When my boys were little — they are little now, but I mean littler — they would frequently wake me up in the middle of the night.
After I would get them settled back down, I found myself struggling to get back asleep. I was already exhausted from the day and I needed every minute of sleep I could get. Why the #*%# was my brain keeping me up?
A friend suggested that the next time it happened I should try listing all the things I was thankful for.
The next night I tried it and I was back asleep in two seconds.
At first I thought I fell asleep so quickly because listing things relaxed me, like counting sheep. But it felt more like when I was in college and my physics textbook was so dull, it was more powerful than any sleeping pill. There is no adrenaline rush from thinking about all your blessings.
I wondered: Am I really so bored by my own gratefulness?
So when I was trying to decide what to write for my Thanksgiving column I worried if thankfulness was too boring of a subject. Nobody needs a sleep aid over Thanksgiving; everyone is already so pumped full of turkey and wine.
And truthfully I’m not a big fan of Thanksgiving. I don’t eat turkey. I don’t like cranberry sauce. I’m allergic to sweet potatoes. But as I age, I do think there is a big place for a day of giving thanks. It’s important to feast, to savor and to enjoy family and friends. It is important to have a day where we put away our desires and focus on all that we have, even if it seems like very little.
I don’t have any new perspectives on thankfulness, but I do want to encourage you to take the time to be thankful.
So this Thursday, after you are stuffed with tryptophan from the turkey and melatonin from all the red wine, if you are still awake list all that you are grateful for (like that someone invented TUMS). It’ll put you right to sleep.
Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving.