I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of Thanksgiving tomorrow but not for the reason you might think. While many of my friends have already departed for their relative’s homes across the country, I’m steadfastly holding down the lab, in the middle of an experiment. Instead of drumsticks and pumpkin pie with extra whipped cream, I’ll be pouring over cells.
What rotten luck you might be saying to yourself right about now, but in fact, I’m not bothered by this turn of events whatsoever. In all honesty, I’m only going to be in the lab for a handful of hours tomorrow to finish up an experiment and the rest of the time I’ll be cozying up with my husband on the couch, finishing binge watching The Punisher on Netflix. The reason why spending part of my holiday, and all of this week so far at work is not driving me up a wall is because I chose to do so.
I’m relishing these past few days in the relative quiet on campus from our undergraduate population being on break. Without endless meetings, seminars or lectures to prepare, I am left with only my research to solely concentrate on. It’s a rather nice feeling to not be forced to multitask for a change. I haven’t been glued to the bench either. Typically, I’m rather lucky if I manage to bump into a friend in the hallway and catch up with them. This week, I went out to coffee or lunch with a friend every single day without the added stress of watching the clock.
When it comes to Thanksgiving itself, I’m not really bummed out at the prospect of not doing a proper celebration. While there is something to be said for going all out and inviting family and friends to join you around the table; that is also a great deal of work. When I first got married, I remember thinking that I was going to celebrate every holiday with all the bells and whistles. And my first year of marriage, that is precisely what we did, although our celebration was cut short when my husband had to go into work in the late afternoon on Thanksgiving Day.
I’m not opposed to a more elaborate Thanksgiving or holiday celebrations but expecting them year after year regardless of the circumstances is a bit much to handle. Being perfectly content with a more low-key holiday is definitely a skill that has taken some time to develop, since it’s easy to feel guilty when you’re not creating elaborate and magical celebrations. The reality is that most of the time that magic is done by one person for the benefit of everyone else. Letting yourself feel down because you didn’t check all of the boxes of holiday traditions is just a recipe for unhappiness.
Instead of making sure that everything is perfect, figuring out what is going to work best for you and your family and making the necessary adjustments is the key to a successful holiday. How many toddler tantrums or frayed nerves can be avoided if we all cut ourselves and each other some slack around the holidays? Figure out what is nonnegotiable for you and your family to be happy, and stick to that.
Here’s wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving, whatever that means 🙂