BEYOND: The Monetary Value of Being Thankful


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The month of thankfulness is here, in which we reflect on the past and think about what we are thankful for in our lives. Not everyone celebrates it, not everyone has to, but a day of thankfulness is a welcomed practice to ground ourselves in our life. It allows us to look at how we’ve progressed. Although 2020 is already a journey in and of itself, there are still aspects of it that we can be thankful for.

            One common thing that I think many people can be thankful for is money. It is useful, it can buy us happiness, and it keeps us alive (literally, through the purchase of necessary goods and services). Especially in 2020, money has been a large concern for everyone with COVID-19 and the lack of government aid due to the pandemic. Many have enjoyed the privilege of being wealthy in order to avoid the worst of the pandemic, and others have had enough to squeeze by, able to exist until things are back in working order. In fact, I was thankful that I had enough money saved in my account that I was able to continue buying food with enough to buy myself a little extra on the side.

            But should we really thank money this year? Was it really money that kept us going? Perhaps we should look at it from another perspective, instead of it just being purely money. Although money can buy happiness (the theme of an article that I wrote previously) it is not the money itself that makes our year. Rather, our reflections should be taken further backwards into looking at the people that we have met and what they’ve done to make our lives better. I may have had money to buy myself food but it was also my grandmother who assisted us in our living condition and purchased food for the both of us during the pandemic. I would not say that I am thankful for the money I had saved. Rather, I was thankful for my grandmother for helping me during a time of crisis.

            Those might be minor things. Indeed, they really are minor changes to the way we say what we are thankful for. But, it is more of a thought exercise than it would be to force someone to change their language. It is not because I think we are putting too much trust in money, but because it would be a good idea to think about other ways we are grateful during this harsh year. Money was tight for many of us but it was not the fact that we had money that made the year easier (though I can imagine that it technically did). Rather, it was the people that supported us throughout this year to make it easier for all of us. I am thankful for the people that supported me, my friends and family and even strangers that assisted me in one of the hardest years of my life. Yes, money did make it easier for me, but mentally it was the people that I surrounded myself who made my life easier and happier.

            Be thankful for the money, but also think about the people around you and be thankful for those people too, even if it felt like they didn’t do anything. In one way or another, I’m sure they did.