Image by lorda via Flickr
I had a thoroughly enjoyable Thanksgiving. Used to be at any family gathering, I got anxious about my appearance, what I was doing for a living, etc. I was keenly aware of being judged at these things, of people considering what I looked like, what my job was, what my kids looked like. And yes, that’s as painful as it sounds. Now, I just don’t care. I don’t need some random relative that I see once a year to approve of my life. It makes the whole thing more enjoyable when you can just sit back and enjoy the ride. Here’s some things that occurred to me over the long weekend:
1. I’m really, really proud of my kids. They behave admirably among adults, engaging in conversations with them, telling them about their lives. They invariably inadvertently show off how smart they are.
2. By extension, I’m proud of the way Mr. Geeky and I have raised them. We’ve always thought hard about parenting and took it seriously. It’s nice to see that hard work paying off. You don’t always notice it during everyday activities.
3. Where I live may not be perfect, but it has a lot to offer. I found much of the surrounding area we were visiting quite depressing. At one point, I asked Mr. Geeky (who grew up there), is the whole place this bad? Other relatives also said that the particular area has indeed gone downhill. Some comparisons:
- In both places, everyone is pretty spread out. But the reasons are different. In the place we visited, the spread was mostly a result of suburban sprawl. Here, I suppose, that’s some of it, but mostly it’s the result of an urban setting, with the city serving as the center around which we all settle. In Mr. Geeky’s hometown, there’s no real center.
- I can walk to shops and services, and in fact, I do my best to frequent those local shops. In Mr. Geeky’s hometown, you have to drive everywhere. In fact, they’re at the end of finishing a huge expansion of the various bypasses and highways. There are eight lanes of traffic crisscrossing the city in all directions. It’s like a sea of pavement.
- If I lived in Mr. Geeky’s hometown, I’d have a hard time finding organic anything. I made a visit to 2 different grocery stores and they barely had a produce section. Four aisles of convenience food, but only the very basics in produce. I’m sure that there are places where I could find better options, but I found it very sad that the people in the area didn’t even have access to substantial produce.
4. I’m happy with the choices I’ve made about my life, and happy with the way things have turned out. And I feel that without having to compare my life to other people’s. Sure, there are still things I want out of life, but that doesn’t mean I’m unhappy with where I am. Having to explain yourself over and over again to various relatives solidifies that feeling.