How to Celebrate Thanksgiving in Tough Times 

How visualization has helped me––no matter how I'm doing

“How’s it going?”

These days, that’s the most difficult question to answer—because things aren’t that good for anyone. 

Now, I know I’m on the fortunate end of things. I’m grateful for it every day. So I get why you might not want to hear my thoughts on how we can hold on to whatever bright side of 2020 there may be—especially if you’ve lost your job, lost your home, or worse, lost a loved one.

Hell, I want to throw this year in the trash… and I haven’t gone through any of that. So if you have—or if you’re just plain sick and tired of the loneliness and fear of this year—I want you to know that I am thinking of you; and that I hope you’re keeping yourself and those around you as safe as possible.

But with Thanksgiving upon us, I’m trying to find reasons to stay positive in a year that has brought so many negatives—and I hope you can do the same. 

I’ve had some tough times myself, so I figured I’d tell you my strategy for persevering through them: Visualize the things you want to have around you in your life, even if attaining them seems impossible.  

That’s what I’ve done since I was a kid. 

Back then, I would always go down to Hutchins Park to shoot around and work on my game. It was a long bike ride on my own to get there. And to tell you the truth: It was a shitty park. But I would imagine that it was the place to be. I imagined that those hoops actually had nets and weren’t crooked as I did my best late-game Jordan impressions. I imagined the crowd cheering and would even dive in the stands for a loose ball and try to call a timeout, giving my imaginary teammates high fives for the hustle play I just did. 

I say all of this because I want you to know that I haven’t always had it easy, but I’ve always used visualization as an escape—and I think it could be a helpful tool for a lot of people this year. 

2020 has been a kick in the balls. I won’t act like it hasn’t been for everyone, but let’s count as many blessings as we can—and not let the anxiety, the dread, and the boredom overpower us. 

Because, as a great person once told me, you might not be able to control what happens, but you can choose how to react. Which is to say: You can’t prevent the bullshit from taking place, but when it does, life keeps going, and it’s up to you to find a way to make it work. 

As for me, I’m responding to the bullshit of this year by finding reasons to be thankful on this holiday—especially for the opportunity to be a better father and husband with all of us always in the house. And I’ve also taken a moment to be thankful for the medical professionals, grocery workers, and anyone else who has had to work on the frontline through the holidays.

What are you thankful for? It doesn’t have to be that. It doesn’t even have to be anything life-changing. You might feel that whatever you have isn’t a big deal, but I hope you try to be grateful for it anyway. It might be learning to appreciate walks or getting to know your neighbors. It could be anything. Small or large, think about something and find a reason to feel gratitude for it. 

So if you don’t have anything to celebrate today, visualize a better tomorrow. Because that’s the best first step in getting there.