On Thanksgiving

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I can’t remember what I did last Thanksgiving. I’m sure I ate food. I’m sure I spent time with my family. I’m sure I didn’t work that day. I’m sure I did all of these things, but I can’t remember doing any of them – and no, alcohol isn’t at play here. It’s just that I don’t care.

Thanksgiving is and always has been one of my least favorite holidays. Spending time with my family is nice but I see them quite often so it’s just another day as far as I’m concerned. I’ll quickly eat my food and find a spot on my parents’ leather couch – I’ll take my dad’s seat, which is the best seat, until he tells me to get up while complaining that I heated his seat up. I’ll take a seat next to one of my brothers, who are focused on whatever sports ballgame is on at the time. From there, I’ll bury my head into a Reddit thread or Twitter rant, whichever comes first.

Finally, after a few hours of doing essentially nothing, I’ll head to my room and call it a night.

OK, so maybe family time isn’t your favorite, Wesley. What about the food?

Thanksgiving food is far and away the worst type of food. Let me run you through a typical Thanksgiving meal.

There’s turkey, which is the least appetizing meat to eat. It’s dry, has barely any dark meat and comes in such a large quantity that you’re forced to eat it for a minimum of one week following Thanksgiving.

There’s stuffing, which is basically a hodge-podge of strangely textured foods that somehow create something passable as carbs.

There’s cranberry sauce, which is essentially a show piece as nobody actually enjoys eating it (right?).

I could continue through the rest of the foods explaining to you why they don’t deserve a spot on the table but I won’t. I’ll finish my point with the most revealing piece of evidence.

People eat Thanksgiving food once a year and once a year for a reason. I love steak. I eat it often. I love hot wings. I eat them often. I love ramen. I eat it often. If we humans enjoy something, we divulge in it often. How often do you divulge in your Thanksgiving-type food throughout the year? You likely don’t.

Anyway, I digress.

If you can’t tell, I dread Thanksgiving but I’m here to tell you that this year is going to be different and it’s going to be different because I’m going to make it so.

The older I get, the more aware of the world I am, the more I care less about myself and more about others. This year, I’m going into Thanksgiving with a set of lenses that I chose to refrain from wearing in all the years past.

Every Thanksgiving, millions and millions of families go without a turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Every Thanksgiving, millions of families go without seeing their family. Every Thanksgiving, people around the country desire the kind of Thanksgiving I’m lucky enough to have with my family. They crave the family time I choose to ignore and the food I choose to complain about rather than enjoy.

A lot of families don’t choose to go without the food I listed above or the family time I discussed. Outside circumstances chose for them.

I’m fortunate enough that outside circumstances don’t dictate how my holiday will go – I do and this year, I’m choosing to care. I’m choosing to be thankful. I’m choosing to enjoy a holiday that I’m blessed enough to take part in.

I see my family often but that shouldn’t make seeing them on Thanksgiving any less different or special. I dislike Thanksgiving food but with enough gravy, I can make anything at the dinner table taste great.

This year, I ask you, the reader, to make Thanksgiving mean something different, something more. Ignore the feelings you previously held for this holiday. Make this holiday greater than before, but more importantly, make it greater than you.

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