A Single Holiday Season

It started with Halloween.  I didn’t actually realize it at the time, but that is totally where it began. It’s probably my least favorite holiday to start with – mostly because I pretty much hate horror. And being scared (and for some reason, people just LOVE scaring me). Anyway, Halloween brings massive amounts of candy, decorations, costumes and the inevitable slew of fall family photo session posts. Whether just cute kids in costumes or happy family shots of smiling parents and darling children surrounded by falling autumn leaves, they’re there.  Everywhere.  All over social media.  Showcasing how happy and together everyone’s life is.

Stick with me here.  This is not a plea for attention nor a blast on those who post these photos.  I personally know of a lot of people who have prayed for years for a spouse and/or children, and these pictures are a testament to their faith and joy.  No issues here, people.

What I would like to bring awareness to are the ones who are hanging in there on their own, whether firmly intact or hanging by a thread.  Holidays suck for single people sometimes.  They just do.  And you don’t even have to be one of those singles who is hardcore looking for a significant other, seriously.  I personally go back and forth.  Last weekend?  I was totally annoyed at life, my single status and the fact that every third post on Facebook showed a happy, smiling family unit.  It seemed like they were mocking me.  Every single one. And the way it made me feel? And my reaction to it? Let’s just say it’s wasn’t pretty.

What manifested from that is something I am not particularly proud of.  Issues in my work life crept into my personal life and I felt like a complete failure who was going to be alone for the rest of her life. (Crazy, right? But we’ve all been there a time or two.) Then I had to attend a bridal shower, where at one point, one of the ladies made all of us “single ladies in the back” stand up so everyone could see us and have our picture taken. The words in my head at that moment people! (Although let me point out here that I love this particular bride and, through the haze of my blah, I was completely happy for her) In light of all this, last Sunday ended up being a pretty rough day for me and I was pretty bitchy.  A funny, snarky bitch, but one nonetheless. Thankfully, my friends put up with me and laughed me through it. Later that night, I had a long talk with one of my best friends and realized my fear and discontent was at the heart of it. We worked through some of those issues and I felt a lot better.

I knew I was gonna regret it, but I told her I was thinking of taking a break from Facebook. I’d realized I was on it more often than usual and that it wasn’t good for my mental health at the moment. Being the great friend that she is, she offered to do the same. So, for the past week I stayed off of Facebook.

I’d like to tell you I didn’t miss it at all, but you know the truth. I was seriously addicted. Had no idea how many times a day I stopped to see what the world was doing. By Wednesday I was pretty disgusted with myself and found that life indeed went on without Facebook. It was oddly freeing.

But back to the main point – holidays get interesting for single people. Here’s the thing, Thanksgiving and Christmas are my two favorite holidays and I will celebrate them in whatever way possible. I love going to parties and even hosting them. But what sucks for single people is celebrating them in a way where you end up making concessions for everyone else.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Let’s put it this way – think about the last few years and maybe even the upcoming holidays – who have you have invited to your events? Where do you put them? Some of my single friends are still stuck at the kids table – while younger people sit at the main table simply because they’re a couple. Some are invited as afterthoughts because the family members they normally celebrate with were invited elsewhere. Some have to change their plans last minute to accommodate siblings or other family members simply because “well, you’re only one person”. All while expected to bring food contributions, gifts and to show up looking classy and put together because “there’s no one else to take care of” and you can look good cause “you have all the time in the world” and “you need to attract men!”. Yet they’re the ones paying for all of that stuff by themselves. Because they are one person.

See what I mean? Most people don’t even notice. Hell, half the time us single people don’t even care. Because we’re with the people we love and we get to celebrate the holidays. (And honestly, we can go home by ourselves and go right to sleep if we want. Pros/cons) But then there’s the inevitable years where it feels off. Where you wish you had someone to attend all the events and parties with. Where you get tired of answering the same three or four questions that apparently are the go-to “ask the single person” ones.

So, in order to escape the weird questions or feelings or even loneliness, we end up on Facebook checking to see what’s new only to be bombarded again with the happy families, new engagements and overall good stuff that people post. All to have the stark reality thrown right back in your face. It’s real out in the field, people.

We are not alone in this either – any single parent, couple longing for children or people simply unhappy in their marriage more than likely go through the same thing.

My plea in this post is to think about these people during this holiday season. Don’t stuff the singles wherever you may have room cause you had to invite them. Remember for all intents and purposes they are a “family unit” as well. I’ve personally experienced the things I’ve pointed out and most times you just roll with it. Because that’s life and where I am in it for the time being. But it’s when people tell you that you should be more flexible (in whatever situation) because “it’s just you”, is when I usually lose it. You’re already trying to manage all this stuff on your own and then someone says something like that and it just make you feel like a friggin winner.

So here are some pointers. Instead of the obligatory questions about work, “where are you traveling to next” and, my personal favorite, “have you thought about online dating”, ask us what our favorite thing was this year. What was the best thing we learned? How are we making out with life? Do we need any help, advice or someone to talk to? (In my case it will probably be “do you need therapy? Lol)

This rant is how I feel now and it doesn’t usually last long. I’ll probably be just fine and dandy in a few weeks and be out celebrating somewhere. I’ll be fine – but please just think about those celebrating alone this season and make them feel just as special and loved as the others. Because they usually are.

The ones who put up with me 😉

It Takes A Village

12 weeks ago, a business friend of mine called me and offered me a job. At a new company. In a new state. Across the country. To many people today, this is not outside the norm. People do it all the time. Maybe not across the country, but people switch jobs and states more often than I realized.

As per my last post, you guys know I accepted the job and was making preparations to tie up loose ends and make the trek to Colorado. I knew I was in for a crazy eight weeks of preparation, but I didn’t know how hard it was going to be. Selling a house, buying a car, trying to end a job well, make arrangements to live in Colorado, not to mention training someone to take my job over and endless introductory meetings with clients and vendors.

Some of you know what my last day, 1/26 was like. I settled on selling my house, purchased a car, quit my job of 17 years, said goodbye to some people who mean the world to me, and left my home State for a new one. All on the same day. Talk about emotional!

Then came the goodbyes – they were the hardest of all. I am not a classic crier people – but I’ve cried more in the last two weeks than the last few years combined. Family members, friends, coworkers. People who love me and have been a big part of my life for a long time. I’ve shared memories and events (some of them life-changing) with so many people and it’s hard to think of life far away from them.

Looking back on the last few weeks, I realize even though it felt like I was making 638948736 decisions and doing everything on my own, there were so many people helping me and I was ultimately taken care of. From packing to cleaning to moving things to goodbye dinners to meals, there are countless people who came along side to help me on this journey. Once I left on my road trip, I had people like Dana and Josh and April letting me stay and hang out with them.

There were many reasons why I even considered this change and then went about it. Some I’ve shared and some only God knows why. The point is that I’ve learned a lot through these 12 weeks and here is one of the most important ones – God did not return void. I was afraid I was going to leave my past job under less than desirable terms a few years ago. But justice prevailed and I was able to leave on terms better than I could even imagine.

The other cool thing? Kindness gets returned people. I received cards, letters and gifts from people I had no idea how I affected. My momma always told me there “is never an excuse not to be nice to someone”. I didn’t always agree with her, but it became something I strived to do. Be nice. Even if they aren’t. It’ll come back to bite them and repay you in the end. Even if it takes years.

I have to admit something though – this is a epic adventure I’m on and somewhere I’m still excited about it. But leaving is HARD. I was a mess last night wondering “What the frig did I just do???” I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I didn’t expect to have a rough time with it emotionally. The brevity of my decision and the exhaustion of the past weeks finally caught up with me. My friend also pointed out that I am grieving the life I left behind. And she’s right. I am.

But again – here’s the thing. Were the last twelve weeks hard as hell? Yes. Was it hard making decisions by myself on things I only half knew? Yes. But did I get though it? YES. Am I still glad I did it? YES.

I have no idea what the next few months hold and what awesome things I’m going to learn and experience. But you know what? I’m going to take advantage of it and LIVE. And grow. (Although I feel I’ve had enough of that for awhile. Lol)

So don’t forget to be nice to people. Help out someone you know who is going through a change themselves. Look for those opportunities. You can be part of their village. And don’t be afraid to step outside your own comfort zones and make a change if it’s needed. Hey – if I can do it, so can you!