Bar none, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. With the exception of two years, I’ve hosted it every year since 1988! Yep…you read that right. And because my birthday (11/28) sometimes falls a few days before or after, my Thanksgiving feasts have also doubled as birthday soirees with as many as 25-30 guests. You might read that and say that’s not a lot of people. But what you may not know is that I live in a one-bedroom NYC apartment! Granted, it is in Brooklyn, but still…
Thankfully, I have family and friends who enjoy great food, great music, great wine & wonderful company and are less concerned with what they are actually sitting on.
Thanksgiving 2012: The Backstory
I’ve been preparing for this year’s Thanksgiving in much the same way as I have previous holidays. All the dishes have been run through the dishwasher. (This is a weird quirk of mine, especially as it relates to dishes I only use during the holiday.) Later today, I’ll start to bake my famous sweet potato pies; I’ll start doing all the prep work for all the yummy southern-inspired sides I am serving; and shortly, I’ll brine the turkey so it’s nice and juicy and ready for the oven first thing Thanksgiving morn.
I’m well-rested; I’m excited. But, can I be transparent with you? I am a bit subdued this holiday.
As if Hurricane Sandy wasn’t surreal enough, a dear friend’s unexpected and untimely death the same week really knocked me off-center. I’ve never lost a friend to suicide, so I’ve never experienced this odd mixture of grief, sadness, and anger, which sits along side the constant question of “why?” I keep going down the rabbit-hole of: “He seemed fine the last time I saw him; what didn’t we notice; what could we have done; where/how did we fail him, etc.” And my heart goes out to his wife and children. Sadly, his death was one of many to touch my inner circle this year. Between these deaths and a few major disappointments, 2012 is going down in the books as the year that kicked my a**!
But to stay “there” in that state of mind would be unfair to all the wonderful things that have happened this year, as well.
So when someone recently asked me how I was doing, I responded in the parlance of Facebook: “It’s complicated.” Overall, I am fine. But the losses this year have definitely left their mark; and, the experiences have reminded me to acknowledge the presence of grace like never before and to practice gratitude on a completely different level.
In fact, in a previous post I talked about how Hurricane Sandy taught me to re-appreciate some of life’s basics like power, water, and heat. I kinda of forgot just how precious these elements of life are!
Thanksgiving…what’s it all about
Around this time of year, which tends to be a reflective season anyway, you hear a lot about the importance of keeping a gratitude journal. I admit that although I am a huge fan of this practice and recommend it to my clients, especially those in debt, I had fallen off the wagon of doing it myself. So, I decided to not only write-out my list of what it is I am grateful for but to share what I usually keep private.
Here’s what I’m grateful for:
- My sweetie, who survived his own near-death experience earlier this year
- My mother, who is doing her darnedest to kick cancer (or as she likes to call it, “the ole battle-ax”) back into remission…for a second time
- “Team Jacquette” – my closest friends who constantly remind me that I am never in this game called life, alone. Special shout-outs to Carlton B., Michelle C., Alexia V., Michael H., Sharon B., Sharon P., Patrick H., David D., Dee S.
- “Team Jacquette, II” – at the beginning of 2012, I declared it as the year of investing in myself so that I could take a step back and get out of the grind of working in my business and start working on it. Huge, heartfelt thanks to my coach, Stephanie Pollock (oh, the transformation you’re helping me to bring about); my mastermind groups (what would I do without your sage, honest, and caring feedback); Copyblogger’s Third Tribe; Marie Forleo’s Rich, Hot, and Happy B-School; and Chris Brogan
- Nook – my cat, who teaches me about unconditional love and forgiveness as only pets can do. If you own a pet, you know exactly what I’m talking about. (I mean, really…look at those eyes?!)
- A home I love, even if my “work” space is now consuming more of my living space than I care to admit
- The fact that I can still run outside in Prospect Park, everyday if I choose
- A teachable spirit, which feeds my insatiable appetite to learn and grow, even when it means leaning into the dark, unknown
Life is complex, challenging and complicated. But there’s always something for which you can be grateful!
The reason listing what it is you are grateful for is such a powerful exercise is that it helps you and me to *see* our circumstances with renewed eyes. The events themselves may not change, but how you internalize what has unfolded can be transformative.
A gratitude list also highlights the inevitable need you and I have for human connection. And that brings me to the next item on my list for which I am grateful…YOU!
- You – my readers who have joined me on this journey. In affect, you’ve raised your hand and said, “Yes, I’m in. I want to be shown a different way – the financial intimacy way – of handling the financial stresses that show up in my life.” To me, this is way, way cool!
I may be a bit subdued this holiday for reasons I hope you can understand. But my appreciation to and for you is anything but subdued…Many, many thanks for being here; for being part of my world; and for letting me be a part of yours. It is truly a privilege.
I’d love to know what’s on your gratitude list, so leave a comment if you’re up to it. In the meantime…
I am wishing you and yours the Happiest Thanksgiving!