see a post by a friend on November 1st and I thought that it sounded like a fun challenge. I had no idea what a journey it would be.
I started off pretty simple, but I did have a blog post associated with my first 30 Days of Thanks post. As I went along, my posts became almost like daily devotionals where I briefly explored my inspiration and either implored my family and friends to do something or offered up a blessing. It was an emotional and intellectual stretch, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
Before beginning this post, I went back through all of my 30 Days of Thanks Facebook posts to look for a theme. Almost every one of my posts was associated, in some way, to the relationships that are an integral part of my life. I place a very high value on relationships with others and participation in community, and that was made even more apparent through my expressions of gratitude. I also noticed that my posts tended to reflect how I believe a person should live their life: by LIVING thankfulness. If a person is to truly be thankful, there must be action associated with words or private thoughts. It is one thing to say you are thankful for having a warm home to protect you from the elements, and another to find a way to try to help improve the situation of someone who does not have such a blessing in their life.
It has always been important that I remember that I am able to live the wonderful life I have because of all the people who have come before me. Sure, I’ve made choices in my life and put in hard work to set up a comfortable life, but I have the skill sets that I do because they have been passed down through the generations. I know that I never have to worry about being homeless because my exceedingly brave ancestors came across the ocean and built a life in an unknown land, leaving me with a plot of land. I have an incredible and unique set of circumstances because others have worked hard and left me with a legacy to live up to. The thought of not living a life that recognizes these facts is abhorrent to me. The 30 Days of Thanks exercise reinforced this belief.
I believe that living thankfulness makes everyone better. I want to inspire and encourage others to more fully live thankfulness. I have heard it said (or read it in a Facebook meme…who really knows anymore?) that if you can do something every day for a month, it becomes a habit. In this vein, I am asking that my followers (or anyone interested) write down something they are thankful for each day during the month of December. Yes, that is exactly they same as the 30 Days of Thanks that just ended. However, I’m not asking that this be public and I encourage those participating to write more than a simple, “I am thankful for warm mittens.” This exercise is meant to stretch you, so expand on why you are thankful. Better yet, write down what you are thankful for when you are having a tough moment during your day. One thing that I learned (well, rediscovered) is that you can turn around a sour mood by taking a moment to find something positive about your situation. During this month of habit formation, look for ways you can turn your thankfulness into action. If you are thankful for warm mittens, maybe you can make a pair to give to a local charity. At the end of the month, write up a synopsis of your experience. What did you learn? How were you changed? Has your daily routine changed in any way? In what ways could you have done more? How will you continue to integrate living thankfulness into your life?
Make sure to link back to this post and I will keep us all linked up together. Anyone can start at any time, it doesn’t just have to be the month of December! Let’s keep growing thankfulness and see what kind of impact we can make.