My mother's Thanksgiving dinner menu was exactly the same every year. Along with a huge, slow-roasted bird, she served her hand-mashed potatoes, homemade bread stuffing, rutabaga, cauliflower and Bird's Eye frozen corn and peas, always in a divided serving bowl. Cranberry sauce was sliced along the can imprints. The rolls arrived to the table late, and slightly burned, as she always forgot they were in the oven. Her pan gravy topped it all. There was a comfort in knowing that menu would never deviate. You could count on it to be the same every year, you didn't ever have to wonder what might be different. It made life just a little simpler and sometimes we need that.
I lived much of my adult life just like that Thanksgiving dinner. It was always about the 9 to 5, corporate job that came with a medical plan and two weeks vacation. I lived for the weekends, the two days that I didn't have to be somewhere at a set time. It was safe, it was secure, it was simple. I went to work, paid my bills, started a retirement plan and got through every day on the hopes of "someday" when I wouldn't have to do it any longer.
And then the light bulb went on, most likely prompted by the news that I was about to become a grandmother. I realized that as much as I loved that annual family dinner with all its steadfast routine, I enjoyed the late night, leftover turkey sandwich so much more. That sandwich was different every time - sometimes on one of those burned rolls, sometimes on wheat bread; sometimes with mayo, sometimes with mustard; sometimes turkey first with extras on top, sometimes the opposite. There was no specific time frame for eating the turkey sandwich, I made it when I felt hungry. And then I languished over it. I usually ate it while sitting in front of the television. And honestly, as good as that turkey was at the dinner table a few hours earlier, it was even better on that sandwich.
So now I live my life as a turkey sandwich. I still have to work, but it's with a different purpose. I do things I enjoy, making my own hours. I don't have the same security I did in the corporate world, but that's ok. My comfort is now in the form of spending more time with family and friends. I simply live a more meager lifestyle, but a happier one.
As a gracefully-aging baby boomer, I see life a little differently now. And though much of my observation comes in the form of "whatever happened to the good old days," I am living my life as if the best days are yet to come.
Welcome to my life as a turkey sandwich.