What Should I Do?

Sharing Our Thanks

And much to be thankful for
Wednesday, November 24, 2010, 11:10 PM

While we deal with some pretty heavy material on this site, it's important to remember we all have a tremendous amount to be thankful for.

Thanks to Chris, we're aware of the interplay among the Three Es and how things are likely to unfold. Take a moment to appreciate that gift - the vast majority of those yet to swallow the 'red pill' are still sleepwalking into the future unprepared.

Thanks to our still-functioning societies & economies, we have time. Time to debate & process the implications of peak oil and to take informed steps to increase our resiliency to them - in our investment portfolios, in our homes, and in our communities.

And thanks to each of us, we have this site - a collective of smart and encouraging individuals doing their best to "figure it all out" and help each other do the same.  Your forum contributions, comments, and feedback are making this site the pre-eminent resource on the Web for those seeking to prepare for an uncertain future.

So this year, I'd like to invite us to share our Thanksgiving experiences with each other. What are you thankful for?  Where do you find meaning in this holiday?  It can be a photo of the spread on your Thanksgiving table (with dishes sourced from your own garden, perhaps).  Or a few simple words of gratitude for the blessings in your life.  Even a shot of Uncle Ralph passed out on the barco-lounger in full turkey-coma will do....

Don't make this anything complicated.  Just share from the heart.  Something to make this virtual community just a little bit more personally connected.

I'll start:  I'm of course thankful for my girls (wife + two daughters) and the family that will be around my Thanksgiving table.  I feel incredibly fortunate to have partnered with Chris and the talented CM.com team (really, another family for me) and to have *finally* aligned my professional career with my personal principles.

And I feel privileged for the way this community has both welcomed me and is investing in the efforts to evolve this site.  I hear from a great number of you on a daily basis with ideas, contributions, critiques, and encouragement.  It all helps tremendously.  I hope you're as proud as I am of some of the recently launched features - like the 'What Should I Do?' and 'Straight Talk' series - that simply wouldn't be possible without the direct participation of you, our members.  So simply, I offer you all a heartfelt "thanks".

The photo below shows where I'll be spending Thanksgiving dinner. A family friend is hosting us in her restored 19th-century New England barn (during the rest of the year, it's frequently rented out by Pottery Barn for photo shoots).  The big farm table is just off camera - but I'll post another photo in the comments below once everyone sits down to the spread.  The whole shebang is a pretty picture-perfect setting....

Lastly, I'm thankful to go "off program" and eat some meat.  I'm a vegetarian the rest of year, but Thanksgiving just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without tryptophan overload from too much turkey and - more important - Grandma Ida's Swedish meatballs (Ida left us years ago, but my wife still follows the recipe).

All the best to you and yours this Thanksgiving and - if you have the opportunity - please share your own reasons for thanks with us below.


Endorsed Financial Adviser Endorsed Financial Adviser

Looking for a financial adviser who sees the world through a similar lens as we do? Free consultation available.

Learn More »
Read Our New Book "Prosper!"Read Our New Book

Prosper! is a "how to" guide for living well no matter what the future brings.

Learn More »


Related content


Tycer's picture
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 26 2009
Posts: 617
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

+1 Adam.

Being on this planet, right now, with all of you, is an honor and a pleasure. Thank you. 

May you all find many pleasant surprises this Holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dogs_In_A_Pile's picture
Status: Martenson Brigade Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 4 2009
Posts: 2608
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

Health, friends and family are the easy things to name that I am thankful for.  As Tycer mentioned, I am immeasurably thankful for the people Cat and I have met and the friendships made through this site.

I am also thankful for our service men and women stationed around the world - thankful for their service and sacrifice so that I may celebrate with my family while they are away from theirs.

We are having a relatively small get together.  Normally my parents come down from Delaware and my two sisters and their familes come over.  Somewhere between 17 and 19 people normally (depending on whether or not I have another niece or nephew I didn't know about.  However, this year, one sister is in Rota, Spain where my brother in law is the Chief Surgeon at the Naval Hospital and my parents flew over to visit and celebrate Turkey Day.  We also have dear friends from Richmond coming down - they are South African immigrants, now naturalized citizens and they bring a very unique element to our Thanksgiving table.  South African sausages and this stuff called biltong that is amazing with this other stuff called Bovril smeared all over it.

Cat is assembling a feast of plenty with her centerpiece dish - Tipsy Sweet Potatoes.  We used the sweet potatoes from our garden this year and for every 2 1/2 cups of potatoes you add a 1/4 cup of Jack Daniels Tennessee bourbon.  I think this batch has 2 cups of Jack....there is also an Under 21 version for those without a palate refined enough to handle charcoal mellowed whiskey. 

My annual contribution is my corn casserole.  It is an artery clogging mix of shoepeg corn, cream cheese, butter, green chilies, garlic and flour.  I added just a touch of heat this year by using a few of the tabasco peppers from our tabasco bush/tree/godzilla plant (it is still blooming and is still loaded with peppers).  Cat expressly forbade me from using any of my habanero crop - and I recognize "The Look" when I see it.

Tomorrow's tornado touches down around 1:00 PM - we are looking forward to good times with friends and family.

Cat and I extend our wishes to all of you for a safe and Happy Thanksgiving and upcoming Holiday season with your family and friends.

Poet's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1892
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

Earlier this month, my wife gave birth to healthy twin boys. I feel a great responsibility towards them; I want to do a good job to prepare them for whatever the future brings. At the same time, I am grateful and I feel fortunate to be so blessed. I am very thankful indeed.

We will celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow with our extended family here in America. It's always a pot luck of different foods: American, Chinese, Thai, Mexican, etc. with lots of leftovers to take home and enjoy. May this decades-long tradition continue on for many more years.

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving with your respective friends and families. We are all fortunate to be a part of this community, really.

Just a little reminder of where we are versus where the rest of the world is at in terms of awareness and position:




helenarmstrong's picture
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 14 2008
Posts: 11
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

I am deeply grateful for our medical system and the doctors, nurses, lab techs, support staff, EMTs, technological sophistication, coordination and sheer devotion that allowed my daughter to survive a very complex early delivery of healthy twins. In few of the world's communities would such a happy outcome be possible; my heartfelt gratitude is tempered by awareness of that global need.

Becca Martenson's picture
Becca Martenson
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 28 2008
Posts: 43
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

What a great idea for a thread Adam, thank you!

I have SO many things I feel grateful for. 

I'm  thankful  for all the folks that showed up last week for our chicken-processing day (JoeManc for one), and for the grain that fed the chickens  that now fill our freezer. 

I'm thankful for the garden I just expanded and the 20 yards of compost that went in. I'm thankful for my friend Connor and all my permaculture buddies who have so much to teach me.

I am thankful for the incredible team at CM.com and the ever-amazing Adam Taggart, for my local community of people I love and all the cool sustainablility projects that are happening right in my town. 

I am grateful for the luxury of being able to homeschool my children, and for their deep connection to the natural world.  I am grateful for my marriage and the incredible partnership I share with Chris.

And I am always grateful  for HOT RUNNING WATER!


cmartenson's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 6029
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

I am deeply thankful for so many things, this community being one of them.  

Today we will be spending time with family, at my sister's house, where my young nephew will be showing off his improved Wii skills to his older cousins, my kids, who will undoubtedly spend the ride home trying to sell their parents on the importance of getting a TV and Wii set into our own home.  We'll hear laughter, and see the contact, and do our own grown-up reconnecting.

On the way there I will be amazed at the ease on comfort of traveling at 65 miles per hour over smooth roads with the temperature within a degree or two of ideal.  Every so often I will recall what it's like to be standing on the side of a busy road (with thumb out, in a different, younger part of life) as the little boxes whizz violently past.  So to better appreciate the magic of driving, I will occasionally imagine myself outside of the car, at whatever temperature and condition exist there at the time, moving at the pace my feet can take me.  And then place myself back in the car.  Back and forth; outside and inside.  Travelling by car, at whim, is truly one of the more remarkable things that a human can do and I am grateful for being able to do so.

And then there's flying of course.  I invite anybody flying for the holidays to take notice of the acceleration down the runway and to give a little fist-pump for technology on lift-off.  I did this recently and got a very odd stare from my row mate, but I wasn't too embarrassed because flying is really a magnificent thing when you think about it.  A million little things have to go right for that to work, and they do with impressive regularity.

I am deeply grateful for the amazing people on staff here that not only keep this place humming quietly along, but improving constantly.  For those who have been here long enough, think back to what we had a year or two ago and you'll see improvement, sometimes vast improvement, in nearly every category ranging from moderating to content to technology.  Such things do not happen either spontaneously or accidentally; a lot of careful, intelligent work goes into everything we do around here, and this is reflected both here at the site and in our ever-growing ability to reach more people off the site.  

It really is extraordinary what we've managed to accomplish given our resources.  Our web presence competes with those operated by big companies with big budgets.  Again, that happened by the professional and dedicated people I have had the great good fortune to attract and then partner with.

Finally I am thankful for having the time and the resources to fix our place up and work towards a visions of a more sustainable future.  My wife and I are in constant improvement mode here at the old homestead.  One point of gratitude in this process is that when I built our chicken coops five years ago, I foresaw the need to move them.  So I built them to exactly fit on our utility trailer.

Here's one getting moved from one side of the property to the other.  

I am really, really thankful to not to have had to either struggle moving them or having to build new ones.  A little bit of planning can sometimes go a very long way.  So I am thankful to have had the time to plan, and plan well.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our US readers, and my extended gratitude to everyone.

Chris Martenson 

JAG's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 26 2008
Posts: 2492
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

I find myself with mixed feelings on this Thanksgiving day.

Yesterday, I spent most of the afternoon with my one life-long friend in a neurosurgeon's office. My friend, who moved home from across the country to become the sole caregiver for his brother, who was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor about a year ago, found out yesterday that he himself has a fatal brain tumor as well. How it is that a person who selflessly abandons his career and personal life to take care of his dying brother and parents, is rewarded with a death sentence of his own for his superhuman effort is beyond me to understand.

But even in this nightmare scenario, there is something to be thankful for. My friend has no insurance and no money, and yet the neurosurgeon (and medical staff) has offered to perform the 5 hour operation to resect the tumor for free. How often does that occur in this world of ours? I am truly thankful for this one beacon of hope in my friend's otherwise hopeless existence. 

I would also like to extend my gratitude and thanks to Dr. M and all the friends that I have made here in his community. Thank you for you friendship, it means more to me than this digital medium can convey.

All the best....Jeff

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

 My cup runneth over  with blessings.    Of course I start with the people .. I open the door to all who want to come in ,   Really People come and go .  Will have friends here from every corner of the world  and a couple of my kids picked up a few GI's at the Mall  that had no where special to go . OH Yes Family ...  We were blessed with a new grand-baby this year .

   We will celebrate Life , Love , mercy, and grace .    The guys will go hunting for Quail and Pheasant   in the morning while  we gals finish cooking .    Then after we are finished with round one of eating  some will go out and shoot some clay disks , some will go ride horses,  and some  will clean up the mess for round two ... Well it will be more like grazing .  We will play games all evening ..  Empire is one of our favorites .

  We are Thankful for a bountiful harvest ... enough to last the year.

   However   we are most Thankful for LOVE  as it multiplies not divides .   And the reminder to be thankful even when hard times comes  for this is what builds our Character .

 May we  sing praises all our days .


  PS,  Next year I may invite myself over to Cat and Dog's    YUMMY !  Wink

jpetr's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 24 2010
Posts: 33
Re: Sharing Our Thanks


This is a great story. Thank you for sharing.


I also appreciate the quality work on the CM site and many thanks to Chris and those that support him.

Having lived in many areas of country and been exposed to many world views, the one that stands out the most is my thankfulness to God for directing me to resources like CM and making wise decisions on handling God's money. Most of all, no matter what happens here on earth, its the amazing grace of Jesus Christ that provides true everlasting security forever. Many thanks to all, Joe

Moderator John's picture
Moderator John
Status: Moderator (Offline)
Joined: Dec 26 2008
Posts: 11
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

I must keep this short, lest the french toast burn:

Echoing Chris's comment about flying, I am grateful to have the ability to quickly travel 1500 miles, in order to spend a few days with parents, my sister, and old friends.

I thank this community for providing the information and support necessary to make crucial changes in my lifestyle, and I thank Chris for letting me contribute in the small ways that I can as a moderator for the past 3 1/2 years. 

And of course, I am thankful for those members of this community who flag spam, making my life (and Jason's) that much easier :-)

Happy Thanksgiving all!


Silver_Dragon's picture
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: May 27 2010
Posts: 6
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

The thankful and grateful feelings of my heart extend outward in myriad directions. I have been blessed beyond measure. In this moment, I am thankful for the ancient and beautiful trees of my forest, for the camaraderie of the broader Martenson family, and for the joy of discovering something new about our world every day.

BTW, Chris, I am really glad I saw the way you built your coops as it caused me to rethink my own design... I have the lumber, but I haven't cut it yet! :-)


FAlley's picture
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Nov 2 2010
Posts: 90
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

I'm thankful for great relationships, great teachers, abundant food, my 1911, and all of the beautiful things I can appreciate every day.

nickbert's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 14 2009
Posts: 1208
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

I'm thankful for the nasty weather easing up long enough for me to make the 300 mile drive home yesterday so I can spend this weekend with my family instead of all alone at my work apartment.  I'm thankful for my baby boy, a bright ray of sunshine coming into our lives at a time when the world seemed to be falling apart at the seams two years ago.  I'm thankful to have my wife who despite having some doubts is willing to trust me and work with me in preparing our family for the wild times ahead.  I'm thankful to have access to the great information and community here at this little corner of the web.

And I'm grateful for another year that I get to enjoy a bacon-wrapped turkey stuffed with apples, and spinach-artichoke dip with three kinds of cheeses Smile

- Nickbert

Vanityfox451's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 28 2008
Posts: 1636
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

Happy Thanks Giving to everyone, all the way from good ol' Blighty!!!

My Very Best Of Wishes,


plato1965's picture
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2009
Posts: 615
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

 VF: +1

 A  particular thank you to the CM.com team.. especially the mods..

 for you..





Poet's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1892
Re: Sharing Our Thanks


My apologies on the Miniature Earth video. I wasn't aware that the particular video had built-in captions directing users to "www.SaveTheWorldWithWater.com" which I think is likely a quack cure. There are other videos on Youtube with the same slides, but with different music and no Youtube captioning/spam.



Woodman's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 26 2008
Posts: 1028
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

I have a lot to be thankful for that should not be taken for granted.  We had a simple but fabulous dinner yesterday at my house with all veggies from the backyard garden.  I'm grateful for the support of family and friends, my kids, health, and the choices and opportunities I have in life that let me wake up everyday excited to get up and try something new. I'm grateful for the shared knowledge of this incredible community here, one of the extremely few I post at, and that has been probably one of the top 20 factors in shaping my future life.

Nice coop Chris, I got a lot of friendy kidding from my father yesterday to have such a farming operation at my place having come from a boatbuilding/sailing background, but at least he noted my coops were well built.  I'll put something together on my design if folks are interested.


pinecarr's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2262
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

I am grateful that my mom is ok and doing well after a major surgery a couple weeks ago.  I'm grateful to my family/siblings who have all pulled together during this time to take turns taking care of our elderly parents, who moved to the sunny West Coast of the US years ago (but unfortunately, no longer local to any of us). And I am incredibly grateful that we have finally been able to convince my parents to sell their place there, and move back east  near us, where they are just a phone call away from family who can help them.  -AND they will be near us, in what I believe will be a much better/safer rural location, if/when things get worse.  I am grateful to have hope in that regard, where previously I just had worry!

I am grateful for my mom, who was the one who first introduced me to recycling, composting, and organic gardening ~40 years ago; funny how much smarter she gets the older I get!  She would invite elementary school classes over to the garden in our back yard to explain how the compost pile worked!  She had at least one child who recognized her years later, introduced herself, and said how that intro to composting and gardening had inspired her and her family to start their own compost pile and garden. 

So I have much I am grateful for this Thanksgiving!

Amanda Witman's picture
Amanda Witman
Status: Peak Prosperity Team (Offline)
Joined: Mar 17 2008
Posts: 409
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

We are celebrating Thanksgiving on Saturday - our yearly tradition (family comes to our house for the day).  I took the day off yesterday.  I just did what I wanted all day long.  Of course, that included such things as mopping the floor, decluttering the garage, putting food into storage, cleaning the fridge, finishing organizing all of our music CDs, mobilizing four kids to do chores and help clean, washing several loads of laundry, moving junk from one side of the yard to another, stacking some wood, putting the front garden to bed, transplanting lettuce seedlings, vacuuming the house, piling all the recycling into the car, feeding our family of six three times, playing a family game, putting my feet up, reading five chapters in a book just for fun, going to bed early, and sleeping late. 

I am so relieved that all of the members of our family who were unemployed last year at this time - including my husband, father, and brother-in-law - are working full-time now.  We are all staying afloat.  I have no illusions about the economy, but I am very grateful for "what is" right now. 

I recently burned my hand badly on our woodstove.  I am thankful that it is healing well and that I have regained almost full use of that hand already.  I am grateful for the support of friends and family - meals, visits, phone calls - and also the patient understanding of those here at CM.com who had to wait a bit longer for customer service.  I am also grateful for the doctor who was willing to take a look at my (uninsured) hand at no charge.  I am glad for this chance to learn quite intensely about burns so that I can be a resource for others in the future.

I am grateful for ongoing opportunities to examine and re-examine my values, my priorities, and my place in this world.  I am most appreciative of my husband, Sean, who has always been a supportive partner on this journey of reinventing what "norm" means.  And my children - I cannot even begin to put my thanks for them into words; they are what joy is.

I am so lucky to work with such an incredibly thoughtful, intelligent, generous team here at CM.com.  This experience far surpasses any other paid employment that I have ever had.

I am thankful for modern conveniences, especially as they contribute to heat, light, sanitation, health,  freedom from bodily critters and household vermin, shelter from the elements, the Internet, clean running water, a good night's sleep, and the luxury of living above a subsistence level. 

For my musician friends who are selfless with their gifts, encouragement, and dedication to perpetuating the traditions.  For the music in me that has emerged in part because of them.

For my local farmer friends who persist in their beliefs and passions even when the odds seem stacked against them.  They know why, and so do I.

For joy, health, love, and peace. 

And for hot cocoa with local maple syrup.

RTF's picture
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 17 2010
Posts: 5
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

I would like to post about giving thanks because sometimes I feel invisible on this site because my life seems so different. Last week I had to make a hasty move from my home of 9 years in western MA to Boston.  I have a chronic illness and cannot find suitable ongoing treatment out in the Pioneer Valley.  I spent Thanksgiving in a supervised apt. with people I have known for a week.  I have been too sick to think about having a family of my own (I am 45) and am estranged from my family of origin. I resonate with anyone who has life-limiting chronic illness.

I have no difficulty finding things to be grateful for.  I am grateful that potentially healing treatment exists for me in the city, even though I miss Shutesbury deeply.  I am grateful I have the financial resources to not be out on the street or in a shelter.  I am grateful to have two friends who I could trust with my life.  I am grateful to have no cognitive impairments because I am intrigued by world and local events (my Myers-Briggs type is INTP).  I am grateful to have a solid understanding of the 3 E's.

If things do come down to "survival of the fittest" in the near future I will need alot of luck to get by.  I need to accept that. I am just glad to share this online community because it helps me feel like I belong to something greater than myself and my problems.  Blessings to all,  -R 


idoctor's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 4 2008
Posts: 1731
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

RTF hope your health gets better.

Well I was thankful to be amongst healthy family members for Thanksgiving dinner even though it was hard at times to keep the turkey down while listening to everybody's focus being on "Dancing With the Stars". While they passed the dressing I passed around a couple of PM coins. Many liked how shinny they were but none, not even one saw any importance of collecting such things. These were all college grads.....interesting.

I am thankful to have a group of like minded people here to share ideas & thoughts with. That means a lot to me.

Happy Thanksgiving too all.

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

{   <3  }    Love the inspirations of gratitude here !        That our circumstance does not define who we are  and when all is stripped away and it is not about things  we can still long to and be blessings to others .     And We can still sing songs of Joy .  

 When we try to hold on to the things of this world and the weight of it drags us down  there comes a day that we realize this  is not what makes us happy it is not what what brings us joy or satisfaction  ...   When we lay the burned of it down  then  we can know  freedom and joy. 

  I am saying we can be thankful in the littlest of things  if we take time to recognize  how amazing they are .   Today I am so grateful for Amanda  sharing  her own gratitude   of music and healing .  And R's  thankfulness that he has two friends that he has total trust in .... How wonderful is that !   We are Never truly Alone  just reach out not in  .

  You two have put a song of praise in my heart  .





Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Offline)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 3247
Re: Sharing Our Thanks

As promised, here's the view of our Thanksgiving table this year (I'm taking the photo). Wonderful family, wonderful friends, wonderful setting (our friend's restored barn is amazing). So much to be grateful for.

Thanks to all who have shared their thoughts, wishes and traditions here. And for those not able to enjoy this holiday the way they wish they could (e.g., RTF, our troops abroad) our hearts are with you.


soulsurfersteph's picture
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 16 2010
Posts: 204
Re: Sharing Our Thanks
RTF wrote:

I would like to post about giving thanks because sometimes I feel invisible on this site because my life seems so different. Last week I had to make a hasty move from my home of 9 years in western MA to Boston.  I have a chronic illness and cannot find suitable ongoing treatment out in the Pioneer Valley.  I spent Thanksgiving in a supervised apt. with people I have known for a week.  I have been too sick to think about having a family of my own (I am 45) and am estranged from my family of origin. I resonate with anyone who has life-limiting chronic illness.

I have no difficulty finding things to be grateful for.  I am grateful that potentially healing treatment exists for me in the city, even though I miss Shutesbury deeply.  I am grateful I have the financial resources to not be out on the street or in a shelter.  I am grateful to have two friends who I could trust with my life.  I am grateful to have no cognitive impairments because I am intrigued by world and local events (my Myers-Briggs type is INTP).  I am grateful to have a solid understanding of the 3 E's.

If things do come down to "survival of the fittest" in the near future I will need alot of luck to get by.  I need to accept that. I am just glad to share this online community because it helps me feel like I belong to something greater than myself and my problems.  Blessings to all,  -R 


I feel your pain. I have dealt with chronic fatigue syndrome for a long time. I have also lived alone more than not. I am not married, and I also have no children of my own. (I always felt I might be too sick to take care of kids, but I never really had the choice anyway because as of yet I have no husband!) While I am on good terms with most of my family of origin, it was never practical to fly to see them over Thanksgiving so I have spent most Thanksgivings in the city, sometimes with some friends but sometimes with people whom I barely knew, and often only invited at the last minute.

So I wanted to post to let you know that you are not alone, that there are many of us who do not have picture-perfect holidays. While on the one hand I think it is nice that people share, on the other, I sometimes have to admit I have felt a certain irritation during the holidays especially...i.e., if I am on Facebook and see high school friends going ON and ON about their great families and amazing husbands and adorable kids...because there you are, tired as crap and feeling terrible and worrying about how you will pay your bills because your health sucks and you are alone...and those happy chirpy people who "have it all" really don't "get" how hard it is when you have mostly nothing. And it seems hard to join in to "celebrate" when you are just trying to hang on.

I always get a holiday card from one pair of acquaintances who are like the picture-perfect couple who never have financial issues, always go on the most amazing exotic vacations each other, and have an adorable kid. And each year, they make their card on the computer with pictures from their travels, pics of the adorable kid, lists of the fabulous expensive restaurants they went to, and all the fun they had.

Meanwhile, were I to write a holiday letter during one of my particularly bad years, and had it been honest, it would have said something like:

"Made it through even though most of the time I wasn't sure how I would pay the rent. Didn't get sick as much this year, spent a lot of time at the acupuncturist, that seems to be helping, and I did have a few good times here and there. My love life has sucked and I am really tired of trying sometimes."

Of course, I don't write those things. I gave up on writing holiday letters a long time ago when I realized it was just an exercise in my ego to try to make my life sound better than it was.

Things are better for me now...my health has improved a lot. But it's still not picture-perfect. This year was not a family Thanksgiving for me either (though I spent it with a friend). It was nice, but certainly, I do lament at times that I don't have my own family - the family I always dreamed of and simply assumed I'd have when I was growing up. What the hell happened? Why didn't my life turn out like it was "supposed" to? I don't know, but you know what, it's been an interesting journey and maybe I'm better off for the struggles in some bizarre way. For one, I am more awake than most (I believe), and I have a certain type of compassion that you can't get if you haven't walked in certain shoes. I have to believe I've been on this path for a reason.

Point being, don't think you are alone and that some of us won't understand. I relate, and I'm sure there are other people out there who did not have a picture-perfect holiday either.

What you can be grateful for is the strength you've developed, the fact that you are still alive and breathing, that somehow despite all challenge and sorrow you are hanging in there, and, if you happen to have some sort of spirituality, that there is a meaning in all this.

And I don't begrudge people for having easy lives. Since I believe in reincarnation, I simply call their easy life, their "Vacation Life." And I figure we all have Vacation Lives at some point or another. I'm hoping my next life will be a hell of a lot easier...assuming that the peak oil transition leads us to a better culture in the long run. Maybe I can come back as a rich housewife who travels, surfs for fun, and saves puppies in her spare time. ;-) (Hope that's not too much spiritual talk!)

Anyway...a big hug to you and please PM me if you need to vent!







Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to post comments