I was sitting at my dinner table talking with my family and a friend of ours last week. I started talking about the “Every Christmas Cliche” Holiday party that we had a couple of years ago. At the time, we were living above our means and could barely afford to pay for things. It was in the first year of entrepreneurship and money was tight. But that didn’t stop us from being happy and enjoying the season.

I used to bake weekly. And by bake, I don’t mean I used to buy Duncan Hines and make that. I mean I used to bake from scratch these beautifully, tasty treats. When we were vegan, I made these apple cider vegan donuts for Mini’s 5th birthday that all the kids gobbled up. On random days of the week, I would be creating recipes like peanut butter and chocolate swirl cupcakes with salted caramel frosting.

I was so happy.

Not that I’m not happy now… but things are more complicated. I’m tired. I’ve seen a lot that has made happiness hard for me.
As I write this, it’s days past “Thanksgiving”. When I was a kid, this was my FAVORITE holiday. There was no pressure of presents. It was a time for my family to gather, eat, drink and catch up on life. There was always great food, laughter, smiles, and tasty desserts. I remember spending the night with my Auntie Pam and helping her prepare the next day’s feast.

The smells that would fill the air… The quality time with the people I loved most… The food… The laughter… It was my favorite time of the year.

As a Black family, we never talked about Pilgrims or anything like that at Thanksgiving–that’s not what our holiday was about. Our focus was always giving thanks for our family and the life that we had.

But the more that Indigenous voices are amplified during this time, the more I find it hard to celebrate a day that was truly about giving thanks for my family. Knowing that this is a day that brings so much pain to people that are also part of my heritage is so disconcerting. It’s hard for me to find a balance and fill the day with the meaning that my family passed on to me.

I know that things have been a transitional time for my family and me over the past couple of years. When my husband and I got married, we were pregnant, and then I walked out of corporate America to build my own business. And then we moved. A year and a half later we moved again. Two years after that we were forced to buy a house and move. Add into these years the decision to homeschool our kids, the addition of another kid, my business growing which turned into me traveling more, then putting our kids back into school, a pandemic, and then us getting the Rona and 7 years of marriage has been a lot of transition.

Change is hard for me. I know that it’s the only constant in the world and I need to be able to adapt but it’s very hard for me. Learning to go with the flow and be adaptable is something I’m still grasping. And I also think that I’m ready to pause. Like I need a second to breathe, ground myself and figure out what happiness looks like in this new sense of normalcy for me.

This is one of the reasons why I’ve had to embrace slow living. Being present in the midst of things that are ever-changing while not holding onto the past and not setting expectations for the future is hard but beneficial for me. I don’t have a resolution just yet. These are just some thoughts to share.

Looking back to where I was years ago, I was just SO happy. And now? I kinda feel like a disgruntled pelican. But I'm working on my happiness. If this sounds like you, you aren't alone.