This is my ode to Thanksgiving — a time for family, friends and delicious food. A break from schoolwork (at least I’ll be pretending it is) and a time to relax. But, I think in the happiness of this time, we fail to recognize some of the challenges that come along with this rapid break from our college lives. Food struggles, family life, a fight between independence and attachment — these are all things that I personally face over Thanksgiving.
I wrote in a blog post around this time last year about my struggle with food over this holiday, and how I ultimately changed my eating habits and lifestyle to adjust. I talked about how we eat so much on this holiday and how stuffing yourself to the brim is not only expected, but encouraged. I talked about our “post-Thanksgiving diets” and how “the problem with this and with every single diet that has ever walked the planet is: it ends.”
It’s hard for me to remember that over Thanksgiving, I have to let myself indulge in the foods that bring me comfort, like my grandmother’s stuffed mushrooms and Bubbie’s brisket. The post-Thanksgiving aftermath of diets and obsessions is unhealthy. This year, I will strive to recognize my humanity, recognize that my body is a temple and believe that I can eat whatever I want over this holiday as long as it is in moderation. Because that’s life — moderation.
On to family. In every single comedy holiday movie known to man, there’s always some sort of familial struggle. The grandma fighting with her son, the wife fighting with her mother-in-law, the boy fighting with his sister … the list goes on.
There is a slight bit of truth to family fighting. You are so excited to see each other that you remember every single little thing that bothered you about your siblings as kids. My two siblings and I haven’t lived in the same house all together in about four years. And while we love when we are finally all together watching Saturday morning cartoons together and eating cereal, we do have that occasional squabble.
This year, it will be important to remember that your siblings are your siblings, and they are who you will have with you for the rest of your life. They will always be there for you, so maybe don’t worry about that one thing that bothers you about them. Their positive traits outweigh that one annoying pet peeve of yours.
Finally, I know I struggled with this when I came home from college for the first time, but the struggle between being independent and individual is a very real one. You go to college, do whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s a complete 180-degree turn from high school, and you love it. But you come home, and you feel like you’re trapped again. Parents are controlling where you can go, you’re forced to walk your dogs and clean your room. And it’s frustrating.
But remember: your parents love you. They want you to be the best version of yourself and to stay safe and healthy. They’ve missed you so much for the past couple months, and all they want is for you to be close to them for a while. Understand that. This year, I will let my parents hug me when they want, I will walk my dogs and clean my room. It’s the least I can do.
Well, yes, Thanksgiving is a difficult time for us. We are struggling to find balance, and it’s difficult. But I believe that it’s possible. It’s possible for me to find a balance between all these factors. It’s possible for all of us. Thanksgiving is a beautiful time to spend with family, food and friends, and to remember what we’re thankful for. Be thankful, because isn’t that what the whole holiday is about, anyway?