Yesterday, I was having a conversation with a friend’s daughter who was disappointed that her traditional Thanksgiving get together wasn’t going to happen this year. Trying to make her feel better, I told her that for the past 20 Thanksgivings, I’ve been to a lot of different places with a lot of different people and had a lot of great times. Since 2001, I’ve been traveling or living in various states, so holiday traditions were tough to keep up.
After talking with her, I really started thinking about all of those years. That led me to start making a list which led me to reaching out to the various people that hosted the events which led me to sharing stories and photos from some great times with them. Barring a few years that I can’t place, here’s the list of different locations that I’ve spent Thanksgiving since 2001.
Bel Air, California | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | Oakland, California
Pleasant Hill, California | Suffield, Connecticut | Allston, Massachusetts
Braintree, Massachusetts | Pensacola, Florida | Providence, Rhode Island
Wilmington, North Carolina | Cincinnati, Ohio | Stoughton, Massachusetts
Thinking about all of those times, I was reminded how much good sharing new experiences with different people does for my growth as a person. Traditions are great, but in my experience, some of the greatest things happen to us when traditions are broken. If I was stuck in tradition, I would have kept my job at The Boston Globe and never traveled with bands around the world. If I was stuck in tradition, I wouldn’t have tried a vegetarian diet one summer and lead a passionate vegan lifestyle today. If I was stuck in tradition, I wouldn’t have opened my eyes to the waste problem in our world and started leading a passionate reuse lifestyle.
We owe it to ourselves to try new things. At the very least, we can appreciate our traditions more, but at the greatest, we can find our true calling. Maybe our favorite tradition is that original one. But maybe our favorite tradition has yet to come.
Today, I’m thankful for these experiences and I’m surely thankful for all of those hosts over the years and probably some more to come. Cheers.