November is a tender month; it’s that unstable period just before salt coats earth and boots, before it hurts to breathe outside, but just after those crisp autumn afternoons that pushed heavenly golden light through half barren tree limbs. It is a time of gratitude, plenitude, and heavily spiced comfort food. We’re about to hunker down for a while, and the tide of preparation is high, be it knitting a new wool scarf or baking pumpkin pie.
The inevitable spirit of warmth and nostalgia has quite a stronghold on me around this time of the year, especially with Thanksgiving just days away. The world seems to slow down and melt into itself a little, saturated with the kind of color only found in memories and Grandma’s photo album.
I have much to be thankful for right now. My husband and I have reached that mythical place of relative financial stability, and are hoping to finally start a family. My job has evolved to the point where I actually enjoy it, and opportunity abounds for my husband. We have our own home, a tank full of heating oil, and two family-filled holidays just around the corner. We have good health, full hearts, and the rest of our lives to enjoy it all to the fullest. Life is pretty good.
My family had a tradition of going around the Thanksgiving table and having each person say what they are thankful for. As an introverted only child, I cringed when it came to me. I’d spout some typical response, thanks for my family, love, food, etc. But there was one year that I wrote a poem, and my mother read it aloud. Like, in front of everyone. With me right there. If you look up mortified in the dictionary, I think a picture of 10-year-old me is scribbled in the margin.
Now that I’m all growed up, I see how important it is to take a moment and truly acknowledge your blessings. Don’t count them, though; it’s about quality, not quantity. That’s been my motto as of late- be grateful. It may seem like a cheesy trick, but I believe learning to live a life of appreciation and gratitude is the foundation for true happiness. Even if your life is battered down with hardship and chaos, if your roads are littered with potholes and the air seems too heavy to breathe, take a minute to remember. Get a friend or loved one and chat about the old days. My husband and I do that often, over a glass of wine after a hard day’s work. It alleviates stress better than anything I know, brings us together, and reminds us that things weren’t always bad. Happiness lived is happiness kept. And I’m thankful for every minute of it.
+In memory of Nicholas Fecteau, who passed away at the impossible age of 21. He was loved by many, many people, and will truly be missed. God bless you, Nick. Rest in peace.+