Joni Mitchell has written a lot of great lyrics, but one line seems especially apt this Thanksgiving.
In “Big Yellow Taxi,” the singer/songwriter’s jaunty 1970 tune about loss – of trees, of healthy food, of a love interest – she repeats and repeats, “Don’t it always seem to go / That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”
Mitchell is challenging us to not take things for granted. There is a wildly simple way to do that. It’s called expressing gratitude.
Sure, that may sound eye-rollingly New Agey. But in truth, there has never been a better time to be genuinely thankful than this holiday season, one that arrives in the throes of a wrenching two-year global pandemic. In fact, we as a society are uniquely poised to feel profound gratitude because of our tough times.
“We are very good at getting used to changes, good and bad, which is what adaptation is, so in that sense, gratitude is the antidote to adaptation,” says Sonja Lyubomirsky, psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, and author of “The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want.”
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