By Corley Tweedy

   I honestly cannot believe that it is already time for Thanksgiving; where has this semester gone? The older I become, the more I see time truly fly by. It’s funny: in the moment, the days and weeks seem to drag by, but when I look back, it is unreal to me that I am already halfway through my third year of college.

   Something happens around this time each year, and the more I try to slow down and appreciate the moment, the more this bothers me: Christmas seems to come earlier and earlier each year. Now, I am probably Christmas’ biggest fan; it is my favorite holiday, where I get to spend quality time with the ones I love—and I relish every minute.

   But there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for Christmas to begin the day after Halloween! I remember when I was little (it scares me that I can say that now) Christmas music would start playing the day after Thanksgiving and end the day after Christmas. I always thought the day after Thanksgiving was a tad early, but now it seems that we don’t even feel the need to observe Thanksgiving, other than to stuff ourselves with food and get out of school for a few days.

   Some people choose to “observe” their thanks via  30 Days of Thanksgiving posts to Facebook or Twitter—whether that’s your speed or not, I think we could all benefit from taking the time to write down 30 things that we are thankful for this year. When I sat down to do this, I was surprised at how long it took me to enumerate the things I am thankful for, given the many opportunities and blessings in my life. In the end I came up with things like having a car, being able to volunteer, being able to run, migraine medicine, humor, memories…and, of course, cats, twinkle lights, and post-its.

   I am afraid that as a society, we are perhaps the most self-absorbed people in the world. What perhaps started as a joke on Twitter, the “#firstworldproblems” phrase, is all too true. Thinking through a typical day of mine, I realize just how many things I complain about that I should be thankful I have in the first place. My iPhone’s button is not responding—I have an iPhone; the dishwasher is full—we have sanitary dishes; we don’t have a TV remote—I am able to watch my favorite show in the comfort of my living room; it’s cold outside—I have a plethora of coats and scarves; my list goes on, because I complain entirely too much. But as I think more about the season of thanksgiving, and the spirit of thanksgiving, it occurs to me once more that I need to not take my blessings for granted. There are many people right here in the Shenandoah Valley living without many of the things I consider to be “important” comforts, like heat, internet, and cable, and even without some of the necessities of life such as food and shelter.

   As time continues to whiz past me at such an unbelievable rate, my subconscious stops me periodically to remind me to be thankful for what I have. The individual days are often not easy, but in the scheme of things, I have it pretty good. I have a loving, supportive family, great friends, the opportunity for quality education, a stable living environment… the list goes on and on. I wish I didn’t need my list to remind me of my blessings.

   So as the Christmas season rushed quickly toward us, I hope that you will join with me in an effort to preserve Thanksgiving as more than a meal, and continue to value our blessings, even when the moment is difficult—that moment will be gone before you know it.

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