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Make Your Life Your Legacy Podcast

Dec 2, 2021

This episode was recorded right before US Thanksgiving day, the day that marks the beginning of what could be described as the most challenging time of the year for many. Do you feel it, too?

Then I have 3 things for you...(plus so much more inside the actual episode).

While expressing a depth of gratitude for so much goodness, the reality is a bit more complicated. Yes, there is the other side of this narrative - the genocide of the Indigenous people, now honored as the National Day of Mourning.
Yes, there is the dichotomy between gratitude for all the goods, and literal stampeeds of folx fighting for deals on the black Friday, accumulating more material stuff...
And then, wedged somewhere between the political disputes, gender & race discrimination, and other madness, there is the experience of longing, homesickness...
Slovenia-born as I am, I have been living in New York for the past 17 years.
Only one of those years, I got to ring in the New Year with my parents. Yes, growing up, we did not celebrate Christmas in our home; instead, the presents appeared under a tree just as the New Year’s fireworks lit up the midnight sky.
And even though I have had the privilege to be welcomed with open arms and open hearts to many families over these years - from that of my basketball coach my first year, to my teammates, and ultimately my now-husband's, I would be lying if I claimed that I don’t carry guilt (for abandoning my family, my home, and my culture), and feel immense homesickness.
For years, I tried to suppress these feelings. I would distract myself with other activities. And it actually worked.
Then, my second baby was born right around Thanksgiving, so I decided her and I would not travel to spend Christmas with the in-laws two states away. We stayed home.
It wasn’t until the day my husband and our toddler returned, that I broke down. I felt resentful. And abandoned. Although it was clearly my idea for them to go in the first place.
Last year, millions around the world got to share this experience of longing, homesickness, even resentment and abandonment. It was not easy!
What about this year?
Here is what I would love to offer if you are trying to navigate the new dynamics and are unsure of how to feel about it all:
✨Give yourself permission to feel it all!
It does not make you weak, it makes you human.
Then, take it a step further.
You have the power to alchemize the heaviness into emotions that actually do support you. Start by asking yourself “How do I want to feel? How can I give this to myself?” and go from there.
✨Start new traditions.
Take the time to jog your memory of some things you kept wanting to do but you never got to. Maybe it wasn’t the time. Maybe nobody else was on board.
Now is the chance to huddle up with whomever else is in your life and space, and come up with some meaningful, fun, and nourishing ideas and plans. In my family, for example, my husband spends Thanksgiving at work, and I choose not to drive for hours to a family festivities two states away. So, the girls and I try some new dishes, set up our own fancy dinner, and then play games, and write notes. Speaking of notes...
Yes, journaling is great. And so is taking the time to write an actual letter to those you wish would be near, to those dear to your heart, and to anyone you would normally get to hug (and maybe not even say anything just because proximity to them alone makes expressing our gratitude, love - even anger or disappointment - unnecessary).
Whether you not actually mail the letter out, just the process of pouring your thoughts on a paper, is soothing. And freeing. And energizing. (I once wrote a 12-page letter to my dad. Two years later, the envelope still has not arrived. But our relationship has certainly changed. For the better!)
Last but not least, I sometimes need to remind myself of this one truth: “We only get to live once. So, why the hell not…[fill in the blank]?”