Rarely do I gush about gratitude, because with all the good in my life, it’s easier to list things for which I’m ungrateful. Snakes, rain on my beach day, a blank page that screams at me to fill it while my inner voice tells me what a lousy writer I am, those things that I think I could do without.
But could I?
It turns out I’m grateful even when I’m ungrateful. For example, it’s pouring a sea today and windy to a point where taking a refreshing walk among the autumn leaves after a gut-busting round of turkey would result in me being blown into the next county, or drowned in the process. I was bloody cranky when awakened tyhis morning to the sound of driving rain against the windowpane. One Thanksgiving day a year, and the driest few months on record, and the rain has to let loose now? No way I was being grateful for that, until I imagined life withou the windownpane upon which the rain could pound. My house isn’t fancy but its sturdy and the wind can howl its fiercest, my house stands firm and cozy. It sounds cliche but it’s worth repeating, especially in earshot of my kids who wonder why we live in an old house when their friends live in new ones. Well, dears, it’s called career choice (stay-at-home self-employed parent) and debt management (no bills to follow you from my grave). I made those choices fully supported by my instincts, my fanmily partner, and my awesome network of clients and friends. For that, I am immensely grateful, and it took raining on my imaginary parade to see that.
Here’s another one: I’ve spent years every September slipping and sliding around my backyard thanks to the fallen apples from numerous trees, elderly by age but still spry enough to procreate bushels of fruit that, if not wormy and bruised, could have been useful. Instead, they become fertilizer for my lawn, but not before turning it into a minefield of squishy, crunchy proportions. Then yesterday, after buying our autumn pumpkins and arranging them on our autumn hay bales (eventually mulch for the garden), I knew the scene needed something. We had orange and yellow, but nothing red. I looked down, and there they were. The dreaded apples. Except this time, they gleamed a tantalizing scarlet. There. Free. Perfect. I gathewred the least scarred of the lot and tucked them into a plant pot. An accent that both Mother Nature and Martha Stewart could be proud. Messy and annoying, until there for you iin a pinch. Sounds much like life itself. The picture, you’ll notice, is blurry. Rain on the lens, and a fast-moving photographer racing for the safety of her house. Was I thankful? See example 1.
And finally, since offices are closed and things are quiet, I spent the morning getting caught up on my mail. Aw, crud, wouldn’t you know, the phone bill has gone up, again. And yes, I choose to have phone and internet service, but to choose not to have it could effectively cut my ties to employment as well. Spend some money, or make no money. I choose the former. And yes, there are multiple providers but at the end of the day. any savings gained in price are lost on service or reliability. It is no win. We are in the information age and these companies know it. Thankful? For this? Not a flippin’ chance in … wait a minute … I can call them tomorrow, and get the lowdown on what I’m paying for and if I can make do with less. Yes! I can do this. I should do this. Self-advocacy and negotiation are equally vital skills in this information age, and too rarely are we taught, mentored or practised in how to do it properly. This is a chance. An opportunity. I am, it turns out, thankful for that.
So there it is, thankfulness from unthankfulness. Setting Thanksgiving on its ear. That’s what writers do: show you things from a different angle. Happy Thanksgiving from wet and windy Nova Scotia! Many thanks for your visit.
Jennifer Hatt is author of the Finding Maria series and partner in Marechal Media Inc.