My Thanksgivings don't look much like the grand extended family affairs my coworkers have. I wasn't raised in a festive household, and in any case, most of my extended family lives overseas, so Thanksgivings are generally pretty uneventful.
That isn't to say that they haven't been enjoyable. When I was in grade school, holidays were a welcome respite from schoolwork and a chance to catch up on sleep. In university I took advantage of the time off to travel with friends. But only now that I work full-time can I fully appreciate how precious these holidays are.
I still live in the small(ish) town where I grew up, but the vast majority of my friends have long since moved out. My closest friends are spread out among big cities on this country's corners, almost as if to make it as inconvenient as possible for me to visit them all. I only get to see them a few times a year, once during Thanksgiving and again during Christmas. (That is, if I'm lucky—many of them are starting to spend even Thanksgiving and Christmas away with their new families.) Because of this, I treasure the holidays even more than I ever did. They feel like a glimpse of what life could be, if we all just worked less and spent more time with the people we love.
The contrast between my life during the holidays and my life during the rest of the year feels especially stark now. By any metric this Thanksgiving break was fantastic. I got plenty of rest and spent lots of time with friends and family, eating, playing board games, bouldering, and ice skating together. But now that it's behind me, there's not much I look forward to when I wake up every day. And even though I'm counting down the days till Christmas like everyone else, I can't help but feel like the holiday high is a temporary fix—a high to an addict, only harder to come by.
Speaking of things I didn't appreciate until it was too late, I've been listening to a lot of Mac Miller's music lately. He didn't catch my ear when I first listened to him, maybe because his music isn't showy or heavily produced, but recently nothing has captured my mood like he can. His quiet lyrics are pensive, comfortingly poignant, and maybe most importantly, cautiously hopeful. I think about this line from Good News all the time, and it replays in my head like motto of hope:
wake up to the moon, haven't seen the sun in a while / But I heard that the sky is still blue
Is it wrong to say you miss someone if you only appreciated them after they were gone? F*ck it—I miss you, Mac. Rest easy.