Warning! Warning! We're entering the lonely season! We must be prepared!
Let me explain.
A friend invited me to Thanksgiving dinner, and I had a bit of shock when I looked at the calendar and realized Thanksgiving is
next this week. When you don't have big family shindigs to juggle or people to prepare for, these dates seem to just pass you by.
I've not had a Thanksgiving or Christmas with my dad and sister (my only family) in probably 6 years. Now that I think about it, it's probably been over 12 years for Thanksgiving. We're spread across the country and just not emotionally close. I might talk to them a few times a year at most. I've accepted that's just how it is. But this will be my 2nd “lonely season” – the one without my ex-husband and his large family. I don't miss him and genuinely am so much happier now, but that connection to family is something I really miss.
I know I'm not alone with not having family around. Many of us are either orphaned or separated by choice. But it can absolutely feel very isolated and like we're on our little island of sads.
Personally, recognizing that this is a time of year I might feel off-kilter is helpful. It's easy to wallow and feel alone without a plan and keeping the big picture in mind. It's not a personal failing if you're alone. It's just the situation and that's totally fine!
In prep for the lonely season (which I should probably reframe into something like “the season of me” for a more positive connotation), I've made a list of do's and don'ts if I start feeling lost.
- Read that stack of magazines piled up in your office
- Read those books you've wanted to get to for months (start with Aziz Ansari to make dating felt less foreign)
- Drink yummy coffee
- Ask friends for help or to join their gatherings
- Wear comfy clothes and fuzzy socks. Or, break out the Rainbow Brite Snuggie
- Write it out
- Listen to hours of Radiolab
- Have all the feels with Adele at full blast
- Break out the Rosie Perez moves to Missy Elliott
- Put on a face mask
- Watch those 7 episodes of Scandal that you've missed this season
- Try some recipes in my new Instant Pot
- Drink too much wine
- Eat through the feelings
- Think you're unlovable
- Stare too much at everyone else's lives on social media
- Try to find validation through other people not worthy of my attention
- Mope unproductively – relax with purpose!
So here's to an upcoming holiday season of self-care, getting shit done, and not feeling like an outsider because circumstances don't look like a Norman Rockwell painting.