Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There is so much to be grateful for that clearly one day does not do it justice. Even with its significance increasingly eclipsed by Black Friday specials that start at 8pm on Thursday, celebrating the spirit of the day for a full 24 hours before succumbing to the onslaught of the Christmas season seems the best way to honor what the pilgrims put in place.
I love it that for one Thursday in November I get to take a break from the busyness of my life simply to delight in good food and dysfunctional family dynamics, dive into a good book, catch an old movie or watch a parade, play a board game or take a siesta. I love it even more if I’m not responsible for the main source of sustenance.
I’m so grateful when I can do the things that matter at the pace of grace instead of the pace of a 5k race. Challenging the race pace conspiracy means sometimes I have to bargain with my muse and agree to get up and write at 4am on a Sunday morning since I may have the luxury to nap later when fatigue sets in and words fail me. Or setting out at 10pm for a dog walk, knowing my dog and I will both sleep better for it.
So this year the real Thanksgiving feast consisted not of turkey and stuffing but additional time off and the space to enjoy it. Since the big birthday six months ago, my life has taken a wildly adventurous and expansive turn. I’m not complaining. I asked for it. And after all that dilly-dallying in the desert, I needed to make up for lost time in the places to go, people to see, books to write, risks to take, experiences to savor department. But all of this shifting of items while in flight can be a bit discombobulating when I attempt to touch down.
Maybe it’s a midlife thing, this sorting out and letting go and accepting of limitations and coming to terms with the fact that I can’t really be whatever I want if I just try hard enough. I’m never going to be a lion tamer, an astronaut, a back-up dancer for Madonna, or Olympic swimmer like Dara Torres, no matter how incredibly these Midlife MacGyver women kick ass.
I may get to see a tame lion at the local zoo, join the protestors justifiably outraged at Pluto’s planetary status demise, learn the dance moves to Vogue on the Wii, or seize the opportunity to swim in a slightly chilly and consequently empty pool when I have the chance.
This giving up of impossible dreams allows me to go wholeheartedly for the one dream that is possible. To be myself in all my creative quirkiness. Not that this is an easy task by any means. It’s quite terrifying, now that I mention it, which must be why it takes so long to surrender to it.
Your thing, the thing that makes you be.you.tiful doesn’t have to be grand, glorious, or even obvious to anyone. It simply has to be something you know in your bones is your baby and leaves you completely stoked when you’ve done it well.
For me it is stringing a few sentences together that capture the essence of an idea or emotion. For you it could be untangling a string of Christmas lights and hanging them with such finesse the entire neighborhood has no choice but to admire your handiwork.
If you’re still not convinced that you’re kind of a big deal and you have something unique to contribute, get out a pen and paper.
We’re not making a Christmas list here. We’re making a Thanksgiving list. That’s right. List what you’re thankful for. Start with the basic stuff like oxygen, running water, and chocolate chip cookies. Work your way up to a hot stone massage, fleece sheets, or Istanbul in October. Just keep writing. Make sure there are as many things on your Thanksgiving list as your Christmas list.
Regularly reminding ourselves of who and what we’re grateful for is a good thing. It definitely deserves more than a one day celebration in my book.
I’m grateful that you are reading this because I love to write. To me writing is like a circle. I’m one half, but like Jerry McGuire I must confess , you complete me. Without you reading and responding, or reading and recommending others do the same, my words sound like one hand clapping.
So thank you. Thank you very much.
Now get your grateful on and go give thanks for your gorgeous gift by sharing it with me or your loved ones.