Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I’m going to focus on being more selfish.

In previous years, friends and family may have thought of me as pretty selfish already, sitting in a soft chair with my “to-do” list stuffed deep in the back pocket of my favorite pair of jeans. As loved ones buzzed around me stuffing the turkey and preparing for a lavish feast, I was switching channels from one football game to another while debating in my head if the Lions should have gone for it on fourth down.

Last night while driving home from the grocery store, it hit me. I’m all screwed up. During the previous fifteen minutes, I had helped an elderly gentleman figure out how to make it through the self-checkout lane. Shortly thereafter, I pretended as if I was “sooooo happy” to bump into a couple of former neighbors who had always dumped their snow in my driveway. I told them they looked “fabulous.” Yes, the word “fabulous” actually floated from my mouth. Then, as a bagger boy looked on, I rescued an unmanned shopping cart that had been clicking along in the parking lot. The bagger boy had smiled at me and flashed a thumbs-up. Who were all these people I was trying to impress?

Driving home, I came to the realization that I don’t really know who the heck I am. Earlier in the day, I was downright rude to Sherry, the love of my life, when she suggested I go to the darn store in the first place. I also remembered my grandson’s birthday…which was three weeks earlier. And one of my loyal friends from high school has called me twice, but I still haven’t responded. I guess I’m too busy chasing shopping carts.

Who was this guy driving home from the grocery store anyway? Maybe he’s a real jerk.

Things are going to change starting tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day. While I’m surrounded by people I truly love, I’ll get off that soft chair (I know the Lions are going to lose anyway) and I will express my heartfelt appreciation for each of them. While stirring the gravy, I’ll fumble with the right words to relay how important they are to me every day of the year.

Why is this a selfish act? It’s because this close circle of loved ones (along with my three dogs and two cats), hold the key to my own happiness. Members of this small group are the ones who bring special meaning to my existence. They make me feel secure. They help me explore the goodness they know is within me. When I invest time and emotion in them, I know I am investing in my own wellbeing.

This Thanksgiving, I will not be the real turkey in the room. I promise.