It's a certified fact that millennials only know how to appreciate things like national holidays ironically, which explains why today I'm wearing my so-hip-it-hurts ugly turkey sweater. But while thousands of young people across the country are expressing their gratitude through the ubiquitous Thanksgiving mass-text, I've decided to express my appreciation through an even less meaningful medium: the GIF.
Here are the top seven things that millennials like me have to be thankful for in 2012.
When you're stressed out because you can't choose between writing a novel and going to MIT, people are fond of telling millennials, "At least you have your health." Thanks to Obamacare, 2.5 million millennials not only have their health, but they have also have adequate health care. In an era of unpaid internships for the privileged few, I've never been more thankful that at least I can still see a doctor or buy new contact lenses.
2) Trader Joe's
When I need sustenance, Trader Joe's always has my back. So do Baker Josef, Trader Jose, Trader Joe-San, and Trader Giotto. I love those guys. Everything I bought for my Thanksgiving meal came from Trader Joe's, except canned pumpkin, which they were inexplicably out of. Today, I feast on chestnut-rosemary stuffing and Tofurky thanks to this incredibly popular grocery chain.
Google Scholar should also get a shout-out on this list, but basically anything that crowd-sources knowledge and/or allows people who are strangely obsessed with a particular topic to share their inner fangirl with the world. As a researcher, I'm still skeptical that the internet will completely solve issues of archiving and data aggregation, but it's clear that content has more ways of spreading with the internet. And that, to my mind, is a win.
When we face such dire straits, humor is the only way out. If not for College Humor, the Onion, and Jon Stewart v. Bill O'Reilly, how could we have possibly survived the presidential elections? It's either laugh or cry.
5) Advice columns
My personal favorite is Dear Sugar at The Rumpus. If you haven't heard of Cheryl Strayed from Oprah's book club, definitely check her out. Last year, Sugar put together 94 Ways of Saying Thank You, a powerful re-read for today. While I'm not always a fan of advice columns in general, reading about other people's problems allows us to cultivate what Steve Almond calls radical empathy, for which I am always thankful. I reject the idea that social media has made millennials less empathetic. Our capacity for empathy is always there, and we are always able to use it if we so chose.
6) The usual suspects
Family, friends, anyone else who religiously watches Joss Whedon shows ... you know. Mind twins, heart twins.
Happy Thanksgiving! Now get off the internet, Google "how to microwave a turkey," and go back to your affordable organic feast.