Each year as the holiday season approaches, I'm reminded of how lucky I am to have such a tight-knit family that I find myself missing before I even leave to head back to New Orleans. But, with all 5 of my sisters scattered around the country and my parents house a 10 hour drive from us, I'm also reminded of those people who step in and act like family when I'm away from my own. I have always loved the phrase "Friends are the family you choose" not because I'd ever not choose my family (a million times over) but, rather, because I think that sentiment of being able to choose a support system that fills in those gaps is a really beautiful thing.
This fall, Dietz & Watson invited me to meditate on what it means to "Choose the Table." Their family-run business is committed to the ideals of hospitality, community, and family in whatever form that takes, and it got me thinking a lot about the people and things we can actively choose to fill our lives with. I cringe at the phrase "curate your life" because, to me, it seems to have a reductive connotation that implies you're cutting something or someone out of your life. Instead, I love to think about what I'm choosing to abundantly fill my life with. Strong conversations, warmth, laughter, sincerity, kindness, good food, long dinners, days that turn into nights, art, music, and friends that feel more like family.
It became clear to me, the more I thought about the phrase "Choosing the Table" that we have the opportunity to not only choose what's at our table, but what we bring to the table as well. If I want my table to be full of love and compassion and friendship, then I need to remember that those are qualities that I need to put out into the world, too.
What you give, you get in return.
For many, people, however, the holidays are a time of anxiety, loneliness, and incredible sadness. It's harder for them to focus on choosing their own table and filling their life with good when everything seems clouded by stress. Words like I just shared above may seem unrealistic or even laughable to these people, which is understandable. I think all of us have been at a place in our lives, at some point or another, when we didn't think things could get better. I know I have. But I invite you to think back to those times and what eventually did give you hope that things would be OK. Chances are it was the words or actions of a friend, family member, or possibly a total stranger. Those people chose to bring something to the table that they saw you were missing.
Remember as you move through life, not just during the holidays, that there are infinite ways to invite someone to your "table"--sharing a meal, a friendly conversation in the grocery aisle, a little surprise to brighten someone's day. "Choosing the Table" means so much more than simply breaking bread with familiar faces. It means intentionally choosing to set places in your life for joy, for peace, for community, and inviting others to join you at great big, beautiful table.
This post was sponsored by Dietz & Watson, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.