Frankly, I’ve celebrated holidays when I felt the gratitude in every cell of my body. Thanksgiving is tomorrow. This year I’m pushing myself to fall into a thankful mindset because I know it’s important. This year I’m reciting lists of reasons to be thankful each time I slip toward the Dark Side. Thankful people are healthier, happier, make the world a better place, have better relationships, and, frankly, it seems the highest road to take in life.
Yesterday my 3 year old grandson told me “I feel very angry with you” and “I don’t like you very much” (I did, after all, take away his video device to push him toward some outdoor play time). In his interpretation of a dinosaur slow-stomp, he headed to the backdoor and suggested “Tutu, it’s time for you to go back to your house.”
In that moment something hit me with the grace of a toilet tumbling off the roof of a 20-story building. I told him, in a calm and rational adult way, “My darling, I don’t have a house to go back to. I left it to come here.”
Then I walked away to burst into tears as privately as possible.
It wasn’t until later (after the 3rd or 4th tear-burst), that I sat down to ask myself what the heck was going on. And I realized I mourn my old life. I mourn the loss of privacy – my own little house where I didn’t have to get dressed on weekends if I didn’t want to. I miss the fabulous people I connected with far too seldom. I miss the job that gave me the opportunity to feel I made a difference in the lives of homeless folks. I have difficulty wrapping my head around the loss of the cultural connection to a small island with significant elements of my birth-culture.
That sense of loss took me by surprise. I’m so thankful I took time to feel what I was feeling and explore those feelings.
Having hit several brick walls (or perhaps they were speed bumps that jolted like brick walls), the most recent one regarding health coverage, I asked for help today.
After waiting in a series of lines at a government office, the young worker who greeted me gazed at my previous address and asked about life in Hawaii. Many people assume short work days and long beach stints. I explained it was expensive, for sure, but it definitely felt rewarding. And while everyone thinks of Hawaii in tourism poster perfection, the people I knew there worked harder than anyone I’ve ever met and dealt with floods, tsunami, epic storms, earthquakes, and all the typical ups and downs of life, too.
As I headed home, I realized I built the life in Hawaii slowly and this one will develop as well. The brief conversation helped me connect my past to my present.
In honor of the present, on my way home I stopped at the Y for a short workout and to get to know what’s going on there. I spoke with a few people very briefly. Chances are they won’t become best friends, but there’s always the possibility, and possibility is something for which to give thanks.
Thanks to creativecommons and GDJ for the image: GDJCreated2016-11-17DescriptionGold Happy Thanksgiving Typography Variation 2