I regretfully spent a good chunk of my Thanksgiving not being thankful for anything.
How could I be?
I found myself unable to stop scrolling through Facebook, through Instagram, even crawling onto Pinterest out of sheer desperation to keep my brain stimulated by pretty and perfect things.
Pictures. So many pictures of people in their Thursday’s best: hair done, nails done, shoes on (the kind that if you walk more than three steps, will blister any ounce of skin trapped inside of them). And captions. Captions about how thankful they are for the people in their lives, how they make them so happy, so full, so, ah you know what i’m talking about.
So instead of taking inventory on all the things I was grateful for this year, I took inventory on all of the things I didn’t have.
I was so miserable that I started searching the #Thanksgiving hashtag on Instagram and rolling my eyes at people I didn’t even know. People whose lives weren’t co-mingled with mine.
Want to know how this ended?
With me. Laying in bed. At 7pm. With a computer and phone that had their battery life maxed out.
I started telling somebody about this today and it went like this:
Me: “On Thanksgiving I was sad because I was on Facebook and…”
Her: “And of course you would be. Come on. You know what is on Facebook is a preconceived lie.”
But, in that moment of scroll, scroll, scrolling, I forgot that.
Someone else once told me a story about how they were heading to a family dinner, and right before they walked out the door, someone puked everywhere, and another person found out their husband was cheating on them, and an hour later, they all posed, cleaned up and smiling, for a family picture. The picture got 100 likes on Facebook with comments that read, “What a perfect family!” #FamilyGoals. Nobody would know that two or more people in the photo were fighting immense amounts of gross misery.
At about 9pm, on Thanksgiving night, I decided to try to redeem myself from these nasty and jealous thoughts. I pulled out a sheet of paper and wrote down a few of the obscure things I was most thankful for this year.
1. My 7-year-old MACBOOK Pro that the Genius Bar said had only a few months left, two years ago, and is still working as if it’s practically brand new (okay, sometimes the trackpad stops working and it freezes for twenty minutes and occasionally it makes a piercingly loud noise) but I’m thankful I don’t have to spend $1,300 on a new one right now.
2. TSA Pre-Check for letting me keep my shoes on and my elderly computer inside of my bag.
3. Old Navy yoga pants. This isn’t a paid advertisement. This is just the truth that sometimes when my jeans feel too tight or I’m going to be confined in the middle seat of an airplane for hours and hours, their yoga pants are really stretchy and make my body feel like it can take one of those deep breaths where it feels like my heart is being pushed up into my esophagus…in a good way.
4. The salesperson at Abercrombie who wouldn’t let me return a dress from 2014. In that moment, everything about me was tested and I’d say I passed at a C+. But she taught me that if something stays in your closet, unworn, for more than 30 days, you are never going to find the right occasion, the right weather, or the right moment to wear it. So get your cash back – or else you will find yourself red in the face, saying things you don’t mean to a cashier at Abercrombie and Fitch.
5. Deciding to give away and sell (almost) everything that I own. I made a big move out of my NYC apartment, that I lived in for 6 years, to live in random cities for 30 days at a time. I sold all my furniture and gave away around 30 garbage bags of stuff. What I own fits nicely in the trunk and backseat of a mid-size car. What I travel with has to fit in one suitcase, under 50 pounds, and one carry on suitcase, small enough to fit in the overhead compartment. Because of this, I’ve stopped bying stuff, like a dress from Abercrombie that I’ll probably never wear.
6. Brussel sprouts. Eating them makes me happy.
We’re all thankful for something, someone. Even if we don’t have a pretty picture to attach to a caption and then toss on our social media accounts to be judged by many and to make many jealous.
I’ll probably forget all of this when I drool over engagement rings and baby announcements this winter. But then I’ll throw on a pair of those stretchy pants, stick my phone on airplane mode, and eat as many Brussel sprouts as I can fit in my hand, my mouth, my stomach.
I’m thankful for that. For my weird traditions. For what makes me smile when what used to make me smile is now so 2016.