For the first year in over a decade, my husband Alex and I won’t be with our large blended and extended family in Arizona. We’ll miss them, sure. And we’ll miss family traditions, like debating whether Alex’s white bread stuffing or my cornbread dressing is better. Then there’s my daughter’s insistence that we serve the green jello mold my mother used to make, the one that packs more calories and cholesterol into anything else you’ve ever called “salad.”
This just seemed like a good year to shake things up. Perhaps it’s the influence of unpredicted social changes like Tahrir Square and Occupy Wall Street that are shaking up the political world. (Read my recent post on what OWS has accomplished.) Or maybe it’s simply that we felt we were getting into a rut.
Change forces you to see things with fresh eyes, to appreciate people differently, to clear the cobwebs from the mind. That’s why friends over at She Negotiates suggest “Reframing the Fruitcake Frenzy.” And why Kathleen Turner says one of her life lessons is “Never repeat your successes.” So she hasn’t been typecast as an actress, whereas many others keep playing essentially the same role over and over. (BTW, if you’re in LA, you must go see her as Molly Ivins.)
Tradition is comforting to be sure. But it’s in the unfamiliar spaces that you grow; in the unknown territory that you get new energy and fresh thinking. In my book No Excuses, the Power Tool “Carpe the Chaos” fosters innovations that would never be considered in moments of stasis.
This Thanksgiving, we won’t have leftovers, usually my favorite part of the meal, because instead of cooking for a crowd, we’ll join friends at their home. We’ll feel nostalgic for the boisterous boys who roll their eyes when Grandmother asks them to share what they are thankful for, and for the warmth of chopping and cooking together in a kitchen scented with turkey and cinnamon.
We will appreciate anew all those joys when we break another tradition and spend Christmas, Chanukah, and the New Year in sunny Arizona instead of chilly New York.
There’s always a way to shake up an old tradition.
There are always new traditions waiting to be created in the wake of change.
For that I am very grateful. And I am grateful to you for shaking and enriching my world every day. Happy Thanksgiving!
What are you shaking up in your life this Thanksgiving? Tell me and read what others say here.