Good morning Travellers,
We have arrived at the first major milestone holiday for me as a single girl. Okay, technically my birthday was the first, but this in America is a BIG one. Or not. It’s come to my attention in the past few years that many people do not really celebrate this day beyond a simple acknowledgement. And while I’m certain some patriots consider that blasphemy, I find it comforting. Not just now as a single person whose family is far away, but because I think each of our lives is our own and why should anyone dictate what our days mean to us.
I spent most of marriage believing in the wonder of Thanksgiving, even though I tend to question the historical accuracy of those events. I believe that there should be a day where we pause in gratitude for our lives. I actually believe all the holidays should be sowed from a seed of gratitude. Hell, I think everyday day of your life should have moments where you pause and allow yourself to be present in gratitude. It makes life so much easier.
Our first several Thanksgivings as a married couple gave me the sense of normalcy I think I had been reaching for all my life. We had my parents, his parents, my grandparents, and random wayward friends who needed somewhere to go gathered around our tiny dinning room table. Our home was full of life and the warmth of many souls. My Dad’s parents and my mother would actually behave very civilized toward one another, it was wonderful.
I felt a significant sense of rightness and adulthood in being able to purchase almost the entire spread, even if my mom-in-law always insisted on chipping in. I would spend two days doing all the cooking, the mashed potatoes, home made rolls, multiple desserts, stuffings, carrots or Brussels sprouts, homemade cranberry relish that was to die for, and a wonderful Turkey that each year a had a new name. Theodore, Thomas, I think Thelonius one year…
My strange orphan feelings subsided despite the undercurrent of fear that it was all precariously glued together. For those Thanksgivings, I was found, I had family, somewhere I finally felt like I belonged in this world. I had arrived at a destination I felt was expected as a successful, healthy human. It felt like I had finally met everyone’s expectations.
As the years went by attendance to our Thanksgiving dinner ceased to exist outside of myself and my wasband. His parents moved, I estranged myself from my mother for so many good reasons and sadly, my Grandparents passed away. Both of those wayward friends got married and had families of their own. I persisted though in cooking a meal and trying to keep it normal for us. Last year was the worst Thanksgiving of my entire life. We were living together, but moving apart and I just remember feeling so completely soul sick. I even worked on Black Friday to escape this house and him.
So what is this like, this year, on my own? Relief. Relieved it’s better than last year, actually the past three or four years. For one, no cooking, except for the Pear Clafoutis I made to take my friend’s house. This year I am that wayward friend who is back out wandering in the world. And I find myself quite happy. Genuinely happy. Don’t get me wrong, I wish I could be with family, but they are quite a distance from me. Somehow I feel like this is where I’m suppose to be this year.
Let’s be real, I’ve never been a traditionalist or a conformist. And I think as you get older it’s important for you to really figure out what do these holidays really mean to you. Not what is the world, your television or media telling you to believe, but what does it mean to you?
On Instagram I see so many Americans outside the US today in far flung places with not a turkey in sight and I feel that. I feel like I am embracing my own life for once, and sorting out who I really am. Figure the average American lifespan is 84 years, which means you’re gonna get to have 84 Thanksgivings, 84 Christmases, 84 New Years, 84 Valentines days, 84 birthdays, and how ever many other holidays you celebrate, so why not do them differently every year? Defy convention and find your own joy.
I like that last line, read that again…
Wherever these words find you today, if I may suggest one thing, just for a few moments, either in your mind or on a piece of paper with a pen, list out all the good things in your life that you are so very grateful for…I guarantee it’s more than you think..
For me, it’s all the people in my life who support me, friends, family, colleagues, my fur kids, my health and mobility, my job, my mind, my therapist and having chosen to go there and do the work, my Dad and his wife, it’s like I lost one parent to regain the other, my car, my home, oh my home, no matter how scary it is…that’s the biggest one, I’m thankful for the fear, because it is driving me forward now, because it’s not overwhelming my life, and I’m thankful for my freedom, the freedom to choose my life. As an American I think we take that for granted, we have freedom, probably more than you may believe…
Happy Thanksgiving/ Thursday Travellers, may there be more wellness than weariness in you day today!!