Thanks for … Nothing: A Toast to the holiday Grinches among us who have lost our Gratitude Groove
I'm taking some well-earned time off from having an attitude of gratitude – and any other platitudes, thank you very much.
I know it's not polite or grateful, Oprah-like but I'm saying it anyway. When we went around the Thanksgiving table this year and everyone said what they were grateful for, I just couldn't do it. My year was full of death, divorce, grief, and loss. That's what I was thinking about. I'm looking around at who wasn't at our table. That made me sad and mad, not grateful.
Be thankful? Not this year
Believe me, I know I am failing mightily to follow the current trends of mindful, meditative thankfulness. But let's be honest. Sometimes holidays are just sad, right? Sometimes entire years simply stink.
Even The Queen Can Have a Bad Year
Remember when Queen Elizabeth II made international headlines in 1992 when all the marriages in the Royal family fell apart and Windsor Castle caught fire? She called her awful year an "annus horribilis." It was like, front-page headlines around the world. Frankly, some of us have had a couple of anni horribli. Can't we just admit that without feeling guilty?
So here's my Thanksgiving toast: For all of us suffering through our own particularly heinous annus horribilis, for all those not feeling particularly grateful as we sag sadly into the holiday season, I hereby grant us all permission to wallow a little.
What Would Oprah Say?
This is not what my inner Oprah would advise. I know she would refer me back to my gratitude journal and gently force me to count my blessings. My more meditative, mindful friends suggested I consider what was not lost, broken, missing or sad in my life. I know this is what a grown-up, mature adult does. A responsible person does not whine. A mature person finds gratitude in all places, in surprising places. Some years you have to work harder for it, dig a little deeper. Kids, health, good friends, good work, safe place to live….what is not to feel good about?
Grief makes you greedy
When I think about the blessings in my life, and there are many, I feel, ... what is it I feel? Relief. That's it. I feel relieved that they haven't been taken away, too. And I feel some dread that some of them might. I feel relieved I still have them and greedy to hold on tight.
I know, of course, that holding on tight is folly. I am not in control of most of it. Truth is, I don't really think I'm in control of any of it.
Except, as my daughter says, my own mind. I can decide what I think and how I think about it and what I do in relation to how I'm thinking about it.
There's always New Year's
So this year, I decided to buck the trendy attitude of gratitude and Grinchily indulge in a good, old fashioned holiday funk.
I swear to Oprah, though, that my first New Year's Resolution will be, well, you know.