Somewhere in the last 4 1/2 years of writing this blog I started editing it. I began with an honest stream of consciousness immediate report that people loved and it evolved into something else. I started acting like a writer. That part was fine. The part that bothers me are the absences in-between blogs because I’m either too busy, too angry, or just too damn exhausted. I begin to wonder if anybody cares. Whether or not anyone is listening. I get caught up in other totally worthwhile projects, and I forsake the one line of communication I have with the world that allows me more than 150 characters and operates independently of cute kitten memes, cynical wisdom postcards, or celebrity behavior tirades.
It seems my readers click in just to hear what I have to say about whatever I choose to talk about that day.
I’ve been a bit absent especially on the holidays where I’ve posted before. I feel like I’ve said what I have to say, repeated it a few times and it will either stick or it won’t. However given the remarkable trend of people sharing gratitude challenges on social media I find that chiming in on Thanksgiving is fitting. Yes, it was days ago. So why bring it up now?
Because being thankful for what I have shouldn’t wait for a day off. Expressing how important people are to me need not be saved for a holiday. Don’t get me wrong. I happen to love Thanksgiving. I grew up in a wonderful family, and this was one of our biggest holidays. Family, dinner, cousins, aunts & uncles, hearing about what’s wrong with the world and what’s awesome about our vacations. It was a day to do more than think about the blessings in my life. It was a day to sit and laugh with them.
I’m editing again. I’ve followed that last line up with half a dozen zingers because I don’t know how to just say that I wish holidays were more of an anchor to the values they celebrate than the one day in a year in which it’s ok to actually have them and be loud about it.
We save our charitable love for Christmas, our love of trees for Arbor Day, and our romantic genius for Valentine’s. We wait until Veteran’s Day to say ‘Welcome Home’ to our returned military, and figure one day a year is enough to acknowledge the labor force that for most of American history kept us moving forward, built almost everything we needed and did it better than those we buy it all from today.
I’m not asking to us to be thankful all year long. I’m inviting us all to look at why we aren’t.
Sometimes I want to force us into a Clockwork Orange and make us watch ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ and ‘Fight Club’ back to back until we are snapped out of the entertainment fallacy that says the most important things in the world are incredibly sexy, and anything else that is worthy of our attention will be pointed out by the sexy people and we only have to talk about for as long as they lead us to. Then we can go back to pretending it matters that a pop star is acting like a slut, or that some sports star cheated on his wife.
Do these things matter? On some level they do. And I’m happy to admit that I love entertainment. In fact for a good portion of my life I cared about little else. These days it’s more of a stress relief that sits in-between hours of dense university lectures, counseling addicts, teaching high school, and navigating Italian bureaucracy.
Are there holes in what I’ve said? Of course. I’m a holier-than-thou sinner too.
Something happens when I stop over thinking and just get into action. When I just write and let the chips fall where they may. Once in a while magic happens. Same goes for when I deal with anything that is between me and the values that a few times a year I declare are important. I see myself become those things everyday. I don’t it perfectly and at times I don’t think I reflect them very well at all- and I stay in the game anyway.
If I lost you somewhere in the last minute, here’s our chance to meet again. Say “Thank You”, and follow it up with actions that show you mean it. It’s going to be clumsy at first, and that’s ok. Send a handwritten card, write someone a love letter, call your Mom, help a veteran clean out her garage, tell your junior high English teacher that his believing in you changed your life, or go for a walk and simply be thankful you can walk.
Make a list of the holidays you pay attention to in a year and the values that they speak of. Then be those things today. It will take you into some interesting adventures.
This is me, grateful that you are still reading- and willing to just say what I have to say without editing the shit out of it.