Douglas A. Boneparth is a Westfield resident and Founder of Bone Fide Wealth, LLC, a boutique wealth management firm in New York City, and co-author of The Millennial Money Fix. Contact Douglas to learn how he’s not your parent’s financial advisor.
It’s been a long time since I sat down at a table surrounded by my own family. Even when my grandparents were around, we topped out at about nine, maybe 10 people at the holiday dinner table. In my early twenties, after moving to New York, I made a few trips back home for Thanksgiving, but ever since my grandparents passed away, my trips down south have become less frequent. After my parents got divorced, they stopped altogether. Besides, when you have kids, it is a hell of a lot easier to stay local than book flights to Florida.
Heather and I often talk about what it would be like if we had a big family of our own. She has more cousins than I do, but outside of them, we both have small immediate families and divorced parents. We sometimes get jealous when we hear our friends talk about massive gatherings of aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews during the holidays. We sometimes envy the idea of our little girls playing with a large group of people who love them for the sole reason of also being a part of them. We believe that there’s no amount of money in the world can create experiences like that.
While speaking with a client earlier this week, I asked about her Thanksgiving plans. She told me she was heading out to Long Island to have dinner with about 20 people. I remarked how wonderful it must be to be surrounded by such a large family. She laughed and told me it was “just okay” and that she missed it just being her and her immediate family at their home. Without knowing it, she expressed was the exact opposite of how I felt about wanting to be immersed in the big family experience. I went for a walk to grab coffee and think.
Isn’t it funny that, even when you have so much to be thankful for, the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence? I think for many people it’s an inescapable feeling that’s deeply rooted in our insecurities and shortcomings as human beings. It will always be easier to look outside of our own situation, towards the things we think we want instead of extracting the best out of what we already have. It’s borderline crazy how we find ourselves feeling like we’re missing out on something we are already participating in it.
If anything, that call with my client made me remember just how lucky I am to have all that I have. I am beyond thankful to surround myself with the loved ones we do have nearby, joining us under our roof to enjoy a meal we loved cooking for them. Sure, Hazel will reject every dish we put in front of her, but that’s exactly the kind of stuff that’s going to make our gathering special. And to have a great-grandmother sit at a table surrounded by her great-grandchildren is nothing short of a miracle.
While my wife and I still have the ability to grow our family organically, it doesn’t mean we can’t make more out of what we already have. Because big family isn’t only measured by how many bodies you can fit at a dining room table, but by how much love, spirit and happiness you can fit in your heart.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
This post originally appeared on my blog.