Thanksgiving break is often misinterpreted, and people fail to understand the true purpose. Most students and working individuals view Thanksgiving Break as a time to step away from assignments or work for some time and relax. While it is nice to enjoy a few days off from academic and institutional obligations, that is not the purpose of Thanksgiving. The societal norm makes it this way. I used to think like that too, but that quickly changed after a shocking visit home and intense self-reflection over this past Thanksgiving Holiday. In mid-November, a few months into a busy, hardworking semester, I returned home excited to see family, friends, and all my pets, but I was met with unexpected news. I came home to find out that my Grandma was recently rushed to the hospital, and my Uncle was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. This was a major reality check for me, and I learned a lot from this visit home that felt too short when I realized I might not see them again. I am not telling you this for pity. I am here to teach you a valuable lesson I learned that you should apply to your mindset and life.
Then what is Thanksgiving Break for? It is for spending time with people you love and expressing gratitude for the blessings you have in your life. Expressing gratitude improves our overall well-being in several ways, including improved mental health, physical health, stronger social bonds, and resilience. Unfortunately, people don’t realize how much they love something or someone until it is gone. As a result, people tend to withhold their gratitude instead of expressing it when they feel it. I encourage you to avoid this and let those in your life know how thankful you are for them. This could be as simple as making a phone call, sending a text, or meeting and letting that person know. With Thanksgiving recently passing and the Christmas holidays quickly approaching, it is the best time of the year to do just that.
Tony Woo Jr