This post is inspired by the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday , which, for me, is a chance to go home and see my family. I’m lucky because I live close enough to my family that I see them pretty frequently as it is. Sometimes, however, I think I take this proximity for granted. Not just physical proximity, mind you, but emotional, too. I’ve had several conversations recently where I’ve talked with people who were less than excited about being surrounded by family for the holidays. I can empathize; we all get fed up after spending too many hours in a crowded living room listening to the same stories that get told every year, making small talk with relatives we don’t know very well, and listening to screaming children.But what I realized is that some of these individuals weren’t just complaining about general holiday annoyances. They were legitimately dreading spending time with their families. This made me realize a couple of things.
First, I am SO LUCKY to have not only one, but two supportive families in my life. I have a circle of people who will listen to my fears, offer me advice, help me when I need it, cheerlead my successes, and just in general be happy to see me. I freakin’ love these people. Second, maybe all those monotonous holiday moments don’t have to be seen as frustrating. If we can look at holiday visits as opportunities to learn more about our relatives and just experience them for who they are, then maybe the time together won’t seem so tedious. After all, if you’re like me, you don’t just have a family to spend time with on holidays, you have a family who will welcome you home anytime you need to visit.
There is a Jason Mraz song (shameless promotion of my favorite musician) that sums up this feeling for me. It’s a song about always having a homebase to return to if you need it. It’s something I realize not everyone has, which makes me all the more grateful for my own.
The buddhist teaching that accompanies this feeling is the idea of impermanence and “living in the moment” (consequently, the title of another Jason Mraz song…). Time with loved ones during the holidays is not guaranteed year after year; we should embrace these moments we have with our families and get as much out of them as we can, embracing annoyances and all. If we have a fractured relationship with someone, we should not wait to fix it. The time is now. The moment is yours. You can always come home.