the thing that makes you a better human being

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This week, we’ve been hosting Thanksgiving for out-of-town family members. It’s the first time in almost a decade we’ve done that, so it feels like a big deal.

It has entailed a huge amount of planning, cooking, cleaning, favor-asking, and strategizing, as any of you who host Thanksgiving will already know. At some point, in the middle of the pie-crust-making, six-year-old-including, husband-who-is-our-main-chef-not-feeling-well, furniture-rearranging brew that led up to most of the family’s arrival, my mother-in-law and I found ourselves at a stand-still.

The kitchen sink had clogged. Utterly. Nothing moving. At all. We had tried plunging. We had tried baking soda and vinegar. We had tried (I’m sorry to say) Drano.

We were waiting for my husband to get back from acupuncture so we could figure out a plan for a plumber’s snake. And without a kitchen sink, we were stuck.

I said to my mother-in-law: “This may sound like a selfish choice: I’m going to take a shower now. This is for the individual and the common good. I’m a better human being when I take a shower every day.”

Saying that out loud to another person reminded me how true it was. A person doesn’t need to take a shower every day. And still, I’m a better, kinder, happier human being when I do.

In times when you are needed a lot, you may decide to let go of a few of your self-care rituals. And that’s okay.

What I found this week is that choosing one—a small one that doesn’t require a lot of time or set-up or travel—and making sure I did it every day was so valuable and absolutely doable.

As you find yourself right smack in the middle of this holiday time of year, what makes you a better human being?

Do that thing. For yourself, and for the people around you.

PS: We rented a plumber’s snake from Home Depot. The heavy-duty kind that plugs in. My husband got that sucker to work approximately 30 minutes before family rolled into town, and Thanksgiving was saved. That’s just one among many moments of gratitude and love in our world these past few days.