Sunday, October 09, 2005

Giving thanks

I got an email from my mom yesterday, saying she was feeling nostalgic -- and that this was my first Thanksgiving I would not be spending with family, which made her a little sad. She's not the only one ... I've been kind of down all week, partly of it because of the run-up to Thanksgiving weekend. In fact, this is not my first Thanksgiving sans family; I have on occasion not made the trip home when I've been snowed under with other things, but there's a big difference between being just a two-hour drive down the 401, and being a three and a half hour flight away. So even when I haven't gone home for turkey day, there was comfort in knowing that I could be there quickly should I change my mind.

So I'm a bit sad ... I've been missing Ontario somewhat, missing Kristen, missing friends and family, missing the dinner that's happening at my parents' house this evening, a Thanksgiving made all the more special by the presence of little Morgan. It's hard to know I won't be there for her first Thanksgiving.

I've also felt a bit overwhelmed by work these last few days, and not just a little daunted by what I have to do over the next year or five. Impostor syndrome never goes away: that feeling all grad students get during their MA that someone is going to show up and say "I'm sorry, we've made a mistake -- you're not actually smart enough to be here" does in fact persist into full-time life.

So I took a long, contemplative walk downtown today and rolled all this over in my mind, and ended up doing what I always do when I feel this way -- reminding myself that 99% of the world has it way worse than me. I think this is why Thanksgiving has always had a poignancy for me. I have so very much to be thankful for:
  • I'm thankful for my family, who have never been anything but supportive and loving. I know so many people for whom this is otherwise that I realize, quite painfully, how much in the minority I am.
  • I am thankful that I have such a wonderful and beautiful girlfriend, with whom I am deeply in love.
  • I am thankful that I have the friends I do, in Ontario and abroad.
  • I am thankful for the new friends I have been making in Newfoundland.
  • I am thankful that I have been able to pursue a career with reasonable success that is consistent with my principles and values, and that I have had to sacrifice nothing of what I believe to do so.
  • I am thankful that I have found a career that lets me pursue my passions in teaching, research, and writing.
  • I am thankful that I have never wanted for anything--that I was born into prosperity, and raised to never take it for granted.
  • I am thankful that I was born in Canada, and grew up and continue to live in the best country in the world.
This is only a partial list ... but you get the idea. It's hard to wallow in one's petty discontents when you write out a categorical list of the positive things in your life. If I have one ever-present anxiety, it's that I won't do this life I have justice.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


Melissa D said...

I am super glad to see that "imposter syndrome" is not something that only I feel!! What's funnier to me is that is is being contemplated by someone who has received their PHD and has a successful career! It certainly gives me hope for the future :)

airfair crew said...

...and we are thankful for you! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Paige said...

Happy Thanksgiving Chris!

If I was you, I would celebrate through lobster. Be thankful that you are so close to the fresh little guys!

Lesley said...

Awww, hope you got out of the non-Turkey holiday doldrums. And good to know you have it all in perspective. Hope you're feeling better!

FanglyFish said...

Right back at you brother man!!

iceman said...

Don't forget health!!! A wonderous gift given in youth which so many throw away and wish for when older!

iceman said...

Don't forget health!!! A wonderous gift given in youth which so many throw away and wish for when older!