Sunday, December 1, 2013

The days are long, but the years are short*

Even though I had an extended Thanksgiving celebration this year, it felt a bit off. Which really saddened me, since this is my favorite time of the year—and favorite holiday.

Last weekend my girlfriends and I had our own Thanksgiving celebration, an event that I love for its companionship and irony, as the foreign-born gal of our foursome is always the one to host. And her prosecco-infused turkey is quite a treat, so us Americans are in no rush to take over.

This is the friend on the Upper West Side, so as usual, I enjoyed my trek up there, meandering around the brownstone-bedecked streets, watching families head home from brunch and errands, everyone rosy-cheeked and bundled up. So there was that.

Then on the actual holiday, R and I shared a quiet meal with my mom and her friend. She went all out with a full-on menu that contained no gluten and very little sugar. We started with Goan samosas made with her own blend of chickpea and coconut flour early in the day (this isn't usually a part of the Thanksgiving menu, but I had a craving). Later on we started the actual dinner with a carrot ginger soup, a spinach, citrus and ginger salad, then baked yams with a walnut-y tapenade, tasty little birds for each one of us (Cornish hens, as R and I don't enjoy turkey as much, prosecco-infused birdie, aside) over pumpkin risotto and finally, a pistachio-ginger-crusted pumpkin cheesecake. The entire meal was lovely—set with the fancy china (a change of flatware and plateware for each course) and wee harvest figurines dotting the center of the table.

And yet.

Something was off. I felt off kilter all week, and I'm not sure exactly why. Could be that I ended up working the entire holiday, at least 4-5 hours a day, so it didn't quite feel holidayish. Could be something else—perhaps the general uncertainty that seems to have marked this year for me.

I don't know how to fix that, but I'm hoping that putting up a few holiday decorations this weekend and hopefully (pretty please!) getting a live tree and garlands this week may help me feel festive and jolly.

Perhaps there's something else that may help, too.

About a week or so ago I began jotting down a few things a day in a non-digital notebook. I took an inky pen and on creamy paper in a small Moleskine cahier that I already had (to keep it from being too precious), wrote the title of this post at the top of a new page (to keep things in perspective), and then spent a few minutes noting the things from the day before that made me happy or were reason to be grateful.

I've tried this many times before, and it's never really stuck, but a friend has been doing it lately—someone who has the same demands of and on her time as I do—and somehow she's been able to keep it up and I've noticed an actual change in her attitude and spirit. A good one, of course, so I figured perhaps 8th time (or whatever I'm up to now), might stick. I haven't kept it up every day this time around, but at least I started. And perhaps that's more important.

* Borrowed from Gretchen Rubin

One year ago:  Thanksgiving traditions & Thanksgiving Weekend 2012


  1. your thanksgiving sounded AMAZING. midwestern meals are so heavy and i would have SOOOOO loved being at your table enjoying all those tasty dishes.

    totally agree on the journaling. there's just something about putting pen to paper that allows a certain kind of reflection that typeing just doesn't. Every time you try it again, you are in a new place, new kind of readiness, new kind of perspective. I think it's really about coming back over and over, versus the fact that you've left it...! i recently did a journaling thing where i wrote down everyting negative and fearful in my mind on the left page and everything positive in my mind on the right page... and found that i was able to "talk myself" out of the things i wrote on the left page. I would pose the thought... what's one thing i COULD do in terms of the stressful or fearful situations i wrote down, and the writing process really helped to lead me towards empowering answers --- whether it was to "ask a question" or take some other kind of action, it helped me to see, that in any stressful situation, there's always something i can DO about it (versus let it "happen" to me) and stress me out more... - curious what journaling will bring you this time!

    1. Hi there, M! Thanks so much for your note.

      I've never experienced a Midwestern Thanksgiving, but HAVE heard stories from my Wisconsin friends and hoo-boy, definitely a bit different from the East Coast ones I'm used to :).

      So glad you mentioned your own journaling process—and really funny as yesterday morning I realized that all my items were a negative that I turned into a positive, e.g., Even though I don't like ____, at least I have ____. But, I like your system of facing pages and individually listing, as I'm sure seeing the total tally of positives is a surefire mood booster and perspective changer. Will give that a whirl soon!

  2. Goan samosas sounds delicious. there is something cozy and good feeling about actually writing on a piece of paper :)

    1. They're SO good...a wee bit sweeter (because of the coconut) than traditional Indian ones. And yes, sometimes paper seems more legit/secure/permanent than digital, no? :)

    2. ya i feel the same way about kindle too. Nothing compares the joy of going to the bookstore or library :)


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