Feiger: Gobbled Up with Gratitude

by Leah Feiger | 11/27/11 11:00pm

There is a little something about Thanksgiving that makes everything seem so much better. Perhaps it's that everything smells like cinnamon, or maybe it's the bountiful and mouthwatering feasts that make the holiday so anticipated. For me, however, it is because I get to see my family.

Thanksgiving is one of the only times each year I get to see my mother's side of the family. I start to look forward to our reunions around early October, when it seems that autumn has finally rolled around. I look to the changing color of the trees, making a mental note that one of my favorite meals is just a couple of short months away. In the weeks before Thanksgiving, I delight in comparing traditions with my friends and hearing about what makes this weekend special to them. With November creeping around the corner comes a barrage of texts and emails from my excited parents, planning out our imminent family time.

When the months leading up to Thanksgiving turn to weeks and then finally turn to days, I can hardly contain my excitement. It seems that all of fall leads up to this fabulous occasion, and while I race to complete last-minute assignments so as not to miss even one game of Apples to Apples or Trivial Pursuit, I sometimes forget to take a minute and reflect on why I actually love this holiday so much.

This term has gone by at lightning speed. It seems like years instead of mere weeks ago that I stumbled into Wheelock Books, begging the cashiers to find my course books after hurriedly taking in the new FoCo. This term has been spotted with interesting stories good and bad and as a columnist for The Dartmouth, I have spent most of my time analyzing and critiquing the problems I see in the world and its applications to Dartmouth. I never really took the time to think about how lucky I am to even begin to make these claims, arguments and retorts.

I sit in King Arthur Flour writing this article, sipping on hot chocolate in a warm and comfortable environment surrounded by some of my closest friends. I am so thankful just for this setting. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the small trials and tribulations that seem to be sprinkled throughout different aspects of my life, and while it's unfortunate that it takes a date in my calendar to remind me of this fact, the reminder remains just the same. Unlike so much of the world's population, I am guaranteed three meals a day, an unmatchable education, indoor lodgings and a family that loves me. This is my thank you column.

This Thanksgiving, I was thankful for many things that I am not among the 80 percent of people who live on less than $10 a day, I was not one of 22,000 children to die due to poverty every day, I was not one of over 120 million children not enrolled in school and I am not one of over 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS. I am thankful that the water I drink and the food I eat isn't going to make me sick.

All of these statistics and numbers can seem meaningless (it's hard to imagine 100 people, let alone a million) but that is part of my Thanksgiving experience delighting in my fortunes, while remembering that not everyone can be so lucky. My goal for this year, my Thanksgiving resolution if you will, is to stop limiting when I give thanks to a single, specific day.

With Thanksgiving over, and the time for thankful reflection seemingly gone with it, I want to work to extend this spirit to months beyond November. While sitting in King Arthur eating croissants and complaining about my homework load, I want to try and remember just how lucky I am to have books to read and professors who challenge me. Thank you, Dartmouth, for an engaging and interesting Fall term. Thank you, readers of The Dartmouth, for your insightful comments and readership. Thank you to my family and friends, for your unconditional love and support. It is my hope that upon returning to finals period, weighed down with books, papers and exams, we can try to extend Thanksgiving to December.