Photo: Courtesy of Lola Montilla

Lola’s POV: Gratitude Should Be Expressed EVERY Day

My Thanksgiving Day usually begins with me, waking up my parents around 10:30 am to hurry downstairs and watch the Thanksgiving Day parade, which is often interrupted by tens of calls from family members and friends wishing us a Happy Thanksgiving and being appreciative for us being in their lives. Then it sometimes transforms into us rushing, getting dressed and ready for our family gathering at my grandmother’s home, where we’d eat for hours, and talk even longer. We’d join as a family and say a prayer and give thanks for all the food, blessings and the fact that we’re all together.

Thanksgiving has become a celebration that is too focused on habit and practices we’ve inherited and it drives me insane! I look at social media and advertisements in my online and physical community and it looks all the same: the food, the ornaments. It’s turkey this, turkey that! Decorations and color schemes, and outfits, and “this many days til’ Christmas!” I feel like every year I have this expectation that Thanksgiving Day will come around and I’ll feel different or more grateful than the day before, but the reality is, I feel exactly the same way – except maybe a bit fuller and chubbier and guilty of all my unhealthy choices and caloric intake.

The Thanksgiving Day parade looks the same, exciting yet far, and every year I feel confident enough to pinpoint when each giant character balloon will pop up and who is going to sing next, but the repertoire changes without letting me know. I see the Radio City Rockettes and think to myself “Do I have the precision to hit those kicks?” but I never think “Yes, today, out of all the other 364 days of the year, uh-huh, today I am grateful.” Of course, I am grateful every day and I always have something to give thanks for, but what gets to me is that people think this is the only occasion in which to show gratitude, like it’s a box you must check off or something.   

Every single day there is something to be appreciative for, even when some days can feel like the worst, there’s still something (small as it may be) that will make you feel grateful for what you have. You may not see it in the moment but it’s always there. Thanksgiving, in my POV, has changed drastically since social media became as big as it is now, and there are very little moments in which I say this but, just like there are things that technology facilitates, there are some things that are better without technology. To plaster on your Facebook wall that you are thankful for the person sitting across from you at the dinner table does not carry the same weight as saying it to their face, because one of the things I’ve learned these past couple of years is that everything is easier when you write it and you hide behind a screen or a scrap of paper (remember my bullying POV)? Whatever you feel like you can express in your writing, I’m sure you can say with words. Not only will it be better for you to receive an actual emotional reaction instead of a like or a share on your post, but the person receiving this beautiful gift of appreciation will be so grateful to be by your side, you might even get a thank you post!

Catch my drift? Something that we should do on a daily basis, something as easy as a “Thank you [insert your Supreme Being of choice, if any] for…” has become something that we have to wait 365 days for! Seriously? Why can’t we do this every day so then on Thanksgiving Day we can focus on being together and being thankful for the moment? We don’t need one  “special designated day” to be thankful. Focus on finding at least one thing to be grateful for every day, and I’m sure you’ll not only begin to be more grateful for the small things, but you’ll understand my POV along with many other people about what they’re grateful for and why.  

I hope you all got to had a great Thanksgiving Day, but even more so, I wish you find reasons to be grateful not just today but every day!