The sun came up over my white weather-worn backyard fence welcoming the day. A cool 55 and breezy for those of us living in the Broward-Dade locale. Today is Thanksgiving. Traditionally a holiday of family, food and lol–football. For others, a tradition that includes Macy’s parade. Some viewing it from the living room television screen, thousands will be huddled on the street watching large balloon characters & turkeys tethered by ropes, colorful marching bands in their best regalia, high kicking Rockettes and ornate elaborate extravagant floats. These and more, all symbols of things we have grown up with and love. Tradition. It is all around us. We love it. We live by it, and we look forward to ‘our tradition’ each year. Right? But what happens when we don’t fit in to the likeness of mainstream memes or the painted image imprinted in our minds-eye?
If change is the “new normal” and it’s affecting all parts of our lives, then I guess we should expect our holidays to take on a new look and feel. However most of us have strong resistance to change. The memorable Norman Rockwell painting has all but vanished in most nuclear families. We live and work in all parts of the globe; not everyone can always “get home.” Family dynamics change through divorce, death, marriages or downsizing. Sometimes the next in-line no longer desires to carry on the family tradition, refusing to pick up where Mom left off. What then?
Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld, Mash sitcoms or the Star Trek series Next Generation helped visibility demonstrate family doesn’t necessarily stay confined to those in our biological circles. As dysfunctional as the characters were at times in these half-hour episodes, they cared about each other in times of need and in their own way; mimicking life? Far truer and closer to our reality than we probably realize. If, TV parrots life: Modern Family represents a new example, would you not agree? Or what about Mike and Molly? Holidays, like life, evolve the way our life does. It may begin the years we’re in the dorm at school, in a particular neighborhood, or within a close circle of friends. Life just happens. The evolution is simply where we are in the moment writing our script in own personal movie–or sitcom. My own life and family looked very different 15 years–or even 30 years ago than today, and completely different than growing up. I would say in a much better, and healthier view of the world; much more Zen. (the simplicity of their lives, the concentration and mindfulness of every activity, the calm and peace they find in their days.)
I am meeting friends at one of my favorite restaurants, in walking distance from my home, near the ocean. I will talk to my boys–now 27 and almost 31 on the phone who live thousands of miles from each other, and from Florida. I will make a call to Seattle and talk to my parents, divorced, but still living and touch bases with my siblings. I will send and receive Thanksgiving texts and talk other friends on the phone, and visit nearby friends, but mostly I will enjoy the day. I refuse to dwell in ‘what could or should have been’. I will simply enjoy the moment and company of others–laughing, sharing stories and having gratitude for today. Creating new traditions again. It is a no-muss, no-fuss kind of year for me. What is important is embracing our life NOW and enjoying what is.
We are always at choice point. I encourage you to create something new and different.Reach out to someone less fortunate. Play golf, do something that you enjoy. Perhaps, take in a movie. Each Holiday has looked very different in the last 10 years and I am okay with that–in fact embracing what comes in an adventurous–let it unfold kind of way; expectations gone. Be mindful, our holidays and our tradition can always look a number of ways. Be happy where you are right now, evolve the way your life evolves. Next year will be different. When the artist begins with the blank canvas he or she is in the process of creation. Be the artist. Choose the colors you love. Paint your portrait with any color(S); joy is all that is required. Use pastels, watercolors or oil. Use your fingers, sponges or a brush. Metaphors for the seasons of our life. Create something beautiful with what you have today. I plan to and so can you! Happy Thanksgiving to all!
“We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.” – Thich Nhat Hanh