Every Thanksgiving growing up, my brother and I would come crashing onto my parents' bed to wake them up and cuddle (jump on) them. We’d all throw on our coziest sweaters and go to church, then be home in time to make a massive breakfast, probably of Filipino sausage and pancakes. We’d eat in front of the glow of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as the smell of the turkey in the oven slowly saturated the house. Once Santa floated down Fifth Ave., we’d drive to the cemetery to say a prayer and visit our loved ones, then rush back home to nurse the turkey.
As I got older, Thanksgiving was also a time of triumph. Whatever had been going on that year, whether it be classes, an internship, a show, a fiscal year, could usually be tied up in a nice little bow at the end of November. Or even if there was still work to be done, it could be completed in a gilded haze of Christmas anticipation.
But to say this year is different is the most tired understatement of the last nine months.
Many of you may find yourselves alone today. Maybe you’ve lost loved ones due to this disease. Maybe you’re licking your wounds and continuing to recover after the most stressful election cycle anyone can remember. Maybe you’re mourning the racial division in this country, or you’re mourning the colonization of land that rightly belongs to your ancestors.
Maybe, for any number of reasons, you just don’t feel like celebrating this year.
But I’m trying to remind myself that, if the (Western) legends are to be believed, the first Thanksgiving was also a scrappy hot mess. The first celebrants weren’t unscathed. They were lean, tired, anxious about the coming winter, and fewer in numbers than they would have believed when their journey started.
I doubt the first European settlers in America were "happy." But we don’t have to be happy to be thankful.
This year, I’m thankful to God that the people I love have been kept safe from the deadly effects of the virus and hate crimes targeted at Asian Americans. I’m thankful to my family for taking me in and providing me with good food, a warm (rent-free!) bed, and even abundant laughter. I’m thankful to myself, that I was able to dig deep this year and discover skills and strength that I didn’t have in 2019.
And I’m thankful to all of you.
Many of you receiving this letter have just joined The Hustling Creative community this year. Because of you and because of your talent and generosity, we have raised over $10k for families in need this year. We’ve spent countless hours together online, and we’ve forged relationships across states and even oceans.
To my Business Strategy clients, I’m thankful that you’ve allowed me to walk the journey towards your dreams with you.
To the companies I’ve assisted with online events, I’m thankful to accompany you as you make the world better.
To my marketing clients, I’m thankful that you’ve let me into your head and trusted me to put your ideas onto the page (screen).
In truth, I don’t know if I would have met each of you had 2020 been like any other year. So for that, I am thankful.
Alexandra Palting, founder of The Hustling Creative, is a performer, composer, audiobook producer and business owner based in New York City. She holds a BM from the University of Delaware and professional certificates from London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Harvard Business School. She has been engaged as a speaker at dozens of universities and conferences across the country. She works with artists to convert their craft into a meaningful and creative business. Contact her here.