I had a plan for Thanksgiving Day. I was going to write up some lovely and beautiful words on the subject of gratitude. I wasn’t sure what those words would be. Perhaps I’d talk about the fallen leaves and the abundance of life. Food and family would likely be topics. I wanted it to be a moment for me to pause in a particular moment and be grateful. The pause felt all the more important because we weren’t doing our big Thanksgiving meal on that day. I knew I couldn’t pull off a meal of that complexity with only a single day between a big convention and the holiday. There are elements of the Thanksgiving feast which require pre-planning and multi-day preparation cycles. So I sat on Thanksgiving day feeling a bit empty and brain fogged, with no celebratory food. I didn’t have the energy to feel grateful, any brain power I had available went into unpacking and cleaning up convention mess. I call it “convention mess” but really it was the accumulated mess of months. I’ve been living at a dead run since early July.
Clutter accumulates in such circumstances. The corner of the room gets stacked with things that require decisions. My To Do list becomes overfull of undone tasks. Emotions pile up in the edges of my mind waiting for me to process them. Often I experience Thanksgiving weekend as a beautiful respite from urgency. I want that for this year, but I haven’t laid the groundwork for it. So I spent Thanksgiving day slowly trying to clear away mess in preparation so that perhaps I could have a sliver of peace on Saturday when we planned our large meal.
I did find peace and gratitude in snatches, but also there was the cooking schedule. And the couches, which are important and will let us arrange our living space in much more comfortable ways, arrived at exactly the hour I planned to serve dinner. The plan was to eat and then crash and watch a show. If the packages full of couch had arrived before Saturday, I would have already assembled them. If they’d arrived on Monday we would have made do with existing furniture. Instead we had to assemble couches before sitting because there were boxes everywhere. It turned into a group effort, which is family togetherness of a kind, but not what I’d pictured. The arrival of the couches is emblematic of how my life has gone since July. None of the events and tasks arrive with space around them. Everything is on top of each other while life feels over-full and cluttered. I want to fix that. I need a life that contains more breathing space and less accumulated clutter both physical and mental.
And yet I am grateful for this busy season. All of the things which have filled our hours have been important progress. I am glad for how far we’ve come in the last four months even though I’m tired from running so fast.