Survive or Thrive?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, & although I’ve already written about it, I feel it’s worthy of one more look. I have numerous friends & acquaintances who have mentioned some rather mixed attitudes toward these next few days of feasting, traveling, family, etc. The holiday that is supposed to be about gratitude can end up being more about anxiety sometimes.

I’ve definitely thought in terms of survival when considering “the holidays,” some years more than others. Some years, I’ve absolutely dreaded them. The last few years have been downright enjoyable, so I started thinking about why that might be. I came up with a few ideas that I will share here. There’s nothing new here; but perhaps something will strike a chord for you.

Thanksgiving at the Freeman house, 2010. I think we failed to take photos last year. (Probably one of those things I’m relaxing about.)

First, I’ve tried to simplify in various ways. I don’t do EVERYTHING myself that I once tried to do. I do not have 50 side dishes with the meal. I ask for help. And, don’t look too close, because if you do, you’ll see that not everything is perfectly clean.

The next big issue for me is travelling. We used to visit relatives, & it was both nice & stressful at once. Now, we just live too far away to make it happen. Besides which, my children are older & mostly live nearby. So our home is currently “the hub,” which I love. Of course, there are ways of making travelling less stressful; but that’s another article.

Food cannot be left out of this equation. It occurred to me at some point that I felt it absolutely necessary to at least sample each & every item on the table, as well as in the pantry, candy dish, or whatever. Gradually, I have adjusted down to minuscule amounts of most courses, a few more bites of lighter fare, such as salad, skipping anything I don’t totally love. I do not feel obligated to eat both lunch & dinner, either. My body is much happier when I remain comfortable, as opposed to stuffed.

The biggest factor in my late enjoyment of the holiday season, I think, is what might be called “yoga,” or “faith,'” perhaps, depending on your perspective. It’s a combination of breathing, being fully present (the yoga part) & trusting God with it all (the faith part). And gratitude. My life is far from perfect; but I am so very thankful for the good parts. Happy Thanksgiving!

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