As the Thanksgiving sales and cyber Monday fade into the distance I thought it made sense to revisit an earlier post “The Voices of Thanksgiving”. The current podcast episode examines how things have gone since it was posted two years ago.

Observing Logo

I mention that post because one of the biggest struggles most of us face is comparing ourselves to the people we encounter. Looking around in your neighborhood is easy enough and social media allows us to put our observations on steroids. A recent study even went so far as to indicate that social media tends to make us more sad than happy because people post only the positive exciting things going on in their lives. Think about it, a daily diet of “my great adventure”, “my trip to Paris”, or “my great new sports car” are enough to make the most secure of us begin to question why an ordinary with up’s and down’s is just that: ordinary.

And so, we run out to buy the big screen TV or the season’s “most have” gift thinking this time you too will experience that sense of the extra ordinary and later wonder why the items did not fulfill the promise highlighted in the marketing ad. I’m not against big screen TV’s or must have gifts because they have their place in many lives. However, what I am after is something is a little more lasting which are the connections we develop and the memories we create. I say that because the same study I mentioned earlier also indicated that people involved in real world activities with others reported higher levels of happiness and feelings of connection than those with thousands of friends on Social media.

It is all too easy to get caught up in getting that next new follower as we compare ourselves to the man or woman with followers into the hundreds of thousands because observing them we want what they have. And yet, it is not that often that we really know what they actually have.

The reason I’ve provided a link to allow you to go back and listen to “The Voices of Thanksgiving” is I want you to hear what some of the people I encountered had to say about what they really valued. They never mention that trip to Paris or the shiny new sports car but speak with great pleasure about the joy of simply being with others. Gone are the observing and constant updates and you hear heartfelt happiness in their voices as they go back in time to remember events and situations that have traveled with them sometimes over a number of years.

I was pleasantly surprised this year to discover that rather than shopping, many people went on wilderness adventures, visited state parks, took bicycle rides, or just spent time with friends and relatives doing fun things. It demonstrated the benefit of making connections.

And so, in the coming weeks leading up to Christmas and other holidays I simply ask that you drink in your experiences as you gather with friends and family. Trust me, the experience will be a lot more lasting…