Today is the day before Thanksgiving. I just got home from a business breakfast (fun, not that serious, good prospects) and I’m sitting down to relax before the holiday begins.
Having just escaped Midtown Manhattan, the hum of excitement has already begun. The risers and barricades are starting to lock into place for tomorrow’s 89th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Tourists are crowding the streets, stopping every so many feet to gaze at the spires of commerce and architecture that ascend from the pavement like monuments. The crowd is beginning to get a little thicker, the din of voices is becoming louder, and the energy around family dinners, Black Friday shopping, and all the insanity that comes with it is rising to what will become a fever pitch.
This is when I make my escape above 72nd Street. As much as I respect it, it’s not for me. I avoid large crowds the way most people avoid the flu. Black Friday shopping was over for me when I watched a mother and daughter duke it out in Macy’s over a pair of boots. Mother and daughter. Had to be pulled apart by security. Over shoes. Nope. Never again.
Thanksgiving has become a time for quiet reflection for me. My guy is away with his family, my mother is at home with my grandmother. I’m here in New York with a full schedule of product photography, holiday gift guides, and some much-needed silent time. I’ve been asked if this gets lonely. Honestly, I don’t get lonely. I know that sounds odd, but I crave time alone. Also, I’m at a place in life where I enjoy my own company. I like myself a lot, hence I don’t get lonely and am never bored.
Gift guides in our industry are at this point completely ubiquitous. I’m working on mine right now, and have people admonish me for not publishing them yet. I have to say this for the record: it’s not the day after Thanksgiving yet. I don’t believe we should start pushing holiday gifts before we’ve had regrets about too much Thanksgiving food. I also think it’s important to be grateful for what you have before you start talking about getting more things. So, before I publish one gift guide, I thought I would share some things for which I’m grateful:
- I’m grateful that I had the abundance to give away 14 bags of clothes to Housing Works last month. More about this is coming, but I am someone who got their hands on “that book” and started unloading my entire house. I might go for Round Two over this weekend, but it’s made my life so much easier. I can get dressed in minutes now. I’m working on a post, but seriously, the Marie Kondo book will absolutely change your entire life in one day. I can totally vouch for this.
- I’m grateful for the love of my life, who is still with me 2+ years after meeting. We’ve had some rough patches over the past year or so, and recently came together to make the decision every couple has to make: are we invested enough in each other to work through our differences? We called the question, and came through it better than ever. I’ve never had that experience before, that love of another person that is so deep that you will do whatever you have to do to make it work with each other. He is my person. So, I’m thankful I have my Lucky Guy.
- One of the big projects I was talking about that took me away from writing for this site is Philosophy’s Hope & Grace Community, the editorial site for the brand’s charity that works tirelessly to bring education, information, and much-needed financial resources to mental health-related causes. I built their editorial content for them, and believe in the cause so much that I added my own story. It’s gotten a very positive response. Like, more positive than I would have ever thought. Hopefully, one less person will feel alone after reading it.
- I have intense gratitude for the ability to stop beating the Hell out of myself based on artificial means of measurement. I did a 30-day yoga challenge back in September, determined to go into my mind and body and figure out what it is in me that caused me to eat emotionally and continue to feel less-than other people. Since that time, I’ve learned that all the illusions I’ve been told are meant to measure me — number of likes, click-throughs, commenters, unique page views, invitations to certain parties and events, notoriety, wearing a certain size — are just that: illusions. You can’t take any of that with you, and when you go to sleep at night, none of it really matters. I’m the only measure of success that’s of any importance. As long as I can sign off on my actions, I’m pretty much killing it. And I like me, so I win.
- I’m really excited that my mother is coming to visit me for Christmas. As a family unit that has always celebrated Christmas together in West Virginia where I grew up, this is the first year that we’re breaking tradition and she’s coming to my home. The awesomeness of this responsibility cannot be understated: it’s my first tree, my first time decorating my house for the holidays, and my first time cooking Christmas dinner in my new place. I might also be rescuing a dog from North Shore Animal League, so December is going to be a big month.
Finally, I’m really grateful to you for reading this. I’m grateful that you spend moments of your time coming to see what I’m up to. There’s more to come. But right now, I’m sending love, gratitude and blessings to you, wherever you are.