Thanksgiving is easily my favorite holiday of the year. To me, It is more of what the celebration of Christmas should be─ a time to say “Thanks, God”, while sharing fellowship, food, and fun with family and friends. (And this year, throw in a Steelers’ football game in the evening to just round out the perfect holiday!). Sure… there is an overindulgence of turkey, dessert, and drink, but it is more about the spirit of sharing and being grateful for the moment than it is a spirit of shopping and exchanging of “stuff”. Thanksgiving is not about presents, but rather about being thankful for the present.
This opportunity to be fully immersed in the present moment is not one to be taken for granted. It is so easy to get caught up in dwelling on the past or dreaming of the future that we can neglect what is real and right in front of us. This year has been one of heavy reflection for me personally. A friend called it a mid-life crisis, but I prefer to think about it as a mid-life awakening. Marketing.
I’ve become very conscious of time… the expired past that I can’t get back, the omnipresent ticking of each moment, and the awareness that time itself is becoming a limited resource. It’s like I am having a “Scrooge” moment, as my ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future are all haunting my thoughts and dreams. This is especially unusual for me, as I am naturally wired to just drive full speed ahead… spending far more time racing toward all of the future’s possibilities and little to no time looking at the rearview mirror (or even keeping my eyes on the road in the present). This driving metaphor may explain why I get so many speeding tickets.
And it’s not just me. I feel this sense of restlessness all around me as it seems like we are all somewhat spiraling out of control. Whether it is because we are running toward something, fleeing away from something, or just quickly spinning I don’t know… but it is truly hard to just be present in the moment. Maybe I’m just getting a little dramatic in my “old age”, becoming inflicted with a new sentimentality, or just growing in the awareness of how precious each moment should be. I guess it doesn’t really matter… what does matter is that there is too much time spent trying to manipulate a future that is uncontrollable, changing a past that is immovable, or even just distracted by the constant noise… that far too little is spent immersed in the moment.
So my call to action this Thanksgiving is as follows: “Turn everything off and just enjoy the moment. Don’t check your email, ignore Black Friday, and put away the smartphone. Forget about yesterday, don’t worry about tomorrow, and just be. Put politics aside, ignore the “to do list”, and eat, drink, and be merry. Be thankful for all of our blessings, our loved ones, and our freedom. And Go Steelers.”
I will tell you that when I started writing this post, this is not where I thought it would end up. Maybe this is the result of my attempt to simply write in the moment or maybe it is the rambling words of a divergent mind in mid-life crisis / awakening. Regardless, I truly wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings, that you enjoy the company of family and friends, and that you give yourself and your loved ones the gift of being present.