Thanksgiving beckons family reunions, home-cooked food, laughter, and warmth of a home. It is also a day to take a moment to reflect over the past year and express gratitude for the blessings of life. And even though my family isn’t from America, over the years, we have adopted Thanksgiving as a beloved holiday to be celebrated. A turkey no less than 16 lbs will be roasted, pies will be baked, the table will be set, and leftovers will be eaten for days. Though we are only a small family of four, we will have a perfectly cozy holiday, full of warmth and the blessing of family.
But this year is a bit different.
Another Thanksgiving has come to an end and my tummy is full of goodness as I draft this… of turkey, stuffing, garlic mash potatoes, and pumpkin flan. My heart is full with good conversation and new friendships.
Even though I had a lovely, lovely time at D’s aunt and uncle’s place, this year also made me a little sad. This is the first year I did not spend Thanksgiving with my family. My family doesn’t understand my want for travel and sees it as a cowardly move rather than an enriching experience. And it has caused a rift (more on that later).
It’s quite amazing how breaking from societal norms can break relationships.
Even still, there is much to be thankful this year (albeit a bit belated):
I am thankful for the ability to choose a different path in life. I used to think that the only path for me was to enter a good career, climb up the ladder, settle down, etc. etc. And while I am thankful for my college education and the job I have held for over 5 years, I now believe that I don’t need to be boxed into a forever cubicle-life. Most of all, I am thankful for D who dared to dream bigger and change our paths.
I am thankful for the friends who wholeheartedly supported me from the beginning and never once doubted that I might be making a mistake. For those who are genuinely happy for me. For those who believe that I will make something out of myself even without the solid paychecks and the glamorous title.
I am thankful for D’s family who embraced me as one of their own without question.
I am thankful for D’s neverending, unwavering support… through all the really horrible times when I didn’t believe in myself, when I was scared, and even when I didn’t trust him… through the stress that almost broke us. I am thankful for the strength of our relationship that persevered through it all.
I am thankful for finally having made peace in my mind. It has truly been a long, hard year of fear, uncertainties, and heart-breaking decisions. And even a harder journey to get past all the self-doubt and figure out for myself the road I want to take. But now I am at a place where I have shed my worries and can finally be excited about the future.
And I am no longer scared.
Disclaimer: The above image is not mine, but I’m not sure who to credit.