“I just wish I could be showing like her,” a friend said casually as we walked past an old teammate at a horse show. I sighed, and I looked the other direction because it’s challenging to be attentive when a friend is talking about what they wish they could be doing, when you’d be happy with their opportunities.

They can’t go to this show, and they’re frustrated watching others win ribbons they want in classes they’re not ready for, yet. They’re waiting on a day to come where their bills aren’t high, or they can show whenever they want. It’s difficult to listen to someone complain about what they have, when you are lacking in your own riding opportunities.

I’d be happy for a regular ride, and they’re complaining they can’t go to another show. I wouldn’t mind,

Listen here, friends. There’s something about gratitude. You’ll never be happy with what you have if you’re worrying about what you don’t have. Now, I’d be happy for a regular ride but at the moment? That’s not a possibility for me – I know I have to bide my time and save for the moment when this is feasible again.

But I don’t want to hear about how you understand how I feel, because you don’t. When I say I wish I had time to go to the barn, and you tell me you do too. Your time is documented by snapchats of your horse, the driveway to the barn. Mine is in snapshots of my computer screen and desk when I’m stuck at the office. I don’t quite mind my view, but I would prefer yours. When I say I wish I could show, you tell me you wish you could do more. “Being an adult gets in our way,” you say.

I stand corrected, perhaps you do understand where I’m coming from. Just know: I notice when you aren’t grateful. That’s what stings.

This isn’t a tale about the haves and have-nots. It’s not a chance to complain and say I wish I had what other people have; it’s not jealousy. I think, though, most of us forget the importance of gratitude. Recently, lots of us sat down with our families and friends and ate our weight in turkey, stuffing, or other associated Thanksgiving fixings. My family has the tradition of talking about what we’re thankful for before we eat. Naturally, it crossed my mind that this was the first year I didn’t make a comment about a horse, or riding.

Instead, I’m thankful for new opportunities to grow my love for this sport. I’m grateful for being pushed out of my comfort zone to find new horses to ride and participate in the equestrian world. I feel lucky to have several barns I can walk into, greet friends, and ride horses. When you count your blessings, they seem to effortlessly multiply.

We shouldn’t be thankful on one day of the year, we should feel grateful and let one another know more often. The holidays aren’t a season, they’re a feeling.
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