Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday. On a scale from the first Monday back to work after a 3-week vacation and Christmas or a 21st Birthday, it ranks someplace between Arbor Day and Flag Day.
After today, I’m a bit concerned that I might be labeled as un-American. Aside from listening to Alice’s Restaurant on the radio today, I don’t think I did anything that most citizens of the USA would consider traditional.
I didn’t spend any of the day with friends or family. (I’m not a jerk, I did talk with my parents on the phone.)
I didn’t watch a single play of football. The closest I came was inadvertently seeing a few tweets. (Just how did the Lions do against the Packers today? Never mind, it won’t affect me unless the football board I joined for a coworker’s fundraiser miraculously tosses a few dollars my way.)
No movies, no television. My entertainment for the day was a mountain bike ride (10.3 miles on the trails, with another 13 riding to and from the trailhead).
After my ride I was cold, hungry, and tired when I got home, so dinner consisted of a clementine and some rapidly scrambled eggs.
The closest I came to a turkey was about 30 feet. I saw a dozen wild ones standing in a small clearing by the road as I started my ride home from the trail. They must have sensed that the immediate danger was over for another year.
Despite my early Scrooge-ism, it doesn’t mean that I wasn’t grateful. I was glad for beautiful weather. I very much appreciated my bike and equipment. I’m grateful for the people who work at the small store where I bought most of it. I thought about all the people who maintain the trail I rode. I acknowledged the jobs that have allowed me to have such toys. I am grateful to live in a country where I have the freedom to make my own choices, which includes the right to drop out of the mainstream once and a while.
I spent the day mostly in solitude, by choice. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy spending quality time with friends, and sometimes even with family.
I do not like the pressure of trying to appear to be someone or something I’m not. Today there was no pressure. For that, I am deeply grateful.
My takeaway for the day is that just because “everyone else” does something, it isn’t necessarily right for you.
I will leave you with the best advice I ever received from my dad.
You have my permission to change anything in your life that isn’t working for you.