Monday, November 23, 2015

On being more than thankful

I don't know about you, but my heart has been hurting so much the past few weeks. I went into my waitressing shift two Friday nights ago in absolute shock, as I read the beginning reports of what was happening in Paris on my phone. I got home around midnight and sat on the couch alone, watching the news, balling my eyes out. And not only was I sad, but I was scared. I know we are told to not be fearful because that is what "they" want, but I couldn't help it. What happened in Paris, could happen anywhere.

Ten years ago, at this time, I was studying abroad in Paris. I lived in the 11th arrondissement, near the Bastille, and a quick hop, skip, and metro ride to the Marais district. I formed some wonderful friendships in Paris, and we all loved exploring the city together. We got into some trouble too (nothing too crazy), but isn't that what living is about? Of course, all our favorite memories of that time involve food. Grabbing falafels on our school lunch break at L'As du Falafel in the Marais, getting a fresh Nutella crepe at 3am from a street vendor, or stopping at the bakery near school to grab a meat and butter sandwich on a fresh baguette (don't knock it until you try it). All these memories have been rushing through my head these past few weeks. I can't help but watch the news coverage and listen to NPR constantly and feel sick to my stomach thinking about the people involved.


Me, circa 2005, at the real Moulin Rouge

As Thanksgiving is this week, I have been thinking a lot about how this time of year, it is inevitable to think about what we are thankful for. And that's great. And of course, I know we should find something to be thankful for every day, and I think many of us do. However, I wonder if we can shift this idea slightly. Rather, instead of just being thankful, can we commit to showing a little more empathy and compassion towards others on a day to day basis? 

This idea stems from a lot of different things that have been going on in my life for the past year and a half. My transition back to school for a career change has been life-changing in many ways, whether it be living off of cash tips, going from a professional position of leadership to becoming a volunteer, to scrubbing end caps at midnight on a Sunday. There have been times where I have been so over it, and even more times where I've felt very humbled by my experiences, especially my volunteer work at the Veterans Hospital. I've realized this past year and a half, I've been more conscious about the person I want to be. Not the dietitian I want to be, but the person I want to be. I'm constantly trying to self-improve, because at the end of the day, I want to be proud of who I am and also, always remember to treat others with compassion and empathy. The latter, is harder to do sometimes, if I'm really being honest.

So, on this week of giving thanks, can you take it up a notch? Can you show thanks? 

Let's create a better world, filled with good people. 

Let's fill our hearts up with joy, compassion, and empathy for the fellow human. If that is not healthy, I don't know what is. 

Let us be thankful on Thanksgiving, fill our bellies with pie, and laugh. And let us show how thankful we are for this life through our actions of kindness and patience towards others. Because if the events of the past two weeks have reinforced anything in me, it's that this life, is indeed very precious.


Rodin's Le Penseur, from my favorite museum in the world