My family recently adopted the tradition of going to an outlet mall on Black Friday.
I can’t tell you how it started, or why we subject ourselves to the crowd, but every year we bundle up and head out to an outdoor outlet mall near us.
We always visit the same stores hunting for deals, we stop for lunch in the food court and have to basically stand while eating, and at the end of the day we all leave tired, a little poorer with gifts mostly for ourselves (which we laugh about on the way home).
I love it.
This year, it’s not happening. The crowd alone is enough to make us cancel our plans. Not to mention the various restrictions and quarantines that we would have to follow to even visit the outdoor mall and come back home.
It’s another casualty in a long list of events cancelled by 2020.
To say it’s a major disappointment would be an understatement.
Pile that disappointment on top of missing that in person connection with my family for Thanksgiving. Pile that on top of missing my favorite dishes from Grandma. Pile that on top of fearing for my safety and the safety of my loved ones. Pile that on top of being pissed and sad and angry that this is happening in the first place. The pile of feelings is pretty high.
To be honest, I had a tough time coming to terms with all of this disappointment. I was upset about this holiday and it showed.
If you read my last blog you know I’m not going to come out and say “at least my family is healthy for the holidays”, “at least I can spend this day with my loving husband and his family”, “at least I have the ability to zoom them” or “at least they’re close enough to see for dessert”.
All of these things are absolutely true! But I don’t want to put a positive spin on my very valid, very intense, feelings. I’m not going to downplay all of the anger and disappointment I have just because there are positive things in my life. We are all allowed to be hurt even if we have a good life.
What I want to do, what I need to do, is acknowledge that this year is not what I had planned (you guys KNOW how I live and die by a plan) and that truly hurts. However, I can also feel grateful. I can really sit with the true meaning of Thanksgiving and feel a deeper sense of gratitude. I can work on feeling these two emotions at the same time and giving them equal weight. I can work on balancing my feelings so that I can move forward knowing that I am not pushing my anger down, but instead coming to terms with it.
The key for me is to acknowledge what’s important to me and be grateful that I can meet those priorities.
When it comes down to it, what I really want out of Thanksgiving is connecting with my loved ones. I want them to know how much I love them, and how thankful I am to have them in my life.
I don’t necessarily have to do that in person. I don’t necessarily have to do that over a perfectly cooked turkey with all the trimmings and trappings. I don’t necessarily have to do that with four different dinners in a day. I can show the love I have in so many different ways.
I can love a small intimate dinner with my in-laws and my husband (my MIL killed the side dishes this year!). I can appreciate seeing my grandparents and bringing my grandpa a McDonald’s coffee. I can love the Zoom jokes and backgrounds we use to bring a smile to our faces.
We did all of these things this year and I walked away a little happier – more at peace.
Once I understood this, I was able to acknowledge how grateful I am for what I can do, and use that knowledge to balance out my disappointment in not celebrating in the way I really want to.
I’ve had to focus on what really matters to me and let the rest go.
This Thanksgiving, it’s not what I planned or wanted. I hope in sharing my feelings, you can look back and enjoy your holiday, even though it may not be what you planned. Let us know how you changed it up this year and how that felt in the comments!
I’m just like you. My life can be hectic and cooking, cleaning and getting that workout in are sometimes the last thing on my mind. But, I’m here to share my tips and tricks on how to make adulting a little more enjoyable.