Thanksgiving in tumultuous times
I've been procrastinating at writing this post all week.
Thanksgiving is normally my favourite holiday. Take all the feasting and family time of Christmas. Subtract the heady holiday-party schedule and the toy catalogues and the trumped-up expectations and the credit-card debt. Swap icy roads with crisp autumn air. Add leaf-crunching family hikes, harvest vegetables and cable-knit sweaters. That's Thanksgiving.
And far more important than the aesthetic, of course, is Thanksgiving's simple M.O. - to give us the time to reflect on all that we have.
Much has been made this week of finding a way to be thankful, even as our stock markets are plunging and our financial situations are made precarious. These stories offer some welcome perspective from all the teeth-gnashing, speculation, worst-case scenarios and self-fulfilling prophecies of the meltdown. Particularly for parents whose stock-ticker stresses might be distracting from Thanksgiving's lessons in gratitude, some of which we have on parentcentral.ca, these are a good reminder.
But the thing is, my family -- immediate and extended -- is having the kind of year that makes a battered retirement fund seem like small (oven-roasted) potatoes. Every family has years like this, and I can think of people around me who are dealing with far worse. Still, 2008 hasn't been a banner year, and as a result, I don't really care about how my RRSPs are doing. I feel grateful that I have two healthy kids and a roof over my head (not to mention the luxury of having an RRSP). Yes, I'm going to endeavour to waste less money in case one of us loses a job, but I'm focussed more on the happiness of the people in my life -- and of making the most of our time together -- than I am on the bank statement.
This is all sounding terribly earnest for a cynical journalist, but it's where I'm at. I hope that if your world has been spinning a little out-of-control this year, or even this week, that you'll find what it takes to have a great Thanksgiving.