Thanksgiving has always been a time of reflection for me. Not in the “Oh, I have all of these things to be grateful for…” way as many do. But in a Virginia Slims kind of way.
It seems I have a tendency to clean “emotional house” around this time of the year. Perhaps it is the impending new year, or simply the realization that I do have so much to be grateful for and that there is no reason to hold on to what is long gone or to that which really doesn’t serve me. Whatever the reason, letting go is not my thing, but in November I do my best to look forward.
In 1993 I spent Thanksgiving crying because my high school love broke my heart. But later that afternoon I dismantled the shrine to him in my room (compete with black candles and glossy 8x10s, what? Don’t judge.) I think it set the tone for me and many thanksgivings to come.
Years later I had a turkey sandwich in my car and I drove away from the beach to Chapel Hill. I found an apartment that weekend. It was harder than dismantling the boyfriend shrine. But it was worth it.
November of 2008 I sat at table with old friends and new. I sat across from a man I had met only a month earlier. I hesitated to say aloud that I was grateful for him. For the future I could already see, smell, taste.
The following year was a difficult one. I thought I had grown so much, had come so far. When in reality I had so much further to go. MQD gave me a push, a shove in the right direction. And in November 2009 I pushed myself onward towards my future one more time.
Last year we gathered around that same table. Friends, old and new, and that man I had met.
That man that was my husband this year. And we had Thanksgiving with those friends that every couple should be lucky enough to have. The friends that are your family. And your neighbors. Without whom you’d lose your mind.
There is very little from this past year I want to leave behind. My fears, my insecurities, maybe, but even they have taught me so much about who I am in the past year. I thought I’d try something new this year.
It’s no secret that I am a chickenshit when it comes to making goals. To saying out loud that there is something that I want. I have worked hard at letting go for the last decade. 2012 will be the beginning of what I hope is more than just a decade of holding on. Of putting down roots. Of making a home.
These are lofty goals. But simple when you break them down in to actions instead of ideas.
This year I will make at least one new friend. A mommy friend. That intimidates me. I will invite her and her kid to my house and I will not worry that she will see me use the Walmart brand of disinfectant near my children, or that she will sniff out the paper plates that hide in the back of my cabinet (thereby proving that I am not as green as I strive to be.)
I have fantasized about a spring or summer monthly potluck of sorts for years. This spring I will do my damnedest to make that happen. So I can hold on to those friends that I have made here even though our lives are pulling us all in different directions, towards our own homes, our families.
I will swallow my phone phobia and pick up the phone at least once a week. I was laughing on the phone with my grandmother the other day about how when you don’t have a glass of wine or three in the evenings it is even harder to pick up the phone. A newborn is not conducive to wine drinking or long chats on the phone. But once a week I will pick up the phone and call. Someone that makes me happy.
It’s easy to allow the Newborn Cave to swallow you whole. The velour sweatsuit starts to look like dress up clothes if you put it on fresh from the dryer. Working from home will allow me to stay engaged with people through a computer screen. In my bathrobe, baby on the boob. But I am going to give it all I’ve got to stay connected to real live humans. People that wear belts. And eat at tables, not at the kitchen counter.
This is me, putting it out there. I am going to blow dry my hair at least twice a month. And make a Date. With someone that is not a personal trainer or a blood relative or married to me. I will likely show up with a baby on my boob. But I will be out there. Maybe even wearing a belt. And real shoes. Putting down roots. Making a life that is moving forward, not just away from something, but towards something.
I will reach out to the casual friends that I see at social functions organized by my more… organized friends. The women that I am so happy to run in to. That make me laugh until my sides hurt. (I’m looking at you, Caroline. This is your shout out, as well as a fair warning. I am coming to a bottle of white wine and a table near you, Springtime, 2012, be there or be square.) And to the women that I am so lucky to already call my good friends. Whom I see not nearly enough of.
Because holding on to what you’ve got is just as important as letting go.