Marking the first harvest by the Pilgrims in 1621, Americans gather every November to celebrate Thanksgiving. We usually carve a turkey and accompany the bird with squash, potatoes, carrots, cranberries, and other foods that the Pilgrims ate.
It is a lot of content and it makes us feel content.
Look at that word content. In the first instance, the accent is on the first syllable and refers to substance and space. In the second instance, the accent is on the second syllable and refers to gratification and affect.
Mass media (and social media particularly) force-feeds us the first instance of content every day. Radio ads, TV shows, newspaper op-eds, blog posts, tweets — this is the content that fills up empty spaces and takes our attention away from the things and people that matter.
When we read stories about couples who split as the result of Facebook, we blame the content and never feel content.
To my friends who carve into that turkey and eat it, I ask you to chew it and taste it. Don’t merely chew a few times and swallow but truly taste its texture and saltiness. Some say you should chew your food 17 times before swallowing to practice mindfulness and be in the moment. Others suggest chewing up to 50 times to tell your brain that you’re less hungry than you appear.
I ask you to be content with less content.
Phrased differently, I ask you to be grateful with less stuff.
You don’t need everything.
You don’t need to be everywhere all the time. It’s unhealthy.
When you sit down at your family Thanksgiving dinner, ensure your cellphone or smartphone is neither beside you nor in a pocket. Keep it away in a jacket or your bedroom or your car.
If you’re eating with friends, treasure the time you spend with the people you care about.
If you’re eating with strangers, take the time to talk to them and learn their passions.
When the dinner ends, don’t reach for that phone to see how many email messages you missed or who shared Vine videos in the interim. Who cares?
Is that content truly important?
Wouldn’t you rather feel content the way the Pilgrims did?