Trying my darnedest to be happy this Thanksgiving.
How does that work? How can we when the year has been so difficult? So trying, so scary, and for many, it’s been so sad, how can we stay happy? What do we cling to, and more importantly, why? Is it survival? Are we merely surviving, and happiness is an essential substance we require to properly exist? And what of those who are unable to scout out or gather any happiness for themselves? How can we help, and what does that helplessness do to all of us?
Focusing on the good seems impossible at times. It may feel like something an optimist does, but no one considers me an optimist (as they should not), and I am by no means a pessimist. I prefer being a realist. Because to me, it seems that to be an optimist is to always see bright, see goodness, and hope. But I do not. I see both good and sad. I see the horrors in life, I see the darkness, and I feel despair. And it is because of these sights, this awareness, this depression, I am rudely tuned into how wretched things could actually be for me, for everyone. One can’t ignore history or it’s nightmares. I realize we all strive to have a better life than what we presently have, that is human nature. Yet it is unhealthy and unwise to ignore any current goodness or success we have.
I am very much aware of all the reasons to be miserable: the hatred so intent on ripping apart our country, the atrocities that occur across the globe, covid taking the lives of loved ones, covid angering others for being a hoax, the financial difficulties we have all endured during this very peculiar 2020. But I know the human race has survived much worse. Survived much uglier. Historically, we are pretty resilient as a species regardless of our failings (and our suffering). This does not make me an optimist. It makes me a realist. Although I’m not happy (I miss my family, I’m struggling financially, I have fears and fight the darkness often), I sit here today in my home with my dog, plenty of food, drinking tea and wine, and zoom calling family, I know I don’t have to be happy to be thankful. Funny thing though-when I focus on all that makes me thankful, it makes me happy, even if only for a day.
Grab a drink, put on some tunes, and celebrate the little things.