It’s Thanksgiving weekend! A time for food and fun and family, right? Of course it is. This year was a little bit different than previous years for me, for a lot of reasons.
The first big change was being away from home. Granted, last year at this time I was living in Rochester, but I had moved away such a short time before (and a short distance) that it hardly felt as though I had left. I ran my first-ever Turkey Trot, and achieved a goal that I never thought was possible by running 5 miles without stopping to walk.
Of course, I participated in the tradition again, this time encouraging a friend to achieve the same goal that I had just a year before. I could tell she was nervous, but I was very excited as we geared up and headed to the start line. Running in Buffalo is something I will always hold close to my heart, because the community is truthfully the best one to be a part of. As we walked around the start line, and even on the course and at the after party, everyone was having fun. Of course, being in a tight community, we continued to run into friends who we hadn’t seen in years.
The race was much warmer than last year, even though my feet were still numb for the first few miles of the race. Naturally, there were some amazing costumes, including a trio dressed as a turkey, fork, and spoon, a group who made large hand-turkey cutouts to wear, and lots of men wearing nothing but their boxers. We ran into some friends along the way, making the race go by much faster and helping us to forget about the cold.
After we crossed the finish line, we headed to the after party, which was already packed, to no surprise. Over 14,000 people ran in the Turkey Trot this year, not to mention their family members who came to celebrate at the end. We drank our free beer, bumped into a lot of people who we knew and didn’t know, and happily found our friend who was dressed as a beer bottle.
I think a typical Thanksgiving doesn’t necessarily involve going to a bar, but this year, mine did. After the race, we headed over to visit my sister at a local bar/grill, and sat at the bar eating a slew of unhealthy appetizers. Of course, the bar was fairly empty, but we at least got to watch the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the annual Dog Show; my favorite things.
Typically, at this point, I would be getting ready for the rest of my family to come over, including two sets of aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as my grandparents and great uncle. Slowly, over the years, the number of people have dwindled down from 14…to 9…to 7…and this year…4. It was a little sad to realize that this year’s Thanksgiving dinner would be just like any other dinner I used to have when I was in high school. Me, my parents, and my sister.
After visiting my grandparents and great uncle, I headed home for our fairly average dinner which still held on to a few traditions: Turkey, way too much food considering how many people are present, and saying what we’re thankful for before anyone can eat.
It was tough for me to think of anything to say this year, even though I really do have a lot to be thankful for.
Being able to run. Some people can’t, yet I complain about it. I have two legs that function (well, most of the time) and I can run if I want to.
Being employed. Many people my age aren’t employed, and I’ve already moved from one job into another. I am salaried, and established.
Having a family. Even though I don’t see them too often, I have a family that cares about me more than I can describe.
Those who support me. I lean very heavily on my close friends, looking to them for support, advice, and company. Without them, I would truly crumble as I move forward in this fairly uncertain time in my life.
My family and I wrapped up dinner, and quickly headed out to see what the pre-black-friday-crazy had to offer us. My opinion on this whole uproar is a completely different blog post altogether, but I went out just the same. I was sure to thank every single person I interacted with for working that day, because some of those people may not have had a choice in their shift. I encourage you to do the same if you’re heading out shopping!