The Thanksgiving Project: Giving thanks for the little things

The Thanksgiving Project discusses the big and small reasons to be grateful and invites you to share your own throughout October and November.

Stopping to smell the roses isn’t easy these days. Between deadlines at work, to-do lists at home and calendars stuffed with too many commitments, the little things tend to get pushed to the side. But it’s precisely during these busy times when taking time for life’s simple pleasures matters the most.

I found myself in a “roses versus responsibilities” dilemma this past summer. It was the weekend and my to-do list had gotten out of hand. I was winding down my time at my old job and stressing about the amount of work I needed to get through. An annoying case of writer’s block also had me frustrated and anxious.

I had been invited down to my Grandma’s beach near Goderich, Ontario but given the amount on my plate, I didn’t think I’d go. Then I remembered the list I had made while undergoing treatment for my leukemia a few years ago. It contained all the things that make life so awesome. And sure enough, #60 jumped off the page: Grandma’s beach.

A couple hours later I was floating in a kayak watching the sun set over Lake Huron (#77 on my list by the way). Poof! The weight of work and stresses from home evaporated.

I returned home rejuvenated, inspired and relaxed. Making time for life’s roses was well worth it.

The world is full of a lot of big problems – war, famine, economic instability, Jersey Shore (I’m sorry, it’s a terrible show and you know it). But it’s also full of so many little bits of awesome. Regularly acknowledging and making room for those little bits will help keep your spirits buoyed amidst the bigger stuff.

And the more you’re deliberate about noticing the little roses in your life, the more you’ll start to see them all around you. Make your own list of life’s simple pleasures. Try to incorporate at least one of those items in your life each day.

So here’s to the little things. Here’s to beach sunsets and kayaks. Here’s to gin and tonics and beating my mom at Scrabble. Here’s the smell of campfires and taking hikes to see the Fall colours. Here’s to Indian Buffets and a sandwich on fresh bread. Here’s to thunderstorms on cloudy days and shooting stars on clear nights. Here’s to the million and one herbs and spices that make life so tasty.

What are you grateful for? Please add your items to the Thanksgiving List—the goal is to have 1,000 items by the end of November. You can also add your items on my Facebook Page and on Twitter, using the #thanksgivingproject hashtag.

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Funny stories. Good advice. Josh Martin is the author of “Simple(ton) Living: Lessons in balance from life’s absurd moments.” and “Balancing Priorities and Prioritizing Balance”. Click here to learn more and to purchase a copy.

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