I love using Thanksgiving as a time of renewal and often choose to spend it alone. For me, it’s a time of reflection and writing. I want Thanksgiving to be easier. It’s my divorce-anniversary. It’s my Dad’s birthday and I always loved when his birthday fell on Thanksgiving. I wish I felt normal on this holiday and wanted to stuff myself with turkey and sit around with family. But the truth is, it’s not who I am right now.
This year, I planned a trip to the beach. There’ a dog beach on 8th Ave in Asbury Park. I’ve always wanted to go to Asbury Park and Penelope loves the beach so it seemed like the perfect plan.
I got up, met a friend at yoga, and loaded Penelope into the car after lunch. Then a migraine hit. I stopped at a gas station and took my medication and drank water. But this one was behind my eyes and I was worried about driving. So I got back in the car but retraced my steps to return home.
Sitting on my couch with Penelope, who seemed quite content, all I felt was guilt. I hated disappointing her, and myself. I started thinking about all the times my mom couldn’t be present because of her migraines and how much I resented that. I feared that I was repeating the cycle. I resented myself for not following through on my plans. I know this fear and shame is a depression trigger and my best option is to dive deeper into it through meditation.
As I sat in the shower meditating, I suddenly wondered what it would be like if I could forgive both myself and my mother. What if instead of feeling shame and fear, I chose compassion and forgiveness? Just the thought made it easier to breathe. If I could forgive my mom, could I then forgive myself too? If I accepted myself as I am right now, how much simpler would life be? So I’m here on the couch, still with a migraine but not layering emotional pain on top of the physical pain. I know I’ll find time to take Penelope (and myself) to the beach soon. I know I’ll be able to show up at work tomorrow as my best self because I took care of myself today.
So this Thanksgiving turned out differently than I planned but I did get the renewal and reflection time I was craving. So whatever you were looking for this Thanksgiving, I hope you found something that reminds you are loved and valued. I did.