Like it or not, Thanksgiving is here, kicking off what I (lovingly) call the Holiday Trifecta: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. Maybe you’re eagerly looking forward to sharing the traditional turkey plus fixings with your sons and daughters returning from college or loved ones who served overseas in the armed forces. Perhaps you are counting the minutes until you can welcome beloved family members back into your nest. Now comes the season of family feasts, shopping for gifts, tipping till it hurts, and all that fa la la. But this year I’m not feeling too festive. My tiny family will not be together at all during the trifecta of 2015, nor will we celebrate together on my twins’ 25th birthday this coming December 26th.
I’m trying (oh, how I’m trying!) to get over feeling sad about missing family members and find gratitude for all the positives in my life instead. In my current anti-Hallmark mood, it wasn’t easy to make a list of what I’m thankful for, but I thought maybe it would help me (and possibly others who are depressed or ambivalent) feel better. So here goes…
- Not being a Syrian refugee
- Being a U.S. citizen
- Living as a western woman
- Never having to wear a burka
- A good education
- Not being shot for going to school
- Marrying the man I chose
- Good health and access to some of the world’s best doctors when I’m under the weather.
- Not being alone
- Having a small family
- Not travelling during the holidays
- Spending time with close friends
- No drilling—for the moment—on Second Avenue
- The upcoming publication this April 2016 of my new book, My Picture Perfect Family
- Warmer than usual weather for November
- A few new sweaters to keep me toasty—and fashionable—when the temperature drops
- Not being in any of the wrong places at the wrong times: Paris on 11/13, the Russian airplane with the soda can bomb, the hotel in Mali (and hopefully that’s the end of number 17).
- New York City with all of its pleasures and conveniences
- Tickets to Hamilton (every bit as brilliant and ground-breaking as the rave reviews claim)
- Seeing my son’s movie, Being Charlie, in the Toronto Film Festival
- The successful crowdfunding campaign and shooting of my daughter’s film, Keep the Change
- The joy on my daughter’s face whenever she sings on stage
- The time and space to write WHATEVER I want
- An extra room in my nest
- Not being a turkey
OK, so this Mother Hen not jumping for joy yet. But I do feel a little better (and amused even). If you’re feeling less enthusiastic about the holiday season than you might wish, I recommend making your own gratitude list, or even adding to mine. Thanksgiving 2015 will never be my favorite holiday, but taking a moment to appreciate what I have (instead of feeling depressed about what –or who—is missing) has lifted my spirits, at least temporarily.