A reflection on what Thanksgiving means.

Share story

I remember my early years at the “kids’ table”on Thanksgiving.

It seemed like such a big promotion when there was finally room for me to sit with the adults. Fortunately for me, my parents were far less mature than my contemporaries, so the transition was easy. This year, I may just go back to the kids for a visit — and to get some help with my iPad.

On this day, we are reminded to be grateful for life, liberty and the ability, if you can find the strength, to pursue happiness.

Despite the inevitable bickering that will take place — and the disappointment that yours may not be one of those dysfunctional families that has its own television show — appreciate this opportunity to enjoy just being “normal”and sharing a moment while creating a little family history.

Be grateful even if nothing is ever perfect.

I imagine that we could each write a book, simply picking out the top things that went wrong on Thanksgivings past. But this day isn’t about what failed to happen or who did what to whom. Thanksgiving is about closeness. It’s about being grateful because we are alive and can share this one special day with people we care about, or can give our best selves to those we don’t even know.

If you are having a hard time finding something to be grateful for because the recession put you in a difficult place, I suggest you take a deep breath. As long as you can do that, you can rebuild your life. It is a choice and it is all up to you. That fact alone should give you a little hope and gratitude.

Despite our differences, we are all in this together. If you have the blessing of family, then you have it better than many. If you have friends who consider you family, consider yourself twice blessed. And if you feel all alone, I urge you to reach out. There are many who will reach back.

Happy Thanksgiving.

(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake, Calif., is the author, most recently, of “100 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence — Believe in Yourself and Others Will Too.”