Every year for Thanksgiving I have traveled to gather with family, spend quality time together and eat incredible food. This year for Thanksgiving, my health held me back. Lacking the energy I needed to commit to travel or too much time spent away from my freezer full of ice packs, I decided to stay home alone.
While already the idea of Thanksgiving alone was lonely and a little sad, I set my attitude on it being a relaxing and enjoyable day. Facetiming both sides of my family as they joined together, soaking in the California sun and spending family time with my dog as we walk the quiet beach. I even made plans to head over to my favorite grocery store and put together a single Thanksgiving plate from their hot meal section. A peaceful and joyful day, but Malibu had other plans.
Wednesday night was restless through chaotic and loud wind storms and when I got up Thursday morning, my power had been shutoff for fire prevention. All good though, I got my dog in my car and we met up with a friend in Santa Monica for breakfast and a walk! I was just beginning to appreciate how my Thanksgiving played out until I got home and the power was still out. In fact, we were warned it most likely wouldn’t come back until Friday afternoon. This meant all my food in my fridge and freezer would spoil. My ice packs I stayed home to be near no longer had a freezer to keep them cold. No cell reception, no internet, no light after the sun went down. The grocery store I had planned on going to for my Thanksgiving meal was also closed from the power outage. I had drive-thru Mcdonald’s for lunch and nothing for dinner. While I sit here typing this disastrous Thanksgiving story, I can’t help but realize how ridiculous these complaints are. ONE night without fresh food. ONE night without electronics. ONE night of candlelight. ONE night to simply appreciate all I have even when these major everyday luxuries are stripped away.
Every year for Thanksgiving I am grateful for a happy and healthy family and the food we shared together. This year for Thanksgiving I am grateful for so much more. I am grateful for a roof above my head. The fact that I had a full fridge to begin with and the ability to replace everything with a trip or two to the store. I am grateful for my dog to keep me company and my neighbor for supplying me with candlesticks. I am thankful to have a family I truly missed spending this day apart from. Most of all, I am grateful for my own personal growth. I can remember a time that the stress of this day would have destroyed me. I would have curled up in a ball, broken by the circumstances that drowned me. But who I am today simply laughed it off. My dad said, “One day this will be a funny story.” to which I replied, “It already is!” My ability to accept a bad situation and make the most of it is life changing to say the least. While my Thanksgiving didn’t go as usual, didn’t even go as I planned that morning, my Thanksgiving was exactly what it was meant to be. A day of appreciation. A clear demonstration of all I have to be thankful for. A reminder of my strength and my security when I keep a positive attitude. Today I sit here writing this on my laptop with power restored and a fridge refilled. That one stressful Thanksgiving is already a story in the past and instead of extra pounds from all the Turkey I ate, I come away instead with a lesson. A humble reminder that while life is difficult, challenging, chaotic and stressful at times, it is worth it. No matter what, life itself is what I should be thankful for. I am thankful.