A few years ago, I was pretty bummed out around this time. I was totally dwelling on the fact that I was estranged from my family and wasn't going to have the 'typical' Thanksgiving experience. I felt broken and sad, like there was something really wrong with me and everyone else was having this great time.
As the past few years have gone by, I see that a lot of people are in the same boat, for many reasons. There was nothing broken or wrong about me. Others feel the same way, too.
It's true that SOME people have the experience that media tells us we should have. And BOY! don't they do a kick-ass job of it? You know the commercials of people serving a 50-lb turkey with all the trimmings dressed in perfectly-ironed outfits with fresh haircuts. Then, they all sit at the huge dining room table at Grandma's house. The message is: "Everyone is doing this. You should be, too."
How can we be so smart and such suckers to buy that crap every single year?!
This year, be real. Get honest. Those commercials are meant to sell you stuff. Buy this food, buy this device, buy this scarf--and you will be normal and really happy like these people. Some people have that experience, most don't. Whatever your situation, you are totally in the driver's seat for making the day amazing.
CHOOSE YOUR CELEBRATION STYLE
Got family to visit? Awesome. Head over and make it the best day possible. Take it on like a challenge or workout for your ego. Don't complain about it or want them to be different. Remember that some people would like to have family to visit. You have them. Love them for exactly who they are and exactly who they aren't.
Is your family far away or are you estranged from them like I was? For three years in a row, I am celebrating with the same people and omg, we make it better and better each year! You can also choose to celebrate alone or reach out and ask a friend if you can tag along with their plans. People assume you are taken care of, so express your need to someone you love and trust and see what happens. I did it a few years ago, and it was awesome.
Maybe you got an invite from friends but it feels weird to go solo. Maybe they will judge you. Maybe it reminds you that you don't have a family. You have options. Consider that you showing up makes all those folks happier than you could ever know, because they get to share their joy with you. Perhaps spending the day on your couch with your favorite foods with your favorite movies is just what you need. Brunch plans and then the movies on your own? Be creative! Think outside that box sold in those commercials. It isn't real. Your life IS real and you get to create it.
Make it happen. Whatever it is, CHOOSE it. Decide you love it and soak up the hours you have to bask in the day of your choosing.
ENJOY WHAT YOU'RE EATING
I see a lot of people getting a little freaked out about the amazing feast that is Thanksgiving. My advice is to eat the tasty food. Dieting today won't magically help you lose 10 pounds. You also won't gain 10, from one day of overindulging. Do whatever you need or want to do. Last year, one client of mine woke up and ate a very healthy breakfast of eggs and spinach and toast and then spent the rest of the day focusing on loving her family and enjoying her favorite dishes. She even brought a healthy dish to contribute to the table and got rave reviews from everyone!
Everyone has their own style and relationship to food, but what has worked best for me the past few years is to eat really well for breakfast and lunch, drink lots of water and eat some fresh fruit and veggies. At the late afternoon or evening celebration meal, I try everything in small portions, first. A bite of this. A taste of that. I sample everything and then eat whatever I REALLY like.
Be real about your situation, whatever it is. Don't apologize or be embarrassed. Be grateful for it, even more grateful, on this day. That's the whole freakin' point, right? Choose how to celebrate, make it your own and please--really enjoy whatever you're eating.
Make this an amazing Thanksgiving!