Around this time of the year the air always changes; be the weather or the emotional atmosphere, it feels different. While a Florida girl like me has a pretty diluted idea of what Autumn is, I appreciate these upcoming holidays and this time of reflection.
Growing up, Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday. Unpopular opinion - I know - but it was special to me. I grew up in two homes so I had two birthdays, two Christmases, two everything… Kids always envied that but it really felt more like two half holidays rather than two full ones. But Thanksgiving was different. At the time, my paternal grandparents didn’t live in Florida so locally my dad’s side of the family was just my dad. My divorced parents were still friendly so every year my mom’s family would invite him over. Looking back I realize how unusually lucky I am to have been able to call that normal.
When my parents eventually remarried, Thanksgiving obviously changed and it became another twosome holiday. Both families grew and since I moved away to college, it’s been a little bit of a tug-o-war. Regardless, a fuzzy feeling persists for my Thanksgivings. Delicious home-cooked food (which I enjoy adding to nowadays!), regions of family, and vegging out to movies make up my November holiday.
As a time of reflection, I look back to a difficult year. I was the closest I’ve ever been to giving up my musical endeavors and I’ve battled with feelings of worthlessness and considering myself unlovable. I sought new avenues like religion and career changes to find a better path not for my heart but for my bank account and my sanity. Then September happened. I performed in a show that took me out of town for an entire month.
Having an opportunity to zoom out of everyday life, I realized what my daily routine had become. Lists of unfinished tasks and reasons I wasn’t where and who I wanted to be, “Whatever guy or friend who was ignoring me must not like me because _____” and “I’ll never be a good enough musician or writer because _____...” These thoughts of lacking would flood my mind before I even opened my eyes to the day.
In this precious time away from my normal routine I found myself surrounded by music (that I felt good enough to play), a stunning theatrical experience, and a group of beautiful, creative, and supportive individuals. My normal obligations were paused or gone so I could “allow” myself to breathe and enjoy every hour of the day however I pleased.
Returning home to Orlando and a more original routine shocked my system a bit. I realized that I had only focused on what I didn’t have and what I couldn’t do. Being lifted out of that, I realized how much I have and can do. I remember feeling a rush through my body and water in my eyes. I had everything I needed. I’m not a failure because my career isn’t where I want it, it’s a journey that I’m still traveling on. I’ve begun a habit where I say “I am grateful for ____” every morning and every evening. Whether it’s being grateful for the laugh-out-loud thing that happened at work or that I actually had a job that paid me today, that change of mindset changes my entire world.
While challenges are ever-present, that never means we shouldn’t focus on the ever-present joys and small achievements as well. Inspired by this revelation, I wrote a song called “Count What I Got.” I hope you like it! #countwhatigot
What does Thanksgiving mean to you? What are you #grateful for this season?
Until next week!
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