As we move into the Thanksgiving holiday, I am reminded of all the times I didn’t feel grateful: divorce; difficulties being a mom; feeling alienated from my parents, family; feeling unfocused, lost, confused about which way to go; facing huge set-backs with business or finances; losing friends; not getting something I wanted; feeling trapped in physical illness that seemed impossible to overcome; caught up in a pattern that I couldn’t seem to break. I could go on a lot longer, but you get the idea.
One of the ways I changed my life was to start finding one thing at a time to be grateful for, to look for even the smallest thing to lift my spirits and help me find the order in life. Back in 1992, when I was very ill and felt somewhat hopeless, I found it close to impossible to walk up the slight incline on my street. It seemed to take every bit of strength I had. Each time I made it up that little hill, I gave myself a big hug, and celebrated. I was so grateful to find the inner ability to keep going! Those little moments added up, and I did overcome that illness and now see the blessings it brought me.
This is a very different Thanksgiving for me. No relatives are coming into town. I’m not preparing a large meal, or going to my parents’ house to join some 22 other people in a circle of blessing before eating. My mom actually wants to eat her main meal at her retirement home because she wants to be there for all the others who are alone this year, so she will come to my house just for an afternoon visit. My son, the industrious chef, has to work then join his wife’s family. I’ll be dining with friends in the evening, bringing some side dishes and a pie. I can see that none of the traditions I helped create and enjoyed earlier in my life are available to me at this moment.
Instead of bemoaning the loss of the old and familiar, I’m rather enjoying the change–the challenge of really being with myself most of the time. The opportunity to work on my own projects, catch up on my books and movies, having big spaces of time to truly do what I want. When I was younger, I dreamed of having even one day like that, and now I have lots of them. I don’t want to be guilty of feeling burdened by what I wished for! (“Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it!”)
This new, more solitary, more introverted, more contemplative life is very sweet. I’m grateful for every morning that I wake up and realize I actually slept almost seven hours instead of five or six. I’m grateful that I get to spend time with my precious grandson, Ethan, and watch him growing, learning to talk, move around, try to master his world. I’m grateful for my wise and loving son and his wife for being so present in my life. I’m grateful to have my precious mother, still so vital and alive at 85. I’m grateful for my sisters, all our history of being part of a family led by remarkable parents. I’m grateful for my friends who constantly amaze and inspire me by their creativity, their courage to keep being themselves, their ideas, their difficulties, their lives, mostly their friendship. I’m grateful that I still feel inspired to work, to write and reflect about life, to be able to work with people and have an impact in their lives. I’m grateful to all my teachers and mentors who have been beacons of light along my sometimes foggy path. I’m grateful for my adversaries–people who have challenged me to my knees and played their role in helping me grow and learn.
And I’m really grateful that I have so many reasons to see that for me, everyday is Thanksgiving Day. Isn’t that one of the best ways to be a Life Entrepreneur?