Wooooow. It’s been a long couple of weeks, y’all.
I took a little break from blogging because real life got real hard, real fast. The last few weeks of the fall semester involved a little bit of travel, a little bit of cooking, and a lot of work. Once Thanksgiving hit, it was just downhill from there as I had paper due after paper and event after event to attend. Finally, here we are, two weeks out from Christmas, and I’m done.
Wait, two weeks out from Christmas? Is that a joke??
Now y’all see why I start listening to Christmas music in October! If you don’t celebrate Christmas while you have time, you’ll find yourself in the position that I’m in today, wondering how the heck you got to this point where your life was too busy for you to think.
BUT, I’m not going to talk about Christmas just yet, because I’m running a so-called “food blog” here and neglected to post about the most holy of all food holidays: Thanksgiving. I’ll make a separate post about what I made this year, but for this post I wanted to focus on the spirit of Thanksgiving, which I think is so important to truly enjoying the holiday.
Thanksgiving is a really great time. Not as great as Christmas, but I like it because it kicks off the whole holiday season. You go see family, you reconnect with loved ones, and you take stock of your life and see what it is that you’re really thankful for. As someone who stays so busy all the time, this is a really important exercise in self-reflection for me. I’m a senior in college, which is one of the absolute worst things you can be. My life is about to change so drastically. I could move or stay where I am, I could lose friends or gain them, I could live in a separate city from my fiancé for a few months or we could stay together, I could get a good-paying job or work retail for the rest of my life; there is literally not a single part of my life that isn’t up in the air right now. And that’s terrifying for me.
So this holiday season, I want to take time to slow down, stop thinking about all the awful scary parts of life, and enjoy my time with my loved ones while I’m still conveniently situated around them. It started with Thanksgiving, where I got to retreat to my cousins’ house in the woods of Virginia and forget about everything that stresses me out. We ate, we laughed, we went to an amusement park – it was the best medicine, and everything that I think a holiday should be.
2016 has been a terrible year by most peoples’ standards. Every Year in Review list you look at seems to highlight the fact that the things on their list were the things that got us through the rollercoaster of muck that the year threw at us. No matter who you are, we all found something to be mad or sad or despondent about. Because these negative things seem to pervade our society, social media, news, and conversations, I’m choosing to be extra conscious of how grateful I am for some things during this time of year.
I’m grateful that I’m engaged to a man I love, and that I have the support of my friends and family.
I’m grateful that I have the ability to eat good food and share it with good company.
I’m grateful that I still have all members of my immediate family, and that we love one another.
I’m grateful that I have enough money in my budget for Spotify premium, so I can have all the world’s music (lol bye Taylor Swift) at my fingertips to help me through whatever situation I’m in.
I’m grateful that I’m in school, as stressful as it may be, and that I’m doing well so far.
I’m grateful that I have had the opportunity to hold internships in many of my fields of interest (which is surprising, because there are many).
I’m grateful that I grew up in a culture that doesn’t use cilantro as a primary ingredient in its dishes. Yes, this is a real thing to be thankful for. Trust me.
I’m grateful that I have been educated, formally and informally, about the importance of caring about other peoples’ problems, even when they don’t relate to me.
I’m grateful that I lead the life I live, with the people that are in it, and the things that I have – no matter how much I wish I had a life that came from the pages of Martha Stewart Living.
What about you? Have you gotten a chance to look at your life this holiday season and be grateful for the things that you have, both big and small? I invite everyone to take at least a few minutes a day to think about one thing that you’re thankful for. It doesn’t have to be huge. One day I’m thankful for my engagement, the next I’m thankful for the way the sun shines through the bushes in front of my house. Just take the time to appreciate something once a day, and you’ll find yourself in a happier, more content place. After all, gratitude is the only way that we can control the selfishness and greed that are the driving forces behind all of the hatred and evil in our world.
Just be still, and know that you are blessed.