By Jillian McWhirter:
It’s that time of year, the month of November: A time of being thankful. A time to look within. Although, I think most of 2020 has been a year to look within. A year of retrospective journeys; and why not, we weren’t allowed to go too many places.
But today, I’m going to reach a hand out to you. I’m going to grab you tight, and we’re going for a walk. We’re going to walk to your backyard and sit in your chairs. We’re going to look out over the world—in silence. We’re going to think about all the people that you help. All the people you take care of. All the bills you pay so that your family is taken care of. All the dinners you cook or BBQ so that others are full. All the questions you try to find the right answers for. All your friends you listen to so that you can help them work out their situations. All the volunteer work you do. All the ways you make the world a better place.
You do so much for so many other people; let’s think about you for a second. What is it that you want to do? Do you want to learn a new language? Do you want to read a new novel? Do you want to travel to a new county? Do you want to go on a camping trip? Do you want to learn how to cook exotic foods? Or maybe, you want to dance in the rain. Take a second right now and think about you. It’s okay. You’re allowed to think about you, to dream, to find that little piece of you that you lost while helping so many other people.
For me, I used to work out every day because I was an actress and I had to stay in shape for that camera that always put an extra 10 pounds on me. Then I became a full-time writer and sat behind my computer most of the days and into the nights trying to find the right words for my story. Then I realized I had to get up and move again. I found an old pair of tennis shoes my mom gave me and thought, I don’t run . . . or could I? I put them on for fun and went outside. I tried to run but, oh, I couldn’t even breathe after a few steps. I was ready to donate those shoes but thought, Okay, I’ll walk, which I did. Day after day, I walked.
Then I took a few fast steps. After some time of getting up, putting those shoes on, going outside and walking, my walking turned into running. I did it! I ran for ten minutes. Down to the park I went. I was one of those runners I used to drive past; you know the ones, where you think, Are they actually running? Well, that was me now. But I kept running. Today, I have built up to a two-mile run, every other day. I’ve done it. It doesn’t mean a lot to other people, in fact, it means nothing to them. But I feel proud when I get home, I feel accomplished. I look in the mirror and say to myself, “I did something for me.”
So this Thanksgiving, give thanks for all you have, for all you give, for all those you take care of. And be thankful for that one thing that is yours. And when you walk past a mirror, stop, turn around, look at yourself—really look at yourself—and say, “Thank You.”
Raised in Mississippi, Jillian McWhirter moved to Paris and New York to pursue modeling before moving to Los Angeles to start her film and television career. She has written numerous feature film scripts and has published over thirty educational books that are used by health and safety organizations all over the United States.
Read Elizabeth Gracen's interview with Jillian McWhirter here.