Knowing that we wouldn’t be celebrating with extended family, we planned to take the Thanksgiving weekend to drive south. While we are working and learning remotely, why not take a break from the Minnesota winter and go someplace warmer? When the CDC warned against travel, we knew we had to cancel our plans. Even though the intention is not to visit family, it didn’t seem right to drive through half a dozen states as if the COVID rules didn’t apply to us. After all, our travel was not essential.
I wasn’t up to the task of cooking a turkey for the three of us. Fortunately, my partner saw a social media post that a local restaurant was making individual Thanksgiving meals with all the fixings. I had never eaten at this 24-hour Diner, but the line outside told me it was a popular place. It seems like life has slowed down in so many ways during COVID and waiting on long lines is just one example. Growing our patience can be seen as another way we are building character during the pandemic,
Dinner was delicious and clean up was as simple as putting the compostable takeout containers at the back door. After eating, we played some card games, had a Zoom call with the local extended family members that we usually celebrate with, and watched the movie “Home Alone.”
Being home for the holidays means not just that we HAVE to slow down but that we GET to slow down. After canceling our hotel stays, I felt somewhat relieved that we wouldn’t be spending 8-12 hours each day driving the next leg of our trip. There’s finally time to organize the basement and take a load of clothes to be donated. I can’t follow the usual rule of “if you didn’t wear it in the last year, you don’t need it.” There are several items that I wished I had worn but never had the occasion while staying safe at home. I’ll need to queue up a good audiobook as I’ve heard the donation lines at Goodwill are also quite long.
The season of Thanksgiving also reminds us to be grateful for what we have. In my case, good health, a comfortable home, and my family so I’m not “Home Alone.” While we definitely drive each other crazy being in close quarters practically 24/7, I remind myself of their endearing qualities. My partner is generous to laugh at my jokes that only merit a groan. He’s also taken it upon himself to insulate the windows and doors and improve our home security. My 13-year-old daughter is spending a lot of time connecting virtually with her friends on video games, something she never did pre-pandemic. She has decided that she wants an archery set for Christmas and is determined to practice in the backyard through the cold weather. At this point, we would consider practically any alternative to screen time.
Like many teenagers, my daughter can go from sunshine to surly in an instant. Fortunately, she tends to have a naturally happy disposition. I’d like to think some of my attempts at humor are helping her hone her own comedic skills. She’s been doing virtual learning since March but last week we drove past her school on an errand. “Remember when you used to be here every day?” She quipped, “Oh, Mom, school is so last year!” Turns out this was an original thought, not a meme or a TikTok video. I couldn’t be prouder.
Tamara Torres is passionate about helping busy professionals align their values with their schedules to have the time and energy for what matters most. Her background in psychology and integrative medicine, along with 10,000+ coaching sessions and 20 years of mindfulness meditation has honed her unique skill set to help her clients create purposeful productivity and meaningful time. Her personal values include Connection, Wellbeing, Inclusion, Growth, and Autonomy.