Miller: Why I will always believe that November is the best month of the year

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"Without taking time to stop and appreciate the people we care about, privileges we have been granted and oxygen coming in and out of our lungs, all of these things will slip away, unnoticed and forgotten, only being cherished when they’re gone." - Co-News Editor / Madison Miller

I find that when daylight savings time ends and the temperature drops, many college students are quick to assume that every other prospect of life becomes colder and darker as well. While I definitely have felt this parallel in the months following the holiday season– personally I think that November is one of the most hopeful and beautiful months of the entire year. 

As a family-oriented person, I not only love the delicious spread of home-cooked meals and extra time with my loved ones but in the weeks leading up to this big event I’ve found that gratitude tends to paint an aura around the entire month. The month of November gives us all a reason and an opportunity to make gratitude a daily practice and habit which opens the door to new opportunities and reasons to be happy every day. 

According to Greater Good Magazine, it was reported that integrating daily gratitude practices actually has a positive effect on mental health and can help people through toxic emotions and feelings

I’ve found this to be true in my own life, especially during times when I could have found every reason to be anything but thankful. The past month, I’ve made it a point to start every morning with gratitude. 

Sometimes it’s for something big– like my family or the fact that I have the ability to receive a university education. However, sometimes it’s something small like good Mexican takeout or the almond milk latte with an extra shot of espresso from my favorite cafe. 

This small reflection more often than not snowballs into a larger, more consistent weight lifted off my shoulders. It’s what gives me peace through long shifts, busy days, and nights that run into the early hours of the morning. It’s what inspires me to wake up with the sun and make the most out of the chances I’ve been given. 

It makes everyday interactions into small celebrations. Whether it’s the note that a nice customer leaves on the check while I’m waitressing or calling my mom on my way home from work. It’s getting ready to go out with my roommates and receiving a text from one of my long-distance friends that they saw a TikTok that they thought was funny. It’s going to High Grounds with my colleagues and laughing with my brothers for hours on end.

However, gratitude for me is not just about paying attention to the things that are easy to love, it’s about being thankful for the tears you’ve cried, mistakes you’ve made, and long days that sometimes felt like they would never end. It’s being happy that that two-month situationship didn’t work out, that you grew away from the friendships that sucked the energy out of you and it’s appreciating and embracing messing up at work– because you didn’t make the same mistake twice.

As we say farewell to my favorite month, I hope that this grateful spirit continues to carry through the rest of these colder months ahead. Without taking time to stop and appreciate the people we care about, privileges we have been granted and oxygen coming in and out of our lungs, all of these things will slip away, unnoticed and forgotten, only being cherished when they’re gone. 

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