The end of November brings with it a sense of finality about the year. It is around then that I start taking stock of the year that has been and the year ahead. It is not quite the celebratory feeling that accompanies new year’s eve. This is sober, reflective and, has a gravitas to it. This week families around America will gather over groaning tables for dinner. Much will be written about Thanksgiving and the mad shopping that ensues so gifts are bought, wrapped and ready in time for the holiday season.
If in the years past, I have grumbled about the mindless consumerism, this year I am looking forward to picking out gifts for my family. I am excited about the prospect of figuring out what to get for each of my daughter’s teachers. I am making tiny envelopes for the mailperson, the trash removal crew and all of the people who make my life easy and worth recounting.
The area around my work desk is filled with packages. There are strings of lights. There are random Christmassy things I haul from the basement when I can. The battery operated LED candles are ready and flickering when it is dark outside. The kids run up and down the house clearing out mysterious heaps of stuff that cluttered every available space. They are getting ready too, in their own way.
If the end of last year was shrouded in uncertainty and a sense of doom, this year, I feel lighter. Irrespective of whether the pandemic becomes endemic or we resort to boosters every few months, there is a sense of wanting to move forward, to reclaim what was lost. My children have grown older. I can see that in the request lists. If the past years featured stuffies and squishes and fidget toys, this year I see sewing machine, laptop, phone and fairy lights. My older ones have grown in every way. There is a sense of quiet maturity, of leaving behind girlhood and embracing the young adult phase of their life. There is music on loop when they are home. There are iPads scattered on the kitchen counter. Their bags are solid colors, not the bright prints that marked the elementary school phase.
I walk around the home after dinner, my mind lost in a podcast discussing the nodes of the moon. The points where the moon’s orbit around the earth, intersect with the earth’s orbit around the sun. I listen to the mythology behind Rahu and Ketu and the archetypes make beautiful sense to me. I turn my podcast off with a sigh. There is so much beauty in the now, so much to take in just outside my kitchen window that it feels overwhelming. For a person who was so accustomed to and forever thinking of, planning for the future, this new phase feels like an aberration. I think of the years ahead but in the way I look at old pictures. They seem surreal and out of touch, unreal in some sense.
This year, at Thanksgiving dinner, we will eat our standard fare, south Indian food made at home. I will open our gratitude jar, a mason jar so labeled in which I have been writing thank you notes through the year. I write when I am overcome with a sense of gratefulness for the everyday, simple things that bring me joy. I am looking forward to reviewing and seeing in a tangible form, all the things that have brought me happiness this year.
I no longer recount the minutiae of my life on this blog. I miss doing that. It feels right in a strange way. I have outgrown that stage in my life where I felt compelled to share everything. Now is the season where I hug things to myself, content that what I enjoy is enough for me. The next month will flow past, punctuated by an eclipse and a solar return. I will plot the charts, analyze them and note down my reflections in my almanac. I will start the new year on a hopeful note, that the lessons of the past two years serve me well.