“Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.” -Marcus Aurelius
If you’ve followed my blog for long enough, you’d know I’m a practicing Stoic and a big fan of the Philosopher-King Marcus Aurelius. He seems to have wisdom for any situation, even getting out of bed. And since today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, it seemed an appropriate time to share some Stoic wisdom.
Now these days it seems a lot of people want to politicize everything, Thanksgiving included. Yes, I am aware of how European colonizers treated natives. No, I do not intend to minimize those injustices. But babies and bathwater, you know. We can argue these things tomorrow, but today we should instead focus on being thankful.
And if you live in the United States, you have a lot to be thankful for. Trust me. Even those of us who have put in 60 hour work weeks just to pay the bills (a life I’ve known myself) possess more material wealth than the richest man I met in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. A man the other locals looked at with envy. I mean, he had hundreds of goats!
Today, I’m most thankful for my family, above all else. I enjoyed my time as a young man, single and untethered to anyone else. And sometimes I do miss that freedom of doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. But none of that holds the smallest candle to the feeling I get when I come home from work to a chorus of Daddy! from my kids.
I’m thankful for the roof over my head, the clothes we wear, and my ability to write. I’m thankful for the good health of me and my family, especially in these days.
There are things that I want, of course. I’m only human. But as the Good Emperor reminds us, we ought to remember the blessings we do have, and remember that we would crave those too if we did not have them.
Oh, and I’m especially thankful to not be a Detroit Lions fan, since watching the Detroit Lions lose on Thanksgiving Day is practically an American past-time at this point.
What are you thankful for today?